Friday, April 20, 2012

Rescuing Rosie

As many of you have asked me all about the sick kitty, and I only have space for 1 Katz Tale in The Star a month, I've written up Rosie's story and am offering it for free. Enjoy!

Rescuing Rosie
A Katz Tale By Ellen Whyte

One of my secret pleasures is to go for a hair wash. I've got a nice salon near me that throws in a mini massage so I come out feeling relaxed and looking as sleek as an Afghan hound.

So there I was, sneaking off on a Sunday afternoon in glorious anticipation of a good time, when a little cat appeared at the bottom of our road. As I slowed down for him, I could see he was hurt. His whole side was bloody.

When I pulled over and got out, the little cat took refuge under a parked car. I lay on the street, took one look, and raced for the house. I'd seen such damage before but only in pictures. Someone had thrown boiling water over this little fur.

T-man, my partner in life and all round good egg, has the advantage of being brought up on a farm. He came out and pronounced the cat to be a serious state but no infection.

While we crawled around on the street, an elderly lady came out. She told us the cat was a stray, and that the injury had happened a day or so before.

We couldn't get to the cat so I did the next best thing: I got my camera, took some shots, and went to see the vet. Dr Baz looked, exclaimed, and gave me some super duper antibiotics. He refused to let me pay too, the darling.

I went home, ground up a pill in some aromatic tuna and chicken cat food, and went to the car where the kitty was hiding. I put the bowl down and backed off. There was an instant of silence, and then the sound of hurried chomping and slurping.

Two minutes later, a black girl cat came out followed by a good looking blue eyed cat with a grey mask and ears. The medicated food was gone but I had a handful of biscuits with me as backup. The two other kitties made a meal of those, and I realized I had just adopted 3 stray cats.

The next morning the black girl was friendly and greeted me with loud meows while the sick kitty hid under the car. The blue-eyed cat distinguished himself by rushing over and clawing me over the knuckles so that I would drop the bowl of cat food. I named him Mugger, and upped his biscuit ration.

Over the next week I made two trips a day to medicate and feed the cats. I had only met one or two of the people at the end of our street before but trudging down there twice a day introduced me to the other residents.

What was cheerful was that everyone expressed shock at that poor cat's plight. As one new friend put it, "It makes me feel creepy that someone in our neighbourhood could do such a thing." Another lady who came out to see why I was crawling about under her car burst into tears when I pointed out the sick little cat.

We all speculated on who could have done it but we couldn't identify a culprit for certain. Some new friends pointed the finger at the workers who are renovating a house near us. However, as these kindly men demanded daily updates on how the sick kitty was doing, and I saw them sharing their rice and curry with the strays too, I pointed out that was most unlikely.

I thought, and still think, it's the work of a foreign maid who feels frustrated and unrecognized, or of an elderly person who has the old-fashioned belief that animals are objects with no souls or feelings.

While the culprit remained a mystery, the sick kitty slowly began to trust me. At first he darted out from under the car, and then darted back into the safety of the darkness again. Then he became brave and stood on the street, eating out of the bowl while I stood a few steps back. Finally he ate out of the bowl while I held it.

Now I was allowed to come close, I could see the wound was improving. The layers of dermis were thickening and there was no sign of infection thanks to Dr Baz's wonderful medicine. But the damage was so great, that I knew this little cat needed professional help if he were to heal properly.

Unfortunately I couldn't pick him up. I didn't want to frighten him. I had to be patient.

When a month had passed, the little cat allowed me to rub his ears. Then I was allowed to rub his good side. Emboldened, I brought my cat carrier along to one of our breakfasts. My furry friend took one look and bolted.

I thought this a small setback and was prepared to be patient but suddenly, in the space of 24 hours, the little cat seemed to sink. He missed two meals and came back looking sad and sorry.

As it was a Monday morning and everyone was at work I alerted my neighbour Jett who works from home like me. He helped me crawl under various cars but our effort at catching the little cat proved useless. Convinced he was in real trouble, I was in despair.

At this point another neighbour, Umi, volunteered to take a turn. She and her husband are very fond of cats. They feed the strays that live in their back lane, have a tribe of indoor cats, and also provide a home for our last rescue Cole the Tuxie cat.

Umi borrowed our cat carrier, set up a dish of food inside, backed off and carefully lulled our sick friend into a sense of security. On the third day he entered the box for his breakfast, Umi crept up on him and shut the door.

This was last Sunday, six weeks to the day we first spotted him.

Concerned that this cat might not make it, and in the false belief that I could distance myself from too much hurt, I had carefully refrained from naming him. But Umi had no such reticence; she informed me that she'd called him Rosie.

I must admit that when I first saw this cat, I thought he was a girl until T-man pointed out that the kitty had man-parts. Umi laughed when she realized but we decided to let the name slide for the moment. The most important thing was to get Rosie into hospital.

The moment Dr Baz opened his clinic, we were on his doorstep. There was nobody there so we went straight in. When I put the carrier on the table, Rosie was sitting at the back, growling furiously. I was armed in a thick work shirt, and I had gloves and a towel with me too.

Convinced the gloves would freak Rosie out, I left them off and gently moved the towel around the cat. He let me edge him out of the box, and all look well until the surgery door jangled and a pack of girls came in with a doggy patient.

Quick as a flash, Rosie turned around in his skin, slashed a claw into my thumb, and shot off into the dispensary behind us.

Getting him back into the box was a nightmare.

At first Rosie jammed himself behind the dispensary fridge. Dr Baz tried to inject him with tranquilizer but the instant Rosie felt the needle in his bum, he levitated, turned about in the air, and dived under a counter. Not a drop of dope went in.

As Rosie was hissing like a fiend, we stepped back and decided to give him time to calm down. Dr Baz went off to treat the dog and I kept an eye on the cat.

For the next hour, I tried getting Rosie into the cage. As he was wedged into a corner, I put the cage in front of him, and then tapped the wall, hoping Rosie would move forward and into the box. He didn't.

Then I rolled up a newspaper, and gently moved it towards Rosie's tail. I hoped it would propel him forward and into the cage - but it didn't. Rosie just sat put, hissing like a python.

When Dr Baz was done with the dog, he tried using his "dangerous dog" pole. However, Rosie just pawed the loop away from his face whenever it came near. While this confirmed cats are much more forward-thinking than dogs, it was frustrating!

Each time we came close to him, Rosie would launch a hissing, spitting attack. Eventually I came up with a cunning plan that would take advantage of this.

While Dr Baz went off to inoculate some puppies, I put on the heavy-duty gloves and wrapped a towel lightly around my arm. I made sure the cage was in front of Rosie, and that he couldn't avoid running into it if he moved. Then I picked up the rolled up newspaper and edged it towards the cat with one hand while I put my gloved and toweled arm in front of Rosie.

Rosie reacted just as I hoped. He launched himself at my arm, fixed all of his claws into the towel, and bit and clawed for all he was worth. In one smooth move, I moved my arm into the cage and gently dumped the cat, the towel and the glove into the bottom. Then I closed the door.

For a few seconds Rosie lay on the floor of the cage, venting his rage on the towel. Then he realized what I'd done. He lay still for a second, and then yowled at me. His language was appalling. But I was glad to see he wasn't running wild in the cage and hurting himself. Sensible in defeat, Rosie lay still and swore furiously.

It had taken me 90 minutes to get Rosie into the cage but despite all the drama, all I had to show for it was a single claw puncture - the one Rosie gave me right at the beginning of his fight for freedom.

The rest was simple. While Dr Baz attended the patients in his clinic, I went home and had a soothing shower and some lunch. Then I returned to find Rosie already sedated and under the knife.

Much to my surprise Dr Baz was very pleased with the look of the wound. He said it was clean, the Rosie was otherwise in good nick, and that once the whole thing was stitched, Rosie would be ok. He estimated it would take about 10 days. I called Umi and listened to her cry as I gave her the good news. I didn't shed a tear. Honest.

As the surgery was full, and it takes two people to stitch a cat up, I bravely volunteered to assist. While I held the skin together with some fearsome looking technical implements, Dr Baz stitched. Thankfully, about 3 stitches into the job, Mrs Dr Baz came in. She knows how squeamish I am, and I was terribly grateful to see her take over.

In the end it took some 30 stitches to patch Rosie up. We decorated her with a lampshade to prevent her from chewing her wound, and set her back in the cage.

The recovery period posed some problems. I can't have Rosie in my home as Au, Target and Guido are vehemently opposed to feline boarders, and Umi has her own tribe at home who feel the same way. Malaysia is nice and warm 24C day and night but we didn't want Rosie to stuck in a cage outside either. It's just too stressful.

Luckily we have great friends and some excellent local facilities. I called our friend Za who runs a super salt water aquarium shop and who has a room at the back with rescued strays up for adoption. We set Rosie's cage in there, and left him to unwind.

We also renamed him Ross but for some reason the name hasn't stuck. Our poor boy is likely saddled with a girl's name for life.

Being at Za's is the best thing for Rosie because Za has a magic touch with cats. Within 24 hours Rosie let her pet his ears. By next week he'll be cuddly. Then of course I'm going to show up and take him to the vet to have his stitches out, and be neutered and vaccinated to boot.

Although I can't say I like being hissed at, I'm prepared to be the bad person here, just as Za laughing says she's willing to play the good one. What's important is to get Rosie back into shape.

We've also settled on his future. Rosie is a young cat, possibly 18 months or 2 years old, but as he has been on the streets and has had such a bad time, he's an unlikely prospect for rehoming. Also, there are shelters as well as independent rescuers like Zaa who have dozens if not hundreds of socialized pets looking for a home.

I took a poll of the neighbours at the end of the road to ask them how they viewed Rosie and his two stray pals. They agreed that if I have them all neutered and vaccinated, and that if I am responsible for feeding them, they won't mind the cats living there.

The one caveat is that we've capped the TNR crowd at 3 cats; anyone else coming in will have to be handed over to the SPCA - and most likely that would be the end of them.  But I digress...

Our plan therefore is to put Rosie back on the street when he's fully recovered. It's not ideal but it's the best solution I can think of. Also, I'm not alone because Umi has agreed to help.

Once Rosie is out, the black girl is our next venture. As she should be simple to deal with, I am putting my effort into a longterm campaign to get Mugger into the clinic. He's a tough baby and very suspicious so this is going to take some doing.

Wish me luck?

PS As Rosie still looks awful, there will be no photos till next week. Instead here's a pic of Mugger and a pal who dropped by for a free lunch.


Joy E. Saga said...

That's wonderful of you Ellen! So glad that Ross is on the road to recovery ... you are his guardian angel!

Summer at said...

That is awesome that you went to all the effort for Rosie! He has NO idea!

dArtagnan Rumblepurr/Diego Hamlet Moonfur said...

You really are an angel on earth. Thank you for taking such wonderful care of these poor little ones. I can't imagine why anyone would ever harm such loving, gentle animals.

dArtagnan Rumblepurr/Diego Hamlet Moonfur said...

You really are an angel on earth. Thank you for taking such wonderful care of these poor little ones. I can't imagine why anyone would ever harm such loving, gentle animals.

Cezar and Léia said...

You have such a lovely heart dear Ellen!

Dianne said...

I admire you so much
you're a hero

I will be creating a hex doll for the one with the boiling water

you made me laugh with your DIL guesses
it's daughter-in-law
in this case Hope's Mommy :)

Declan said...

You and your friends and neighbours and Dr Baz are complete stars! Well done and thank you for taking care of all those strays. The world needs more people like you! Deccy x

Old Kitty said...

Oh Rosie Ross Ross! Me and Charlie are so teary eyed at your rescue! We love that there are so many people - so many - who care for you and the other 2 stray kitties. For every bad person who harms animals there are plenty who help.

Thank you Ellen, T-Man, Umi and hubby, Dr Baz, Za and all you wonderful kind people for being there for these most vulnerable of creatures.

Take care

Angel Ginger Jasper said...

Thank godness ther are people like you to help. That little Rosie would not have made it without your help, you are his saviour for sure. Good luck with the other two. Hugs GJ x

Katie Isabella said...

It sickens me once again that a human being could do that to an innocent like Rosie and all the others throughout the world who are savaged. Thank you a thousand and more times for helping him.

♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ said...

What an awesome story! Kudos to you for all you have done to help Rosie. We hope he makes a full recovery, but we only wish he could become someone's pet and not have to fend for himself on the streets again. But we understand there is only so much one person can do. Thanks for all that you do.

Carol said...

What a great story, you have a huge kind heart to help like this!

Remington said...

God bless people like you....

LifeRamblings said...

you're such an inspiration and a role model Ellen. hugs & kisses

Connie - Tails from the Foster Kittens said...

Thank you for sharing. It is stories like this that keep my complete hatred of "people" at bay.. Too often I hear the stories of Rosie up to the point where he is found like that.. it is rare I hear people going above and beyond. It is nice to be reminded that people who care are out there.

Marg said...

Gosh, you sure did a good job catching and taking care of Rosie. Well done getting him back in the cage at the vets. I just have to thank you for doing all that. Sure makes me smile. There are so many cats that get hurt and don't ever have a chance. Take care.

GRAÇA said...

Venho pedir uma coizinha...
Entrei no sorteio do Tigre meu amigo e se gostares da minha foto vai votar em mim vou fazer a postagem com a fotografia que entrei e por o link do Tigre é só carregares e vais logo lá ter .
Bom fim de semana
Ronons da amiga que não se esquece nunca de vocês

Brian said...

Thank you so much for being there when she needed you the most.

BeadedTail said...

It breaks our heart that someone did that to Rosie but we're so thankful you were able to help him get the care he needed! We're sending purrs to him and the other kitties still out there.

The Island Cats said...

Yay! We're so glad you were there for Rosie! Good luck with the other kitties!!

Cleo said...

Your efforts are way beyond admirable, my friend!

wildcatwoods said...

I enjoyed reading this story very much and applaud your efforts to help these cats. Living in a very rural area in NC I have also helped spay and neuter many of the cats and left them to live out their lives outdoors with a shelter and food and care from me. Sometimes that is the best you can offer under the circumstances. Sending lots of healing energy to Rosie!

Cats of wildcat woods

Memories of Eric and Flynn said...

That is a wonderful thing that you, your vet and neighbours have done for Rosie.Thank you for giving him his chance at life.

Kjelle Bus aka Charlie Rascal said...

You and your friends are doing a great job with the cat´s , especially with Rosie.
Me and mom hope he will be fully recovered soon !

Cindy Adkins said...

Thank God for people like you! You are an angel!
Hugs and Purrs from Buster, Rudy, Sam and Mom Cindy

Tamago said...

You are an angel to help and take such good care of Rosie. And so brave to assist the surgery! It's wonderful your neighbors accepted Rosie and his friends living there and Umi will help you. I hope he will recover very soon.

Spitty-the-Kitty said...

God bless you for caring for this kitty and giving him the best chance. XOXOXO

Donna Heber said...

You are Rosie's fairy God mother! I can't believe someone would be so gruel to a kitty. I hope your thumb is on the mend. Hugs for all you do!

Faythe said...

Bless you for helping Rosie out. I hope he recovers well & is able to live back on the street as a healed mancat. Mugger & his friend have interesting markings. maybe if they can be socialized they may have a better chance of adoption. we all know our household limits and sometime have a single who will not accept anyone else in their home. thanks for the update!
Faythe @ GMT

Mickey's Musings said...

What a wonderful story !!!!!!!!
WE send you purrs for all the work and love you gave in helping these kitties,especially Rosie. He just may develop a "rosy" purrsonality ;) heehee

Purrs Tillie and Georgia,
Tiger,Treasure and JJ

=^..^= said...

How heart-warming! We're hoping for a wonderful happy-ever-after to this story!

~Slash & Bronzy

sully86 said...

today at around 2.30pm, while me and a few of my friend were having lunch, we saw a man kicking a poor kitty on the stomach pretty hard to shoo it away from the motorcycle that he was going to ride on. My friends and I were totally gasping in disbelief. He could have just shoo the cat in a scary voice or something instead of kicking it. Crazy world we live in right now.