(TOUCHING TALES) When animals get sick, their guardians sometimes have to make a tough descision. Lola was a very sick kitten, and the vet recommended that she be put down. Her guardian, Lyndsey Renee, held out hope that the tiny cat would survive, and continued to care for her. Miraculously, little Lola pulled through. Read on to find out how. — Global Animal
“She may have a neurological problem,” the vet said as he looked from Lola to me. “And you know, sometimes God has other plans, that we do not always understand.”
I distinctly remember his facial expression after his first look at this pitiful, weak and almost lifeless kitten. I knew the prognosis would not be good. He had done the horrible procedural temperature check, she didn’t even move or flinch, her bum hairless and scabbed from tail to her legs, due to all the acid from the diarrhea, she hurled her body and head, almost like a worm moving it’s head to bury it in the sand, her eyes glazed over.
And then he dropped the bomb, “we certainly do not want her to suffer.” The meaning and implication written on his face.
I sat there, nothing left in me, exhaustion beyond anything I have ever felt before, physically and mentally empty. I looked him straight in the eye, thanked him for his time, paid the $45 fee and left. I certainly was not strong enough to end this kitten’s life, not at that moment anyway. God may have plans that we don’t understand, but after two weeks of nursing poor Lola, I knew that his plans did not include dying in this vet’s office.
As we drove home, Lola and I, I thought about our journey to this point. I remember my friend Kelly’s voice on the phone the morning she called me. She explained how she found four itty-bitty kittens in some crates at her work, abandoned by their mother. She figured they were around two weeks old, and she knew I had nursed Mokie from around the same age the year before. “Can you help me? I have never bottle fed kittens, I am thinking you can take two and I’ll take the other two and you can guide me on how to do it.” Feeling flattered that she asked me to help, along with being a major animal lover and advocate, I immediately said “Yes.”
That night we welcomed two little orange tabbies into our home, a boy and a girl. The cutest little things you’ve ever seen, especially the girl, who was just a soft little fluff ball, tiny as can be, and most likely the runt of the litter.
With my bottles and formula all ready to go, the first two days went as well as could be expected. They were adjusting to the formula and the bottle pretty well. Mokie the smart Siamese was also adjusting nicely. We would tag team, as I feed and burped one, he would wash and clean the other, and we would repeat every three hours. We even named them, Coco for the boy, chosen by Mircea after Conan O’Brien, and Lola for the little girl, chosen by me. The problems started about two days into bottle feeding them. I remember the first sight of diarrhea, but I figured it was normal due to the change in having Mommas milk and the switch to powdered formula. From that point on it was a very slow downward spiral for Lola. Over the course of fourteen days I took her to four different vets, each one giving me slightly different advice on what to feed her and what to do. At first it was acidophilus powder, and, “it should get better in a few days.” The last bit of advice you’ve already read.
That night, after we had driven home from the last vet, I stopped force-feeding and figured that if she was meant to die, it was going to be natural. I didn’t want to prolong the inevitable. I held her the whole entire night, crying and feeling completely helpless, not sleeping a wink. In between holding her, I would feed Coco and think about how I was going to bury her tiny little body and what kind of box I would get for her. I was a complete emotional wreck. As the sun rose from the East and began to shine in my apartment, I watched her belly rise and fall as she breathed. She would take a breath and pause…. take another and pause…. the rhythm of her breath slowly slowing down.
I finally put her limp little body into the cat carrier as I heard the chime of Mircea’s alarm go off. He came into the living room, only needing to look at my eyes to know what kind of night I had had. He gave me a big hug as I sobbed in his arms. He took a look at her and was amazed how weak she looked, but he did do something I did not have the will to do. He got the bottle, picked her up, and pushed the nipple into her mouth. Her jaw was clenched tight around the silicone nipple, but to both of our surprise she began sucking. Mircea looked at me and said, “Babe, look at her, she still has the will to live. You have to try to feed her. You have to know that you did everything in your power to help her.” I don’t exactly know why, whether it was intuition, God, inspiration, or some great universal knowledge, but something inside of me stirred me awake at that moment. Somehow the dots began to connect in my mind, and I immediately went to the store and bought some Pedialite, electrolyte-enhanced water for babies.
For the next twelve hours I fed Lola with a syringe, giving her a little squirt of water every hour on the hour. I was still cross-eyed with fatigue, but I had regained my purpose. Amazingly, with each feeding, Lola slowly regained her energy. The electrolytes coursing through her body gave her strength, and the bad bacteria in her tummy started to starve and disappear.
The life that had almost been extinguished was reappearing. I decided to introduce formula back into her feedings, but this time it was diluted, something like 8 parts water to 1 part formula. The most wonderful moment happened that first night of her getting some formula. I remember distinctly, her tummy was tight with goodness, her head resting on my shoulder as I lightly tapped her back to burp her, she began to purr. After almost two weeks of no purring, the sound just filled up the entire living room. My eyes swelled up with tears as I heard and felt her relaxing on me, and I knew that she was going to survive.
Today Lola has grown into a vivacious and confident kitty. She’s the queen of our apartment, coy and subtle when it comes to asking for attention, but very playful and carefree when the mood suits her. She is completely full of life, and I think it’s because she came so close to death, she has been to the edge and back. Mircea and I are very glad she decided to stick around, our little Lola, our miracle kitty. On a final note, that vet actually called me after a week or two to check up and find out what had happened to Lola. I had the pleasure of describing to him how and why Lola survived. At the end he stammered “Wow, I would never advise anyone to take a kitten off any kind of food for a prolonged period of time.” Well, I thought, I guess sometimes God has other plans.
More Lyndsey Renee’s blog: http://blog.lyndseyrenee.com/2012/03/how-to-save-a-kittens-life/