If you’re here for the Farmhouse Friday Link Party, I’m skipping it this week because one of our cats passed and my heart just isn’t into hosting the party. Farmhouse Friday will return next Friday, February 1st.
This week I had to say goodbye to one of the best friends I ever had. If there is such a thing as a pet soulmate, it was her.
She succumbed to an injection site carcinoma that she fought for over a year caused from a vaccine shot. It only happens to every one in 15,000 cats (lucky us). But we are lucky to have awesome veterinarians that through surgery and herbal supplements were able to give her great quality of life for over another year after diagnosis whereas most cats succumb to it after 3 months.
Her name was Thing. Yes, it’s a strange name for a cat, but she didn’t start out with that name.
Back in fall of 2008 my parents went on vacation and left me in charge of watching their place and taking care of their animals. They lived right around the corner from us so I would walk across our almond orchard every day to take care of things while they were gone. (My dad has since passed; my mom still lives there.)
My parent’s neighbors from across the street had moved a few months prior and left behind a feral cat colony that had taken residence in the old barn and outbuildings on the property. My dad felt sorry for the cats and would go over to feed them regularly.
On one of his feeding visits, my dad noticed one of the feral cats was pregnant. A couple of months prior to them leaving for vacation, he noticed that she was no longer big and figured she had given birth. He looked for her kittens, but the momma cat had hid them well and my dad couldn’t find them.
A few days before they left for vacation, the momma cat was hit and killed on the road. My dad doubled his efforts to find her kittens now that they no longer had a mother, but he still couldn’t find them.
A couple of days before my parents left for vacation, they started hearing a kitten meowing in the bushes around their house. They figured it must be one of the kittens from across the street looking for its mother. They put food out for it and tried to find it in the bushes, but every time they got close it would stop meowing and hide.
The day my parents were supposed to leave for vacation rolled around and they still hadn’t found the kitten. I promised them that I would put food out and look for it while they were gone.
The second morning after my parents left for vacation, I walked over to their place to take care of their animals, which included Cisco, my dad’s chocolate lab. As I neared their place, I heard Cisco whining like he was trying to get someone’s attention. Concerned there was something wrong with him, I ran over the rest of the way and entered the outer gate of my parent’s back yard leading to Cisco’s kennel. Cisco was at the chain link door of the kennel looking up at me, then bending down to lick a small gray furball that had wedged itself between the gate and the rest of the kennel. As I got closer, I realized it was a tiny kitten. Cisco kept looking up at me and whining and then bending down to lick the kitten, as if wanting me to help it.
Now, I was shocked at what I saw because Cisco was a 100+ pound hunting dog, and most hunting dogs I’ve known in my life wouldn’t think twice about chomping down any little furry creature they came across. But here was the biggest hunting dog my dad ever owned whining and licking this tiny little kitten who probably only weighed a few ounces at best. After I got over the shock of what was happening before me, I bent down, grabbed the kitten and started running back home with her in my arms.
In retrospect it was pretty stupid of me to pick up the kitten bare-handed. I had no idea if she was sick, and since she was feral there was a good chance she could have bit me. But she never tried – she didn’t even try to struggle to get away from me. At this point she was hungry, sick, and probably frozen in fear. She had a horrible upper respiratory virus and both her eyes were stuck shut. If she was desperate enough to come to a giant dog for help, she was in pretty bad shape and any fight she might have had before was long gone.
I got her home and gently washed her eyes with a warm washcloth to get them open. Her eyes were still okay, but she had a bad infection going on around them. If it had went on too much longer I’m sure she would have lost her sight. I called the vet and made an appointment for her the next day.
I had the vet run the normal I-found-a-stray tests where they check for diseases like feline leukemia and all the other ugly diseases feral cats can have. The blood work came back negative and the vet sent me home with some antibiotics for the upper respiratory virus and another appointment for vaccinations.
At first we named her Cisco’s Kitty (CK for short) after her savior dog. If it wasn’t for him getting her come to him, I probably never would have found her.
The first few days she pretty much lived inside the bathrobe I wore around the house. She was weak from being sick and not eating so it took a few days before she was up to checking out her new living space and doing the usual kitten stuff, like playing and getting into everything.
During those first few days, we kept saying “poor little thing” when we talked about her and how hard it must have been for her to lose her momma and her litter mates, and then searching for her mother for days while sick and hungry. “Thing” stuck for some reason and just seemed to fit her better than CK, so we just went with it.
Once she was completely well, she made herself right at home. She would always stick out her right paw when she was relaxing.
She grew up to be a gorgeous tabby cat (no bias there). She liked both my husband and I, but she was especially close to me since I was with her for pretty much 24/7 for the first few weeks we had her. I’m sure she saw me as her surrogate mother. She was always in the same room as me, and more times than not she was on my lap “helping” me with whatever I was working on, like crochet projects.
I so wish I could have had a few more years with her, but I’m thankful for the 10+ years I did have. She was my little kitty buddy, my constant companion. She was always there for me and helped me through many tough times in my life
My apologies to my Farmhouse Friday regulars who faithfully link up their wonderful projects every week. I did share the passing of one of our other cats Klepta a couple of weeks ago in the Farmhouse Friday post for that week. But I got to thinking that wasn’t very fair to the people who linked up that week or the people I featured from the week before by sharing such bad news along with their linkups. It was kinda like “Our cat passed this week – now check out these great DIY projects!” I always strive to be transparent with you guys and share both the good and bad things that happen in my life, but it doesn’t mean I have to do it all together in the same post! I will be sharing some of my favorite link ups from last week’s party across my social media over the next week.
Thank you for allowing me to share this with you. <3