“Thank God it’s Friday,” was all Melanie could think. It had been a long day, a long week, and the upcoming weekend was just a car ride away. Christmas was just a few weeks away and it was so far not even close to looking like Christmas outside. All week it had been cold, wet, sloppy, dirty and just gross outside. Her only clue that Christmas was getting closer was that as she headed home from work it was already dark outside. As Melanie headed down the country road with the rain hitting the windshield and the wipers struggling to keep up, she just wanted nothing more than to just get home and start the weekend.
As Melanie pulled up to the stop sign, her eyes were drawn to a very small, dark object next to the road. “Surely it’s just a clump of mud or a small rock,” she thought to herself. Then it moved! She continued looking at it trying to figure out what it was and hoping it would just take off and run away. It was just too dark for Melanie to see for sure what it was, but she thought there was a good chance it was a very wet, very tiny, and very young kitten.
Melanie’s eyes were already welling up with tears as she got out of her car. As she approached, the kitten didn’t even lift its head to look at her. It just laid there all huddled up and shivered. Melanie scooped the kitten up and returned to her warm, dry car. She unzipped her coat and placed the kitten next to her warm body. She turned on the car’s interior light and looked at the kitten. The kitten was a calico, was extremely thin, and had a lot of thick eye discharge. Clearly this kitten wouldn’t have survived much longer out in this weather.
“What now?” she thought. She already had three cats and two dogs. There was no way she could take in another cat. Melanie knew that the local shelters were full of cats looking for homes, so the chance of finding a home for this orphan was pretty small. Still, she knew having the kitten humanely euthanized was better than having it die alone out in this weather. She called her veterinarian and was told she could bring the kitten right in.
As her veterinarian examined the kitten, Melanie just couldn’t stop crying. She knew she was doing the right thing and her veterinarian told her she was doing the right thing. He told her the kitten was less than one pound, a female, and obviously very weak and debilitated. He told her the kitten had a pretty bad eye infection and upper respiratory infection. Melanie just kept repeating that there was no way she could keep the kitten. Her house was full. Her veterinarian assured her that he understood that. He had known her for many years and knew she had a huge heart for animals. He also told her that she was right to bring the kitten in out of the weather. Euthanasia as a much kinder, humane alternative compared to dying outside in the cold all alone.
Her veterinarian told her that even if she wanted to keep the kitten, he wasn’t sure if the kitten could recover from the malnutrition and infection, but if it was acceptable to Melanie he would like to take the kitten in and see what happened. If the kitten didn’t improve, he would euthanize her, but if she would improve he would find her a home. The relief that Melanie felt that this kitten would at least be given a shot at life was evident as the tears began flowing faster than before. She thanked her veterinarian profusely and left his office to finally start her well deserve weekend.
Although this story is based on a specific true story, forms of it occur very frequently in veterinary offices all over the country. Our office is called regularly by people with kittens or adult cats that they have found or that they can no longer keep. Although 99.9% of the time we have to say no, evidence of the .1% of the time is our clinic cats named Manny and Cindy. It isn’t coincidence that most animal hospitals have at least one clinic cat.
So what happened to the kitten that this story was based on? We named her Holly. Anyone want a kitten?
Chad Higgins has owned Amanda Animal Hospital for the last 14 years. He and his staff want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!