When peony arrived, she was pregnant, that much was obvious, and we thought she was about to give birth any day.
However, it was another 3 weeks before we saw any kittens, the reasons became more clear as the days went by.
Many of our cats are seriously underweight when they come in, they have frequently been left to fend for themselves for a very long time.
You might ask was she a Feral? Well, No, Ferals have had little to no human contact and are quite rightly very fearful of us. theycalso fend for themselves very well!!!!!
Peony was friendly and loved to be fussed so she was one of the saddest cases of all. A cat let down by humans. Humans who led her to imagine they would care for her and simply didn’t and left her out in the hard world to look after herself, unneutered, invariably to end up pregnant, and then not only barely able to care for herself but kittens. Kittens that would be born outside, without the protection of a colony, with a starving inexperienced mother, only to very likely perish with her as the cold weather went on.
She had clearly been born into a domestic situation, possibly loved as a kitten, because she was small and cute and adorable, but at some point between then and when she ended up at the shelter had run away, been abandoned or because her ‘owners’ had never bothered to neuter her, been turfed out when she was pregnant not wanting more mouths to feed.
We will never know for sure, but she certainly wasn’t cared for considering the condition she was in.
So we can only guess at her plight, but a few things are clear, she wasn’t neutered, she was pregnant, and she was left to fend for herself. Given her level of emaciation she was clearly not very good at finding food and the at the point we found her was ultimately only looking at miserable death for her and her kittens.
When Peony was found by us and brought in, it really was her lucky day.
Because Peony was NOT about to give birth, Peony so was seriously underweight and all her nutrients and strength where being diverted into preserving her kittens.
Peony was also in the most terrible pain, what was not immediately clear was that her mouth is all one huge yellow ulcer, top and bottom from one side to the other. I’m sure we can all remember a time we had a small mouth ulcer and how painful that was, well imagine your entire mouth like that and imagine being starving hungry, your body desperate for food, kittens growing inside you and if you found food, the pain of eating it.
In fact her entire body is covered in ulcerous lesions, upon further investigation these have been identified as ‘Rodent Ulcers’ Luckily they are not contagious and treatable, but as Peony is pregnant the full treatment must really wait until she has weaned her kittens and they are on solid foods, in the meantime the vets have provided an interim solution.
As Peony settled in, given a clean shelter, warm, bright, hygienic, including a covered secure area were she might feel safe enough to give birth and full camera monitoring to both ensure she is given enough peace to settle and feel safe, but also keep an eye on her to make sure we can provide assistance should she need it. She must have finally felt a huge sense of relief, unaware of all the mod cons keeping her safe.
Imagine all she was going through just hours before, the hopelessness of it all and then suddenly transported by kind hands and kind voices into a utopia of protection, toilet facilities, places to hide and feel secure, food and water and things to snuggle into all available for her, calming music, areas to explore and warmth and most of all SAFETY.
Initially like all new rescues she was nervous, but we allow them all to decompress and take their time to understand that we mean them no harm and allow them to trust us.
Humans will come in, greet and allow the cats to interact or not as they see fit, we monitor and update boards with progress and know who to fuss and who to ‘give space’ to. Every cat is an individually and they all must be handled accordingly.
Peony was open to being fussed, she seemed to want human contact and protection.
While the cats are in our care at CAT WATCH they are all treated with the intrinsic care they deserve until they find permanent homes with people we know will properly take up this mantel and continue to care for them for the rest of their lives. Our vetting is second to none.
Peony does not know that, she did not have people to ensure she didn’t end up pregnant alone and vulnerable, she was left to cope without help or the skills to survive, a domestic cat in a hard cold world, vulnerable and starving.
Peony happily took to being fussed, ‘PLEASE look after me, PLEASE care for me’, she seemed to say and that’s what we did,
Peony’s apparent need for human contact got her moved in with her foster human, every night she would sleep on her foster mummy’s bed and purr and kneed and get warm and feel safe and secure. But no kittens came. Peony’s medication helped and despite the ulcers she ate very well, she gained weight and her sad bedraggled ulcerated fur improved.
Weeks passed, and we came to realise that Peony had not been ready to give birth at all, just simply she was so thin she looked like she was further along. Some three weeks later, next to her trusted human on the bed, she gave birth to five kittens, 4cgood sized fat little healthy kittens, kittens we hope will never suffer their mothers experience, certainly not if we can help it. Unfortunately one was still born. Probably to lack of nutrients in early pregnancy.
There is no greater trust between a cat and a human than that of them kittening right next to you like this! They trust that you will protect and support them and Peony’s foster mummy certainly did, although it was a bit of a shock to her!
After that a table bed area was made up next to the bed for Peony and her kittens to have more room and so her foster mummy could have her bed back and wash the sheets! Now surrounded by a trusted human and her four kittens, food, water and litter, she felt wanted, warm and loved. Able to care and feed her kittens without worry.
Can you imagine what a relief this must be for this poor girl? She is a sweet natured loving cat, and in time she will be neutered never to endure this again, as will her kittens, no more to add to the overbrimming pool of cats being dumped or bred all over the uk for cash! And to hopefully find her furever home as a pampered princess until the end of her days.
Her Rodent ulcers can be treated by steriods once the kittens are weaned and hopefully never to reoccur and all this fear and pain and suffering we hope will be just a distant memory.
This is Peony’s story, but every day cat and kittens come to us from humans who have failed them.
Someday the mountain seems to high to climb, the constant round of trying to make a difference, the financial worry, the logistics and complexity of the issues we have to deal with, well its overwhelming. Frankly we often want to give up, but the trouble is HOW?...HOW do you walk away from all this? The answer is, we can’t …we need to carry on, we HAVE to carry on, but sure, we’d like a holiday, a break, not to be called out all the hours day and night, but how do you organise that?, how do you know its not another Peony that needs your help right now?
So we keep going, it’s exhausting and sometimes we forget to thank you all for all your do, we try to keep everyone up to date, but when there is so much suffering and so much need, if we fall short on the social graces, know that we are NOT falling short on caring for the cats, THEY are our priority and sometimes there are not enough hours in the day to do any more than we do.
But THANK YOU, THANK YOU all our supporters, those that donate regularly, we rely on and DEPEND on you to help pay those bills that we have to pay, to cover the heat and food and shelters we HAVE provided to keep them safe and warm.
“To know one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded" Ralph Waldo Emerson ©️
Lets make this OUR mantra for our rescue life eh?
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