I mentioned Twinkie yesterday, so I thought y'all might like to hear the rest of her story. She's a VERY lucky kitty. She was born just after we got back from Winfield last year. Her mom (Skimp) was a dumped cat out here on the farm. After Skimp's last kitten from her last litter disappeared, Scott decided that we would start handling all new kittens that are born out here.
Sure enough, Skimp and BOT (Big Orange Tom) presented us with another litter. One grey spotted tabby boy (Speck), one mackerel tabby boy (Swoosh), another golden/grey mackerel tabby (later named Stevie because he had an eye infection that always stuck his eyes shut), and this little calico girl who I originally called Cleopatra because of her eyeliner. One day, Skimp (mama kitty) disappeared. We've had barn cats go missing before, but they usually turn back up. She didn't. SO, here are these 4 kittens. Luckily they could all eat solid food.
The first to go was Speck. Caitlin found him dead of no apparent cause when she got off the bus in the afternoon (mind you, I'd been out to visit the chickens less than an hour before). His buddy Swoosh was never seen again. It was starting to get chilly at night, and I worried about predators, so I started bringing Stevie and Cleo into the screen porch at night. Poor Stevie had such a bad eye infection that if I didn't wipe his eyes every hour or so, they'd goo shut.
One morning, I went out to check on them and Stevie was dead. We gave him a dignified burial (like Speck), and I got down to the serious business of worrying about Cleo. Now, mind you, we have other barn cats. Claire, Callie, Jack, and Dolly, plus BOT. I kept forgetting "Cleo." So, my wonderful daughter suggested that we rename her. "To what?" I asked. "Twinkletoes!" she said, and it stuck. So, Twinkie it was (not the least reason for which is that I have a weakness for Twinkies).
Then it started to get REALLY cold at night. This little one didn't have the wonderful thick fur that the grownups had--she just had kitty fuzz. So I talked Scott into letting me bring her into the mud room and leaving a heater on for her at night. At that point, she still got to go outside during the daytime when it was dry. We had debated bringing her in as a new housecat, but resisted somewhat. THEN INFECTION HIT.
I made an appointment to get her shots, but ended up going in a day early--her nose started running and it seemed like there was blood coming out. After visiting the vet (and spending over twice as much as I'd planned to), the decision was made. She'd be my Christmas present.
Even on the meds, her infection got worse. I had to wipe her nose every hour, if not more. She was so clogged up that she stopped eating for a week, losing half her (already small) body weight. I really had doubts as to whether she was going to make it. Through it all, she was so tiny, so cuddly (and still actively seeking cuddling), and so clever for using the litter box that she really won my heart. In desperation, I started adding chicken broth to her water just so she could get some nutrients back in her. I offered soft food, canned food, anything to tempt her to eat just a little bit.
Amazing was the day when I finally heard her crunching food. At that point, I was still wiping her nose every 2-3 hours. I was reluctant to bring her in because our 2 other cats (Rowan and Ruaidh) are older, and we at this point really can't afford that many vet bills, but dangit, Twinkie pulled through and made it inside on Christmas day. Here's her with my dad:
We're not out of the woods yet (she's still just a little sniffly and one of her eyes wants to run) but the improvement over a month ago is unbelieveable. Probably due to all the medication--shooting lysine down her throat--and nose-wiping, not to mention needing company, I think that she thinks she's a person. She is the ULTIMATE snuggle kitty. I'm so glad that she's a tough little girl and made it this far. (we'll have more vet bills soon, but thanks to our parents, they're covered.)
Lots of animals aren't as fortunate. I'm really honored to know a fine young lady (yep, Alexis, this is you!). All she wanted this Christmas is for folks to donate to their local animal shelter. She's really young yet, but she has a great heart. Please, if you can, donate to your local shelter or rescue . . .and please let me know about it so I can pass it on to Alexis.
I'm also currently trying to piece together a horse rescue. A friend of mine notified me about 9 horses needing homes. They were abandoned and severely malnourished. (there were 14 originally but 5 have died). The remaining horses have been vetted and have gained some weight, but need LOTS of TLC. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE contact me if you can take any or know someone who can.
Please never take your animals for granted. Yep, I've worked in rescue. Yep, I know there are some you can't save, and some you shouldn't. But for every one of those, there are many that will make great additions to any home. I'll leave you with a picture of Twinkie in her chosen favorite spot :)