Nov 7, 2011

When Is a Cat Just a Cat?

If you're like me, the answer is never.

Most of you know I feed the parking lot kitties at my office. They get vet care, too, if they need it. But up until now, it's never been anything major.

We've pulled teeth, given them Revolution, antibiotics for bites... Little easy-to-handle things. But this week, for the first time, I had to make a real life-or-death, expensive decision, and it really made me think.

I have always said that cost is not a factor when it comes to my kitties. If Pimp or Moo ever needed ANYTHING, I'd sell my car, max out credit cards, whatever it took. They are that precious and important to me.

But a cat in a parking lot? Where do you draw the line?

Last week, we noticed Bully, my favorite cat in the parking lot, wasn't eating. Actually he was slowly eating less and less, and we were getting concerned. So we decided to take him to the vet.

On Thursday, the day we were going to take him, he was nowhere to be found. Not normal. He is a fixture, and always there. We looked, we searched and finally found him late in the day, looking sad and miserable in a bush. He looked like a person looks when they have the worst flu ever. Just miserable.

So off to the vet he went. He had a fever... and something in his stomach. The vet could feel it and it seemed big, but needed an x-ray to see what it was.

Hi. I'm Bully and I'm anything but a Bully.

Turns out Bully had eaten something with a claw. (We think it was an iguana foot.) It was inches long, stuck high up in him, clogging him up and causing his intestines to become very inflamed. He got antibiotics and doctor's orders to watch him and see if he starting eating in the next few days. Sometimes it can take a couple weeks for cats to pass things like this, he said.

And Bully had to pass this... or else it would mean surgery that could cost thousands of dollars.

He went to our friend's house (who also has Stubbie still). He didn't eat Friday. He didn't eat Saturday. He wasn't going to do this on his own. Sunday morning his other parking lot mom, Kelly, talked to the vet.

We had to make a decision: Either put him to sleep or pay for expensive surgery.

Now, if this were Pimp or Moo, it would not even be a question. But for a cat from a parking lot... who is going back to the parking lot after the surgery? The decision wasn't so clear.

But I couldn't just let a cat die because he ate something. A great cat. A friendly, loving, perfect cat who I am pretty sure is Daddy Meow's brother. (They both have big heads and similar dispositions. I have always thought that.)

If we can save him, should we try? He doesn't have to die. After the surgery, he should bounce right back -- the vet said it's usually very successful and cats go right back to normal. The surgery would cost between $1,500 and $2,000, depending on what he sees when he actually goes in there to get the claw thing out.

In the end, we decided that we don't have thousands of dollars, but we do have huge hearts and we owe it to Bully to do what we can to help him. He's having surgery today.

I know some people will think it's crazy, but it's the only decision I could live with. And I know most of you aren't the people who would think I'm crazy. You guys get it.

I don't usually like to ask for money, and I struggled with even putting this up, but if anyone would like to chip in to help out with the costs of Bully's surgery, I've set up a Chipin where you can contribute. I know times are tough for many, so please only give if you can spare it.

We made this decision, and we'll find a way to pay for it.

And Bully is going to make it. And every single time I look at him, I'm going to know we made the right decision, because he'll still be around giving me that look and rubbing my legs and being the first one in line for the pile of food.

Here's a video of him I took Sunday when I visited. I told him we were going to fix him all up.


Please think of him today. I don't know what time the surgery will be, but I'll update as soon as I know when it is and how it goes.

P.S. I'm posting this on both of my blogs today, because it's the only important thing to me right now. If you've already read it over there, thanks for visiting both. I'll tell Bully you said hi. :)

Update 9:30 a.m.: Bully is at the vet. He's going to get blood work done and another x-ray to see exactly where the claw thing is now. As long as the blood work checks out, he'll have surgery early afternoon. The vet did warn us that he is an anesthesia risk (Bully is probably 10-ish years old), but that's normal for older cats. Once he goes in, he'll call us if he sees anything that he thinks he can't fix (it is a claw, and sharp, so hopefully it hasn't injured him inside). Everything crossed that surgery goes well for our little man! I'll update as soon as I hear anything else. Also, you all are amazing. I am so touched. I don't even know what to say. Thank you. :)

Update 10:10 a.m.: Well, the vet called. He did another x-ray and saw something that was obstructed by the claw and bones before. Turns out the claw thing has moved down a little, but the vet is seeing something else there and he thinks it might be an abdominal tumor. Please no cancer! :( He is going to try and get some of the cells and check it out so he can know for sure. High white blood count is high, which is not a good sign. I'll keep you posted. This isn't good. :(

Update 10:41 a.m.: The doctor says the tumor is inoperable and he thinks that it is that, not the claw thing, that is causing him to not eat and feel bad. The claw is actually moving along in him. His white blood cell count is really high and his red really low. I'm so sad. I'm heading over to be with him now and we're going to help him to the Bridge so he can go peacefully. :(

I'm going to close the Chipin. He does have expenses from his two trips to the vet and all this testing. I'll see what that is and get back to you all. Thank you.

Update 11:50 a.m: Bully passed peacefully to the Bridge surrounded by love from his three parking lot mommies petting him, talking to him and kissing him. He loved us, and we truly loved him, too. We asked to have a private cremation and we're going to spread his ashes back home, here in the parking lot. We lost a very special cat today.

82 comments:

  1. Moe chipped in,  but the total didn't go up -- let me know if it didn't go through.

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  2. Kitty Meow pitched in.  Not much but we did what we could. Hope everything goes well! :)

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  3. I got it! Please tell Moe thank you so much. Sometimes it takes the Chipin widget a while to update, but it is there. Thank you.

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  4. Thank you. It all definitely helps. :) I really appreciate it.

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  5. You did make the right decision. All lives are precious and what you (and Bully) need will be provided. God bless you for advocating for these animals who cannot speak with words, but speak with their hearts.

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  6. I feed ferals and I know this was tough, but you did right for Bully.  I have two big headed black babies and they too have great dispositions for parking lot cats.  I would go this far as well.

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  7. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I have a little black kitty "Munchkin" who was rescued from a Dunkin' Donuts. She is the love of my life and I truly couldn't imagine life without her. If someone hadn't taken the time to help her, I wouldn't be as blessed as I am.

    Munchkin, her brother cat Fido, her sister dog Buckiah, my husband, human son and I all say THANK YOU!!!  We are going to the "giving site" now and will help you.  My favorite quote applies - "Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened."  Your soul is dancing, Cute!

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!

    Tricia Pike

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  8. I chipped in on behalf of Weezy, who if he hadn't been rescued, could've been a parking lot kitty. Get well soon, Bully!

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  9. He is a handsome boy!!! I know he will be ok!! hugs and kisses, Margaret

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  10. Stop making me cry, Dorian! :)  I chipped in but feel like it's not enough. I'll keep an eye on the total and put in more if need be.

    xoxo,
    Heidi, Princess Sophie Bean, Harry Houdini and Frankie Sinatra

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  11. Dorian, you definitely made the right decision. Bully is part of your family, it doesn't matter that he lives in the parking lot, he's still your baby. We are crossing paws, fingers, toes and tails over here for Bully and sending all the healing energy and good vibes we can muster.

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  12. Chipping in on behalf of my Kitty and Topaz, both of whom were ferals who chose us to rescue them.  Thanks for taking care of Bully, and thanks to everyone chipping in! No cat is "just a cat."

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  13. You are so good to the kitties :) I hope he recovers quickly <3

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  14. Not sure if this the right site? What happened to the cat with the Hugh stomach? Had long brown/black hair and was going to the vet last week?? Haven't seen any updates! Will keep my fingers crossed for Bully <3

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  15. I'm wondering if you will now feel inclined to let Bully convalesce at your home, or if you will want to adopt him.

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  16. So sorry to hear this sad news. You did the right thing by helping him and he was blessed to know your love for him. Fly free Bully! You will never be forgotten!

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  17. Awww, I'm so sorry, Dorian. You are so amazing for taking this on - Bully was so lucky to have you as an advocate and I wish it was better news. ::hugs::

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  18. What a blessing for him to pass with peace and love and no pain. Blessings on you all.

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  19.  I'm so sorry, so full of tears, and so sad to see this. I will wait until your next post so I may contribute something. We all wish we could save each and every beautiful furry soul! You are truly a wonderful caring and compassionate person, and I love you for who you are and what you do!!

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  20. I am a blubbering mess. Because of you, our little Bully will be remembered by many. I know he considers himself a lucky boy. To be loved and remembered is the best any of us can ask for.  I hope to go where he goes someday and will look him up.  Thank you, Cute.  You have helped an angel get his wings.

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  21. Thank you for helping Bully and all of the parking lot kitties. May he rest in peace.

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  22. I'm so sorry and sad.  I know he appreciated all the love and care you have given him. Rest in Peace, Bully.  

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  23. I am so sorry.....I know how much you have come to love those parking lot cats!!  While it isn't the outcome you wanted, at least you can help him cross the Bridge with some peace love and dignity....

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  24. Hi! Yes, this is the right place. We had to help Daisy to the Bridge last week. It hasn't been a good couple week for our parking lot kitties. :( The vet said she had intestinal cancer and the bigness was due to fluid buildup. We could have had it drained, but it would have come right back. She was not comfortable and had been getting worse over a long time. It was hard to say goodbye to her, but at least with her, we had some warning that she was not doing well. She let us know when she was ready. Thank you for asking about her. I love all of these kitties very much.

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  25. I am so sorry, but I am at peace that Bully passed surrounded by people he loved and trusted and made sure he didn't suffer.  Godspeed, Bully, and God bless you.

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  26. I'm so sorry to hear that! I read about this last night and was hoping and praying things would go well. Poor thing, it's always hard to lose loved one with something like that. But you did your best and were able to make things comfortable for him. Thank you for taking care of the little guy. I'm sure he greatly appreciated it all.

    Rest in Peace, little one.

    ~ Kieli ~

    http://rainbowstarcandy.blogspot.com/

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  27. You did the right thing. So much loss lately. Sending healing purrs...

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  28. This website renews my faith in humanity. Its good to know the world isn't as lost as it appears sometimes. Thank you

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  29. I'm very sorry to hear of his passing.  I am glad that he got to pass peacefully instead of in pain, like he would have if you and the other parking lots moms hadn't have helped him.

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  30. I'm happy that this little kitty went to the Rainbow Bridge in the arms of someone who loved him.  

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  31. Aaah Dorian...I'm so very sorry. But you know you did what was best for him and he passed peacefully and as painlessly as possible. Without you and the others he would have died unloved and in pain. His spirit will linger and help keep you smiling.

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  32. I am so sorry. I am glad he got to pass in your arms, being loved.

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  33. Because of you and the other parking lot momma's, Bully knew he was dearly loved. In his final hours he was surrounded by angels, and his passing is by no means a mistake...he was needed over the Bridge for some greater purpose.  Much love to you and all your powerful work with the parking lot kittys.

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  34. A cat is never "just a cat". We cannot save them all, but each one is worth it. I am glad that you made the decision that you did, because, had you not, you wouldn't have known his ailment was beyond the claw issue. Had you not done the surgery, you would have been guilt-ridden, thinking, "If only I had done the surgery..."

    Many paw hugs from my place to you. We are all thinking of and purring for you and Kelly, who I am sure is hurting too.

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  35. So sorry to hear about Bully. What a sweet kitty. Sending you hugs--Little Meow and Shongy send hugs too. 

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  36. So, so sorry, Dorian!  This has been a terrible few weeks and days for precious kitties, with the news about Jack the Cat, Daisy and now Bully.  You did the right thing for Bully.  I'll watch the widget and contribute if you need more. So sad for you and your fellow parking lot mommies and their siblings.

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  37. I just came across this blog a few minutes ago.  I'm so sorry for you losing your parking-lot-kitty, Bully.

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  38. I wish we could all send Dorian messages of encouragement to open an on-going Chip In site to help her take care of her parking lot kitties.  If you see this posting on her wall and agree with me, please add your voice to this encouragement.  She deserves it, and has more than earned it, don't you think?

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  39. I am so sorry for your loss. It is never easy. I had a sick parking lot kitty of my own. He is feral and I ha the trap and was ready to take him and he has not shown up in 3 weeks. I am devastated I got to him too late. Thank goodness you could offer the best treatment for Bully.

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  40. Oh crap, I'm crying again. First the sad news about Jack, a couple of other stories about pets going to the bridge and now Bully. I am so sorry for your loss, but thankful that he was not alone, but surrounded by love. Thank you.

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  41. I agree 100%. I will always be happy to help when I can, even though it may be just a little.

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  42. Oh that's such a bittersweet story! Thank you for taking care of Bully - I know he felt all the love!

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  43. I'm so sorry.  I don't care if they live in your home or the street, their pawprints are on your heart.  RIP Bully, please say hello to Jack the Cat and my Piggins; Piggins was a beautiful black cat I loved for 17 years, after massive surgeries for the tumor I had to let him go as well......Piggy, please help Bully over the bridge!  Love and hugs....  : (

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  44. Oh I'm so sorry to hear about Bully. I'm in tears reading this. You're such a generous and wonderful person for all you do. You can know you did the right thing and that you took his pain away, and I think he knew that. RIP Bully...

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  45. I'm sorry Bully is gone, but glad he found the love of fine people like you. Blessings on you all.

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  46. I am so sorry, but this baby knew love and now he is out of pain.....God bless you all.........

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  47. I'm so sorry that your heart is hurting.  Atleast Bully got love from three loving moms.  Bully looks quite a bit like my Austin, I adopted from the shelter.

    Know that you did the best for him and that he was not alone.  Take care of yourself and know that you have people who truly understand the bond we have for out cats. 

    We have 5 cats the newest addition came home with us three weeks ago.

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  48. Oh, this is so sad - I was in tears as I read this.  Like you, I would have made the same decision to try to help Bully.  He died peacefully, with love, which is still a much better death than alone, in pain, under the bushes of the parking lot.  Bless you for caring - no cat is 'just a cat'.  RIP dear Bully.

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  49.  I've got tears flowing after reading this. I am so sorry! You gave him more than he could ever have dreamed of...compassion, love, care and mercy. May you be comforted in knowing you did all you could.

    Black kitties have a special place in my heart. My handsome, precious Montgomery had to be put down due to cancer last December. We made two additions to our home: Sebastian, another long-haired black sweetheart, and Isabel, a short-haired black cutie. They joined our gray tabby Benjamin, and his brother, solid gray (sort of  - subtle stripes on his tail, a white bow tie and heart-shaped white patch between his back legs) Maxwell. I would love more but I think we've maxed out at four.

    Thanks for loving this amazing creatures and sharing with us every day.

    =^..^=

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  50. I am so sorry for the loss of sweet Bully.  I feel thankful that you were there to help him have a gentle trip to the Bridge, instead of alone outside. 

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  51. I am so sad over Bully but you have done the humane thing after all else failed and I'm sure he has met other friends over the Rainbow Bridge.  Maybe even my 2 specials who were even older being -17 yrs.(2-1/2 yrs. ago) and 19 yrs. 7 most (just over 1 yr. ago)  Maybe he's even met some special doggie friends like Toby (1 wk), Hayley, Brandy and Carter.  Bless him and thank you all for caring so much - it means so much even for the TNRs of which I have 2 in my apt.  Soooo sorry.

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  52. bully was a very fortunate parking lot cat. he had the love and care of his 3 moms. special prayers for his kitty family and his moms.

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  53. My heart is breaking for Bully, and he was so fortunate to have so much love around him. You did the right thing. Money's not worth much if it's "inappropriate" to help the helpless. Thanks for sharing his story and photos; he is a handsome and distinguished gentleman. 

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  54. I'm so sorry for your loss Dorian, but at least you and the other parking lot mommies were there with him at the end. He was loved and he knew it. RIP little man. 

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  55. I am so sorry; We know it was a hard thing to do .You all have done everything possible to give him a good life and he knew it. He is now whole and happy and he will always be with you

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  56. I'm so sorry to hear the sad news about sweet Bully. I'm so glad he had such great parking lot moms to take such good care of him and make his life so much easier. You truly made a wonderful difference in his life.

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  57. I am so deeply sorry. This post just tore me apart. I know how hard this had to have been for you. Bully was so lucky that he was surrounded by love when you helped him to the Bridge. You are so special ((((hugs)))))

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  58. My heart breaks for you. I've been in your situation, and in the end, we all know that a cat is never "just a cat". As others have already said, you made a difference for Bully. We all feel guilt that we can't give our colony kitties the same luxuries as our indoor pets, and we worry for them. But you did right by Bully. He mattered in the world, to you and your fellow feeders, and by writing your post, you made him matter to the rest of the world. And now we all share your loss. RIP Bully.

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  59. Thank you for caring so much about Bully.  In the end he was surrounded by your love and that is what we all hope for when our babies cross the Bridge.

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  60. Oh NO!! I was not expecting this, even as I was reading your updates. I was thinking the mass was a blood clot or something,. I am sad too!!!!! Poor baby. I am so glad you were there for him and he knew you care!!! Glad to contribute. I wish it could have had a better outcome. :-(  Margaret P

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  61. He is in a "happy hunting ground" pain free and happy , Love to you!!

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  62. I'm so sorry Dorian. Thank you for giving him the chance he deserved <3

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  63. Sweetheart, I can't even begin to express how your posts these last 2 days have touched my heart.  I know that you've often said that you help all these parking lot kitties with food & vet care, but how Bully's need just stopped you short & made you think real hard for awhile.  Then, when you said that you decided that his life -- even if it was going to be just a life in a parking lot had worth -- just as much worth as any cat in the nicest home in the world, I was moved beyond my ability to comprehend.  In this world, we can't even get 95% of people to believe this about other PEOPLE!!!  And yet, instinctively, you know that life...any life has value & is sacred just by its existence. And I cried and prayed and kept checking the site to get any updates.  And when I read the final entry, I probably sobbed as hard as you & his other parking lot mommies did.  And I'm sure that all those wonderful people that were able to donate to this most magnificent of causes did also.  Even though the hard fight that you fought for Bully's life certainly didn't turn out the way anyone hoped, know that as he is running all over the other side of the bridge, the side that doesn't have any parking lots or cars, or mean dogs, or mean anything, that he, and especially his creator know the love, suffering, tears, sacrifice and agony that you all have been willing to go thru for him.  The fact that he is now totally out of pain, and unlike 99% of living creatures on earth, has been blessed to have been able to experience total, complete, pure unconditional love makes him one of the beyond luckiest animals in the universe!!  Can you even begin to imagine (if this fits into your belief system) how many hundreds of creatures of all types are going to be waiting for you when it's your time to cross that final bridge?  WOW!!  I guarantee you, you don't need to spend even 1 microsecond worrying about your eternal status -- that's all set up for you in spite of any horrible thing that you might do in the future.  THANK YOU SO MUCH for showing me -- and all of us -- what it REALLY means to be human. I would say "God be with you," but it's totally clear that he already is, and I'm sure always will be.

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  64. i am so sorry and i am so glad that you were with him. a cat is never just a cat. they are little bundles of love wrapped in fur. God bless you.

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  65. I'm so sorry for you and Bully.  But I'm really glad you were there for him, and he didn't go alone and in fear and misery. Bless you for helping Bully and his pals.  I wish I'd seen this post in time to contribute to the chip-in.

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  66. Thank you so much for this. I am so looking forward to meeting up with all of my furry friends at the Bridge one day. It's going to be a beautiful reunion, and I can't imagine how nice it will be to have them all in one place at the same time. This was a tough decision to make - several tough decisions really - but I'm at peace with all of them. It's so touching to me to have such wonderful people to share all of this with. It helps more than words can say. :)

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  67. I'm so sorry to see this news. I have a serious case of what the posters on another cat site refer to as MMS (Misty Monitor Syndrome). I'm thankful that Bully had a peaceful passing with all his Meowmies present. He deserved to be escorted to the Bridge peacefully and with dignity, as he was.

    He and the parking lot kitties are so fortunate to have hoomins who love and care for them. So many outdoor cats are nowhere near as lucky.

    You made the right decisions, all the way through, in caring for him the best you could. I'm sorry for your loss.

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  68. i'm so sorry bully passed away, but he's were there is no more pain with his creater. continue to help those strays and may god bless you.love pearl

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  69. sometime god take's back when all else fails so there is no suffering.by doing the surgery it said a lot about you a loving person but god love you much more to let you go through the pain if you had kept him alive. some people keep their pets alive when they are suffing thinking they are do good, but what they don't relalize is that they are thinking about their own feelings. thank god you maid the right decision.

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  70. I prayed for Bully to stop hurting and thank God for the answer even though it hurts me knowing a gift was lost. People like you strengthen my faith in humanity as well. Your post touched me to tears. Even though it doesn't begin to cover how I feel, Thank You for living out Matthew 25:40 "whatsoever you did for the least of these you also did for Me".
     
    Gratefully,
    Lynne E.

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  71. So sorry to hear about Bully I applaud you for doing the right thing by him, you at least gave him a chance. I lost my first cat to a tumor in the belly, not much they can do with cancer. Prayers and kisses go to Bully.

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  72. My heart is so sad for Bully the kitty.  What you and the other ladies do for those homeless kitties is so loving and wonderful.  Thank you for looking out for those kitties and doing the right thing.

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  73. Hello Heidi, 
    Just a quick note to say I like your critter names, and I have a Collie named Frankee Sinatra! ;o)

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  74. So sorry to hear about Bully. You & his other parking lot moms gave him a good life by looking after him and the other kittys.  

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  75. Absoluteserenity123November 8, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    So sorry about the sad news of Bully. But you should, we all should, consider he had a very good life for a parking lot kitty, with love care and attention from you and the others, that should be a consolation to you. I think 10 years is probably a good age for a feral cat, and most importantly he did not die alone and in pain. You were there helping and caring for him till the end, a peaceful passing. It is so fortunate that there are people like you who have the capacity to care to such an extent and help what are basically helpless and homeless animals. I like to think when we pass over our own bridges we meet up with past pets in a spirit after world. I think St Francis himself and St Gertrude of Nivelles (The patron Saint of cats and cat lovers) will be waiting to greet you, and pin medals on your angel wings! God bless you for the good you do. x X XXXX X x

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  76. I have numerous "parking lot" kitties....some feral....some not so.  These beautiful babies have just as much right to life, love and vet care that they will allow us to give them.

    I'm so very sorry Bully did not make it, but, he was surrounded in bright love and light while he crossed the bridge.  Thank you so much for helping this lovely boy.

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  77. I'm sorry about  what happened to Bully, but I believe he is in a better place.  Death is always hardest on the ones left behind. He is no longer in pain, but now you are.  But I think it helps to remember that. We grieve and he is playing with his friends all little cat spirits and nothing can ever hurt him again, and he'll never be cold, or too hot or hungry or thirsty.  He isn't missing his life on earth. We are missing him. He is ok and wants us to remember him yes, but to be happy and use the strength that we get from being happy to help more kitties while they are alive.  I believe he knew you wanted to help him get better, but it was just his time and not yours.  You will meet again when time on earth stops for you.  I'm sorry if I soud like I'm preaching. It's simply what I believe not preaching. Be happy because he would want you to be happy and love the cats you have while you can. And when they too pass make room for more.  Bully would like that.

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  78. This is the most beautiful thing ever I knew about St. Francis but not St. Gertrude. I take care of parking lot kitties, dumpster kitties and my own feral cat colony at home. All fixed and have shelter and food. I tried to get one to the vet for medical care and since he was very large 27 pound Maine Coon they had to sedate him to get him care unfortunately he died under anesthia. he wa only 3 and I am still not over it. I feel awful for taking him in and basically allowing the vet to kill him.

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  79. It's the gift we humans can give to felines...so hard!!!! Let's hope he went knowing he was cared about, by all of us.

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  80. Oh, I'm so sorry to read this. I can't believe it's been a week since it happened. Bully was well-loved and cared for. A very special cat, indeed!!!

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  81. Feel free to keep my chipin donation. I'm sure it will be used to help other cats & that is all I care about.....helping kitties.  Hugs & sorry about Bully.  The pawprint plaques are really neat momentos.

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