Sunday, March 2, 2008

The hardest part

The hardest part of fostering cats isn't giving them up to their new families. I thought that WAS pretty hard at first (and I kept Ptera and Anya because of it), but it got easier as time went on.

No, the hard part is when you have to let them go, and it isn't to an adopter.

Pretty Lady, our beautiful calico girl, went in for her spay surgery today, and instead of having surgery, she was euthanized due to feline leukemia.

Pretty Lady

We are very sad, but we are trying to look at the positive side: She was living on the street, with a deadly illness, in the winter. She would not have survived long, and she would have suffered immensely. We gave her a few days where she was warm, sheltered, well-fed (she gained weight while with us!), and, most importantly, loved. She had none of those things before coming into our care. She also was very dirty, and I could tell that she felt so much better after her bath. She was so grateful and loving toward us. Her tail curled in a unique way, and she would arch her back and walk up to us purring when we came in to say hello. She was a sweet, patient, loving kitty who just wanted someone to love her back, and I am glad we were able to give her that, if only for a short time.

The vet who does our spay/neuter clinic was Aakhu's vet ten years ago before we changed practices (not because of her, but because the other vets there weren't very good), and she is a very compassionate, kindly person. I am sure that Lady's last moments were painless, and that Dr. J was respectful of her. Dr. J was also very compassionate and kind to me on the phone, and I appreciate that.

I am also glad that, fortunately, we kept her separated from the other fosters, and the boys all tested negative. They were neutered this morning, and we will be picking them up, plus an empty carrier, this afternoon.


annaham said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Pretty Lady was lucky to have time with you and Brian before the end, however. *hug*

Morte said...

i am very sorry to hear that and send condolences.

i was just admiring her picture on your previous entry and thinking 1) too bad you live far far away and 2)i don't think we're ready for another cat again yet (we have two and lost one last summer 8( )

i really respect your work with fostering cats and am sure your kindness gave her comfort while she was with you.

Vive42 said...

i am so so sorry to hear about pretty lady. i had read your earlier post about her and she sounded awfully sweet. you did a good thing for her, despite how it ended.

Erishkegal said...

Rio, I'm so sorry -- I can't imagine how it must feel to have things go so wrong. It's good to know there was someone like you to give her a few happy days.

ciocia said...

I've been there, and done that--taken in animals that I hoped would live good, long lives with me or someone else, and instead had them put down for just that reason. It IS horrible and painful, and my condolences to you. But you are right--you made some small part of their life happy, and made sure they had a humane death, and that they didn't spread this terrible disease to more cats. You can hold your head up, because you did the best you could, and loved the most you could.

buffpuff said...

I'm sorry to hear this and my cat-loving heart goes out to you. But I'm glad she knew some love and comfort for the short while she was with you. You made a huge difference to the quality of her life.

Andee said...

She was a Pretty Lady indeed. You have my sympathies. Not everyone has the fortitude to do what you are doing for the kitties.

Andee (Meowser)

Sarah said...

I'm very sorry for your loss. I am grateful, though, for the good work that you and your husband do, and I am thankful that Pretty Lady got to experience your love and gentle care.

Kira said...

I'm so sorry to hear that - she was a beautiful kitty, and it sounds like she had a beautiful personality as well.

I've been meaning to ask you how you acclimatize adult feral cats to being indoors and being held so easily? Are there any particular techniques you can use to overcome an adult feral cat's strong fear of humans? At the last house I lived in, I fed a couple feral cats in the neighborhood, who I know had been there for at least a few years (and I believe had been spayed/neutered - they had the trimmed ear). I grew really attached to one cat, though she would never come within 3 feet of me or enter the house. I fed her, gave her treats, and spent a lot of time kneeling or sitting on the ground, trying to encourage her to approach, but she was always timid and fearful. I'd thought of trying to capture her and take her with me when I moved, but worried that this would be more stressful to her than leaving her in the environment she was accustomed to. What do you think? Thanks!

RioIriri said...

Feral adults are the hardest. The rescue I foster for mainly works with feral kittens, because they are much easier to adapt to human contact. The adults are frequently spayed/neutered then released, if possible.

To work with a feral adult, you would probably want to start with having them in a room inside. Sit in the room and read, or do some other activity where you can just be in one place and sit quietly--sewing, being on a laptop, writing in a journal, stuff like that. After a while, the cat will get comfortable with your presence. You can toss them treats, and have the treats come closer and closer to you. Use a toy on a stick to get them to play. They might come around, they might not, but it takes a lot of time and patience to work with them.

There are a lot of books out there that might help, but I don't have any to recommend yet.