It was dark and I was tired. I had just come home from work and was ready to get inside. That’s when this little white figure ran up to me and started purring as she rubbed against me. It was a small, dirty, white kitty that I had never seen before. I figured she had just gotten out and was lost, considering how she was so friendly and she came right up to people’s doors. That’s until I petted her and could feel her ribs and hip bones clearly. It was obvious that she hadn’t been fed properly in a while.
I felt sorry for her but I know I can’t get attached to every feral/stray cat (yes, there’s a difference) so I went inside. But the white kitten wouldn’t stop meowing. She was almost howling and I became concerned someone would come out and hurt her so I found my only can of tuna and put it outside for her. I dumped the tuna on the ground by the trash dumpster and put water in the empty can.
The next night, the same thing happened. This kitten had obviously been abandoned and my heart went out to her so I took some chicken out by the dumpsters again. Through all of this, my cat Missy was incredibly territorial and not nice to the white kitty!
The next few nights I didn’t see hide nor hair of the white kitty and was glad. I figured she had finally found her way home. Well, she showed up again a few days later but this time it was daylight. This is when I realized something was wrong with her besides she’s starving. Her third eyelid was up, which I knew meant she was sick.
At that point I knew I needed to take care of this kitty that kept coming up to me when I would get home from work. Other people in my complex were also feeding her but she seemed to dote on me. It made Missy incredibly unhappy, but I started feeding the white kitty until I could figure out what to do. I bought the cheapest stuff I could find. I knew she needed as much moisture as she could so I stuck with the wet food. I also knew Missy hated the stuff so she would be less likely to attempt bullying her way into eating the food.
Throughout the last week or so, we had a routine. The white kitty would show up and I would feed her outside at night. I never let her inside because I knew Missy wouldn’t like it but I also didn’t want her to start thinking I would keep her. Truth be told, I wanted to keep her but A) I figured I wouldn’t be allowed to have 2 cats and B) Missy really wasn’t having it! Here’s a shot I took of Missy when she was throwing a fit over the other kitty on her porch:
Anyways, I got in contact with a local no-kill shelter and asked them to take her. I told them that she was sick and needed to be spayed because I could tell she had gone into heat. They wanted pictures of her and so I sent them. All the shots I have of her eating that nasty canned food so I will only share one.
All this communication and planning took time, but arrangements were made for me to take the kitten, who by this time I was calling Tinkerbell, to a vet for leukemia testing. For those who don’t know, feline leukemia (and AIDS, which she was also tested for) is highly contagious and is often a reason people put cats down. This shelter wouldn’t do that, they just keep the leukemia/AIDS positive cats secluded together. If I paid to have her tested, the shelter would take care of her and give her medicine until she could be adopted.
I knew this was the right decision, but it still made me sad. Missy has been a pain lately and Tinkerbell was so sweet. Not that I don’t love Missy still, but I thought it would be fun to have a kitten again and I also thought that once they got used to each other it would be good for both of them. It’s pretty obvious Missy gets bored during the day without a playmate but I hate letting her stay outside for long unsupervised because I believe it’s dangerous.
I finally was able to get Tinkerbell to the vet last Friday and it broke my heart. She’s in pretty bad shape but she does have a chance to recover. She doesn’t have leukemia or AIDS, which is good. When I told her goodbye (the shelter lady was coming to pick her up from the vet), I literally sobbed. I cried for nearly 30 minutes after I left. Even thinking now of that sweet kitty not being in my home brings tears to my eyes two days later.
But I know I did the right thing. Now Tinkerbell will have the chance to be properly cared for and I know the shelter will be picky about who they let adopt her. It’s not very often that I get this tenderhearted towards a stray cat but she really stole my heart.
Even though our encounters were brief and I can’t keep her, I’m still very glad Tinkerbell chose me to take care of her for the last two weeks.