Saturday, 9 April 2016

TASE Day: The Story of Courageous Orange

Once upon a time the neighbors got a kitten. They named it Courage. She was a little silver tabby. Her face, however, looked like she'd stuck her face in a Cheetos bag.

Because of this (and a propensity for not hearing things correctly), we misheard her name as Orange. So that's what we called her.

The neighbours had a border collie. Orange wasn't terribly fond of him, so she spent much of her time over at our place. After all, we had a handful of little girls who loved to cuddle her.

Courageous Orange getting lots of luvins just before her surgery.
Orange loved attention. We were happy to give it to her.

About a year later, the neighbours got a Rottweiler puppy. Orange really did NOT like that dog, so she abandoned the neighbours and adopted us instead. I was more than happy to give my heart over to this cat.

The husband wasn't so keen. After all, we already had a cat.

Like all of our cats before, Lucky Kitty was a rescue cat. She was a black cat whose owners had chosen to give her up. We gave her a forever home, as the only other option was euthanasia. Her previous owners weren't really cat people, so they didn't give her the love and attention a cat needs. So we brought this nervous little kitty home and gave her all the love she could tolerate.

Even though she's come a long way, Lucky still has some nervousness about her. She's cautious walking through doors. She'll pause, sniff, suss out, and when she thinks it might be save, she DartsThruTheDoorLikeaBolt! She's afraid of shadows that aren't there. But she is coming around, because we are proving to her that our home is her safe haven.

When Orange adopted us, even though she wanted to be an inside cat, she had to be Outside Cat for the sake of Lucky. We hoped they'd get along, but they never did. Two years later, they still didn't get along. Thus, they both kept their separate worlds.

Later we learned her original name of Courage. Because we were so used to calling her Orange, we tacked them together as Courageous Orange.

So now we had this cat on our porch. I had a chat with the neighbours. "Your cat seems to have abandoned you."  "Yeah," they replied. "You want her? She's all yours."

As if Orange ever needed their permissions to love someone else.

So for two years she faithfully remained on our porch. We fed her and gave her padded boxes to sleep in and even let her slip into the garage on the colder nights. And she was so lovely. Such a sweet and affectionate kitty. The neighbours lost out on a lotta love.

Then last Wednesday, Courageous Orange disappeared. The next morning she was not at her usual spot on the porch. I didn't think too much of it, but the day after, I began to worry. What if something had happened to her?  As the next few days passed, my heart grew heavy with the possibility that she'd disappeared for good. We looked everywhere around the house and through the neighbourhood. No Orange.

We'd lost Basil like that. Basil was our rescue cat before Lucky. He'd grown old and (we suspect) ill. One night we put him outside, and he didn't come back.

We never found his body.

I mourned the loss of Orange. What could have happened to her? Where had she gone?  Then on Tuesday afternoon, as my daughter was outside, she heard something in the bushes. "Mom!" she cried. "Orange is back!"

Our faithful little kitty had returned. She was starving and thirsty. Also, she was badly injured. On Wednesday, she had been hit by a car. She'd survived, but her left hind leg had been shattered. She had spent the last week dragging her poor broken body home. We took her straight to our vet, who told us the bad news. We had two options: amputate her leg, or euthanize her.

If we amputated her leg, she'd have to become an inside cat, at least for her recovery period.

That was a quandary. Lucky and Orange didn't get along. If Orange became an inside cat, what would that do for Lucky? Did we have to sacrifice the security of one cat for the sake of another?

No. Inside was not an option, for we had to consider the quality-of-life issues for Lucky as well as Orange.

Lookin' for luv.
But whenever I considered the option of euthanasia, my soul felt sick. Orange was only three years old, and such a delightful cat. The thought of putting such a sweet-tempered creature down broke my heart. But I couldn't care for her post-op, not the way she needed.

What a hard, hard decision. With great reluctance, I chose to terminate her life. I tried exploring other options, but couldn't find a solution.

I went into the vet's the next day a complete mess. When it came time to declare my decision, I couldn't do it. I simply couldn't do it.

Then the vet offered me a third option: if I was willing to surrender her, they would carry out the operation and save her life. They'd then work with a local cat charity to help find a Forever Home for her.

Oh, what a beautiful miracle! I did not have to go through the agony of ending her life, but then I didn't have to go through the stress of coping with a post-op cat when I did not have the facilities.

My vet clinic is a tiny one with only a couple of vets and a small handful of staff. To offer thousands of dollars worth of work to save one beautiful soul meant a lot.  (To return their generosity, I have a GoFundMe campaign. Please consider donating.)

I surrendered Orange on Wednesday morning. That afternoon she went into surgery. I checked back on Thursday morning. They reported the surgery went well and she was recovering nicely. They'll give her a few more days to recover, then she'll probably go off to the Cat Haven for rehoming.

Courageous Orange is a beautiful and affectionate cat with a good temperament. She's been good with my daughters. She deserves a home that will love her as much as she will love them.

I wish you well, little kitty. May you find the home you deserve. I will miss you.



Here. Have some love.

1 comment:

Kate Larkindale said...

What a beautiful story. I hope Orange gets her happy ending.