Sunday, October 27, 2013

Saving Sassy

On October 16th, I received a heartbreaking email:
Hello, my name is Lucy, and I found your blog after doing some research online. I'm in desperate need of your help or advice...a cat abandoned by her owner to a store because they didn't want her anymore went into the store basement...she has never come out of the basement and they are closing the store on 10/31 and they're just going to leave her there to die if she doesn't come out..I tried going down there with a friend to get her, but she refused to come out, she would just meow...she's already spayed...please help me...please let me know your thoughts or if you can do anything to help, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks a lot.  -Lucy.
I replied to let Lucy know I could not take her in, but I could help get her out. Lucy took my advice, secured a foster home and prepared a back up plan in case she was feral. So I said, "Great, let's get her out of there." So we did.

First things first, I pulled out my gear and Spin checked it all out before giving me the go ahead.

Lucy and Jasmine picked me up and we headed to Greenpoint, Brooklyn. They told me a little more about Sassy's story. Jasmine's cousins work at the store, and they are the ones who have fed her over the past year, but they could not get her to come out and reached out to Jasmine for help when they learned the store owner was closing the store and Sassy was in danger. Jasmine tried to get her to come out, but couldn't get her. She called Lucy, and they went to the store. Jasmine told me that after they tried to get her again and found out about the store closing, Lucy went on "her mission" and found help. And away we go...

We set up in the stinky basement, if you've ever been in a basement on Manhattan avenue, you know what I'm talking about, it's a distinct moldy, funky infusion.
Jasmine had lured her out once before and actually got her in a carrier, but as she was zipping it up, Sassy found her way out! So we sent Jasmine over to shake some food and let her know we were friendly. I set the box trap and we backed off.
There she was, hiding in a hole in the wall by the ceiling. That's the Greenpoint sewer system back there, big pipes and lots of smell. Lucy said, "I'll go in there if I have to, but I might need a suit" to which I reluctantly admitted, I have 3 hazmat suits and masks in my closet if we need them (a proactive move after crawling through the Ravenswood crawl spaces with Save Kitty), but let's see if we can trap her first.
So we waited. And waited. Sassy is a smart female, the second hardest to trap after a smart pregnant female. She would come out, cry to us a bit, but if we moved close, she ran back behind the wall.She would sit on a shelf and stare at the food and cry to us. She would not go near the box trap.

So after about an hour and a half, I said "Time for the drop trap." I usually lead with the drop, but we were in a really tight space and I didn't know if we could do it. Sadly, I didn't have my camera with me, and when trapping the smart ones, you can't move an inch or you will spook them, I was also holding the drop trap string, so I couldn't leave. I would LOVE to have video of Lucy and Jasmine while watching her move slowly to the drop. They moved in perfect unison, up, down, left, right, it was synchronized worry and anticipation, and it was fabulous! Then, she went in, I pulled the string, and we got her.
We celebrated with some high fives and hugs and then after a successful drop to box trap transfer, we packed up and headed out.Lucy had a vet appointment lined up for her, so off we went!
 On our way out, Jasmine's cousins asked to see her, they have fed her all this time, but had never had the chance to see her. She's beautiful, a Siamese, Tabby mix. Sassy was doing very well for a cat abandoned by her owners who lived in a basement with no contact for a year. She has beautiful blue eyes, and look at those paws!
And...she's a talker!
We put her on the table and the next test was to see if she was friendly or feral. Jasmine and Lucy were pretty sure she was friendly, they had some interaction with her at the store, but it was limited and she was not on her turf.
Things are going well...
So Sassy was removed from the trap and awaited the doc. I'm completely amazed that she is doing so well after a year hiding in a basement. She just continues to amaze us as the vet visit continues.
The doc comes in and Sassy does not try to hide. Um, my cats aren't that good at the vet!
Sassy's all, "Wait, what are you going to do with that?"
 She was so well behaved. Clean ears, no fleas, we're all,"huh?"
 Eyes look good.
 She's about 2 years old, just a baby.
The doc assures us Sassy is in good health.
 She even enjoyed the flea comb, everyone's jaw dropped, "He's just combing her belly and she's purring."
 So while checking to see if he can confirm spay with a spay scar, always tough, he gave her some extra belly rubs to complete his evaluation:)'s snuggle time! Lucy dives right in with a chin rub!
 Lucy and Jasmine get a good look at the baby they rescued and let her know she's safe now, and her life will be full of love and belly rubs from now on.
 Sassy seems pretty happy, and Jasmine seals her promise with a kiss.
 Sassy's heroes, Lucy and Jasmine, folks! Applause!
 So now Lucy is faced with a new dilemma...does she keep this adorable baby she just fell in love with or stick to the foster to adopt plan?! We'll find out soon enough!
 But for now, enjoy the happy ending we wish for every cat and kitten. Congrats, Sassy, you can cross off life #2 of living in that basement and enjoy kicking off life #3!
Huge thanks to Lucy and Jasmine for hearing about Sassy and doing everything they could to save her, they are heroes.

My friends and I, and rescues everywhere, get emails daily, and we are only able to help a small percentage of those who reach out to us. I would not have been able to help Sassy without Lucy stepping up to foster/adopt and Jasmine doing recon and providing transportation. I do a fair amount of TNR and fostering, nowhere near what others do, but my favorite thing to do is to help others rescue and become heroes. Animal rescue relies heavily on the community, we all work together and sometimes, even when you think your effort or contribution is small, it makes all the difference. All I did was trap and share some information, Lucy did a tremendous job planning, researching and reaching out for help. Well done, Lucy.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Rest Peacefully, Sweet Lucky.

Lucky passed away yesterday. 
Here's Luckys story.
He turned up at NYCACC in May, completely soaked in oil. Lisa, of North Brooklyn Cats, rescued him. She said he smelled like a car service station, like a mechanic's shop. 
He was only 10 days old, his eyes had just opened, and his name was Lucky. 
He had multiple baths to remove the oil. His ears were so full, that the Q-tips Lisa used to clean them came out completely black.  He seemed healthy and showed no signs of illness. He just needed more baths.
Lucky was too young to eat on his own. Lisa is an expert bottle feeder, but he refused to latch on and suckle. She fed him drop by drop to fill his belly. 

Lisa realized he was blind, and thought she had seen him have a possible seizure. She took him to the vet, who confirmed he was blind and said to keep an eye on him for more seizures. At that point, it was wait and see. 
Lucky was adorable. He charmed everyone at Muddy Paws, and he had mastered hide and seek at an early age. 
Soon he was running, pouncing and having a blast!
Yah, he was blind, so?
Around this time, Raptor was ready for a friend, and Lucky was ready to start learning how to navigate a bigger environment. He was going to have his own home just like all the other lucky ones. So he came to Big City Little Kitty for some training. 
He started out in the bathroom. Learning how to map out the area, find the litter box and play like crazy! His teddy bear was always right there for him.
He and Raptor became friends, and partners in crime, right away.
He learned to wrestle.
And when Raptor was a little too rough for him, he came running to me for some mama time. 
He got big and strong very fast and could go round and round with Raptor. They were very happy to have each other.
Lucky was amazing. He was navigating the apartment, running from room to room a warp speed, and living the good life! And man, did he love a good belly rub!
He snuggled up tight with his teddy bear at night.
And snuggled in the big bed with mama in the morning.
Then one night I came home and realized he may have had a seizure. Then a couple of nights later, I saw him have a seizure. It was very scary, and intense. He came out of the seizures fast and was walking and eating within minutes. I called Lisa and she came right away to take him for an emergency visit to the vet.
They noticed he had some ear troubles and we all hoped that some medication to reduce the swelling and infection in his ear would end the seizures, and it did for a while. 
He was back to his kooky self: 
sloppy eating, 
kitty yoga,
kickin' it at cat nip parties,
and being REALLY cute!
He was accepted into the Neighborhood Cat Watch, Queens Division, for his stellar listening skills.
And he had a new friend, Spin.
We were one, big, happy foster family.
We took care of him when he had a boo boo,
And snuggled him at every opportunity.
Yesterday, I woke up and went in to the kitchen and found that Lucky had a seizure, a bad one. He was not recovering from this one. I wrapped him up tight and stayed close. I phoned Lisa and she worked on getting him another emergency appointment.
While I was in the shower, Spin kept watch, cuz that's what brothers do.
By the time he reached the vet, he was in very bad shape. His lungs were full of fluid and his stomach and intestines had thickened. They though it was FIP at first, but [UPDATE from North Brooklyn Cats (more at the bottom of the post) "an autopsy revealed that he most likely died of brain damage inflicted by a botfly egg that entered his body through the nose. The developing larvae built a sort of cocoon in his brain that caused damage that resulted in his blindness, seizures, and ultimately his death."] He had a short life, but he had a blast. He had fun ALL the time and he had plenty of love. Thank you, North Brooklyn Cats, for rescuing him and giving him a chance.
Rest peacefully, sweet boy.
Big City Little Kitty

10/26 Update from North Brooklyn Cats:
Necropsy results.

"Here's an update for Lucky fans. Warning, it's rather awful. An autopsy revealed that he most likely died of brain damage inflicted by a botfly egg that entered his body through the nose. The developing larvae built a sort of cocoon in his brain that caused damage that resulted in his blindness, seizures, and ultimately death. There is no way we could have prevented this, and no practical way of discovering that it was there. And even if we had, there probably was nothing to be done. He had the best short life he could under the circumstances. Thought you might like to know."