A Cat Abandoned
When Jaimz came into foster with me back in January, he was just another cat. Don’t get me wrong—I love them all, but it’s a generic sort of love. Real love grows over time, sometimes less, sometimes more. With Jaimz, it went all the way.
Right from the start this little cat tugged at my heart strings. He had been abandoned when his family moved away, left on his own for a year before a kind neighbor brought him to the Oregon Humane Society. He was in poor shape, flea-bitten and hungry, but in spite of his hard knocks, his sweet personality quickly made him a favorite at the shelter hospital.
Jaimz’s doctor diagnosed him with hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, and dental disease. Once he came into foster, we were able to pinpoint other problems as well, including diarrhea and vomiting, bad itching leading to overgrooming and hot spots, and a chronic cough. Working with the docs, we took each one at a time. He was put on meds for the hyperthyroid, his thyroid numbers were closely monitored. Another medication controlled the itching, and he was given a dental. The special food for the stomach upset didn’t work since he wouldn’t eat it, but the diarrhea cleared up. The vomiting became less frequent and could often be associated with stress.
But Jaimz had issues from long before coming to the shelter. One of his front paws had been badly damaged in some long-ago accident, causing a permanent deformity. It doesn’t hurt him now, but the anguish he must have suffered when it happened makes me cry. He is also very small for a male cat, only 7.5 pounds, which speaks of poor nutrition when he was growing up. He was shy and skittish when he came into foster, and it took time for him to stop trembling, then longer still for him to come out from behind the curtain in his kennel. All things considered, this cat seemed truly a special case. (You can read more about Jaimz’s story here: The Story of Jaimz, cat Abandoned)
Jaimz was in foster with me for 77 days. Once he learned to trust, he blossomed into an outgoing, curious, sweet, friendly cat. He liked to sit on laps and curl up anywhere soft, such as a pile of clean, folded towels. In spite of his small size, he had a huge personality, and I soon deemed it time to introduce him to the rest of my clowder, Tyler and Ginchan.
Integration with the clowder.
Both Tyler and Ginchan are very senior males and set in their ways. Ginchan, who just turned 19, lives in his own world of food-seeking and naps. Tyler is a vigorous tabby who had been known to intimidate other cats because of his size. I wondered how little Jaimz would get along and watched closely. Turns out I needn’t have worried. Jaimz learned quickly to leave Ginchan alone, but he fell absolutely in love with Tyler. He wasn’t daunted by Tyler’s chase and play, and soon they were fast friends.
This was the signal I was waiting for, the go ahead from my cats, and I began to consider taking Jaimz into the clan.
Now that Jaimz was acclimatized, he showed none of his original shyness, but I knew better. There is a fragility to this boy that would escape a first impression. Every time I had to take him to the shelter for a checkup, he would return in a state of shock. I prefer to adopt cats with special needs since they’re the ones who need me, and he seemed like the obvious choice.
Happily Ever After.
Then the shelter vet gave me some dire news. Though the thyroid numbers were remaining relatively stable with the medication, Jaimz’s SDMA had risen into red-flag levels over the course of the last month. The IDEXX SDMA Test is a sensitive kidney function test that helps to identify kidney disease in dogs and cats.* It looked like Jaimz’s kidney functions were deteriorating.
Ginchan also has chronic kidney disease, as have many other cats I’ve cared for. It seems to be almost inevitable when a cat lives past a certain age. CKD is a killer, but there are a few things that can be done to postpone that end, and I was willing to take it on.
The adoption went forward, and I brought home my new family member. I read later in Jaimz’s paperwork that because of his multiple issues and possibly declining health, he was what they called, “not a candidate for adoption.” This meant if I hadn’t adopted him,…well, you know what it means.
I don’t know how long Jaimz has left. I don’t know if his condition will improve now that he’s in a stable home under vigilant vet care. What I do know is that he isn’t ready to go any time soon. Today, he’s a vibrant, happy, curious little boy who deserves a chance to live out his life in a safe, warm, loving home. Jaimz is a blessing and a joy. For however long he thrives, his place is with us.
*SDMA frequently asked questions, the IDEXX Site
Cat Writer Mollie Hunt is the author of the Crazy Cat Lady Cozy Mysteries featuring Lynley Cannon, a sixty-something cat shelter volunteer who finds more trouble than a cat in catnip, and the Cat Seasons Sci-Fantasy Tetralogy where cats save the world. She also pens a bit of cat poetry.
You can find Mollie Hunt, Cat Writer on her blogsite: www.lecatts.wordpress.com
Amazon Page: www.amazon.com/author/molliehunt
Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/MollieHuntCatWriter/