Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thankful Thursday

This post might make you wonder why I put it under "Thankful Thursday".

This is Furrydance Sunny, and you might remember when he was returned to me back in May 2009, I posted about him on my cattery blog.

Keyser Soze (his previous name, which had too sinister a image, so I renamed him Sunny, for what I hoped would be a sunny outlook for his future happiness)had a bit of a rough life. After living with his first family for two years, the other cats in the house started picking on him and he began urinating outside the box and escaping outside! He almost died due to an infection in his chest called Pyothorax, due to scratch from another cat. A specialist veterinarian pulled him thorough and he has the battle scars on his right side to show how brave he was. Then about the time Mike died, his owners gave him away to some friends of theirs without notifying me first and I was quite angry. But I was able to get in touch with his new owners and then they knew how to contact me to keep me updated on Soze's life.

Well, two years past without much contact. I wasn't very happy about that, but kept in touch, so they knew I still cared. Then one day, out of the blue, I get a phone call telling me that he has been urinating all over the house and fighting with their cats and they were moving and wanted to bring him back to me immediately. Of course, I said yes, and started making a safe and quiet place for him to come back to. When I do "rehab" on a kitty with behavior issues, I follow a strict protocol. I never know whether they will get better under my care or not, but I always want to give them a chance.

So, on May 7, 2009 he arrived back at his birthhome here and his rehab began...2 weeks in a 4'x4'x2' cage, with heated bed, litterbox and food/water and no other cats around to cause him anxiety. The first two days he was hissing and growling but that slowly gave way to needing affection and he began to let me hold him and brush him. He was well behaved in the cage-no urinating outside the box or spraying so he got to move up a step into the guest bathroom, with all the same comforts but with more room.

He was affectionate and happy, and I thought he would be able to find the right home. He so far had not shown any bad behaviors here and the next step for him was to move into the guest bedroom and eventually be introduced to another cat he will feel comfortable with. If all goes according to plan, then after about 3 months, I will start seeking a home for him. It may be as an only cat, or maybe with one of the upcoming kittens, or with a family that already has a cat from Furrydance who I know will give him a good forever home.

Sunny had been 100% perfect in his behavior here, no urinating outside the litterbox at all! So he got to move into the library room, then the guest bedroom on June 1st and he was so happy to have a comfy bed (where I would nap with him sometimes) and windows to look out on the backyard and the lake and the wildlife.

A week after he settled in to the bedroom, I had houseguests and they had to share the guestbedroom with Sunny. That was fine with them, as they already have one Furrydance cat and were here to meet one of Coco's kittens they had picked out to adopt. But as fate would have it, they fell in love with Sunny. That was not unexpected, as he is super affectionate and loved their attention. My only reservation was that if they adopted him, he would be going back into a multi-pet household and previously that was not a good experience for him.

So I told them I would like to keep him with me for a couple of months longer, to introduce him to the other cats, thinking I would start with Zephyr, as I needed to see if she was going to be ok with other cats, too. He had already had a couple of altercations with two of the resident cats, but he was not the aggressor in those instances.

But sometimes, once a cat becomes comfortable with it's surroundings, the tables can turn and it can become the aggressor if it learns it can intimidate certain cats. I had gotten conflicting stories about his behavior in his previous homes, so did not know what to expect with time.

After two weeks in the guestroom, it was time to introduce him to Zephyr, another kitty returned to me about the same time for what her owner termed OCD. I did that initially by exchanging their bedding, then when Zephyr was not hissing anymore, I brought her into his room and she was afraid of him, lots of hissing and he ran under the bed and hid.

But each day, with a little more time together, the hissing lessened and I let them spend more time together. They were now "roommates" and shared their meals and shared the bed (though not right next to each other yet) and neither cat was acting out with any inappropriate behaviors. So, I was happy with their progress and was willing to try Sunny with the family that fell in love with him on their visit. If, sometime in the next 6 weeks, he shows that he isn't happy with multi-cats, as I will start letting him meet the other cats again, then this family can adopt the little kitten they had their eyes on initially. And as always, if it doesn't work out, I will take Sunny back with open arms.

But about 2 weeks after that, Sunny started spraying, on the bed, by the door and I wasn't sure if he just wanted to be an "only cat" and not have a roommate, or if he was lonely for human companionship after the visitors. So I moved him back into the library room but he continued to spray, so I started him on anxiety medication but it didn't resolve his spraying. I had another family now interested in him, in spite of his continued inappropriate urinating, and they had no other cats, so I thought it would be the next best step for him, but unfortunately the husband got pneumonia which turned in to asthma and their doctor advised against them getting a cat right now.

Then a few weeks ago, a family here who recently had to put their Furrydance Cornish Rex to sleep because of a mediastinal neoplasia (a tumor in the chest) was willing to give him a try. They had no other cats and loved the breed and missed their kitty deeply. Unfortunately within a few days, Sunny was spraying and not using the box again, even though they followed my "introducing a new cat" instructions to the letter, so I took him back in.

I had so hoped he would be happy in his new home (his third--forth, including me) with no other cats around, but it wasn't to be. I did not want him to spend the rest of his life in a room by himself--that is not living but existing. He was fearful with other cats and I already have issues with two of my cats spraying (Disco and Coco), so having him have run of the house here wasn't an option for me either. All the medical tests proved it not to be a medical issue but a behavioral one and he had been on two different anxiety medications and still was spraying.

I made the difficult decision to euthanize him, not wanting him to go from home to home, feeling anxiety with each. He is at rest now, and I think it was the right decision, but still very hard for me to let go of.

But the thankful part of this post is that

1) I got him back each time, so he did not end up dumped in a shelter and put in a home that abused him for his behavior.

and

2) He knew love and affection during the 7 months he was back with me, and that I am grateful for, because I did truly love him and only wanted the best for him.

Fly free, sweet Sunny...

9 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry. I know it must have been incredibly hard for you, but I think you did the right thing.

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  2. that's always a tough decision to make. I'm so sorry, I was really rooting for him.

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  3. What a perfect saying for Sunny Bunny Bear....."Fly free." I am sad and miss you but know you are at peace now.

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  4. Oh gosh, I totally understand - the utmost difficult situation, tortuous. I'm so sorry you all had to go thruogh this. Sending love and prayers.
    OXO
    Allison (Grover, Piggy & Vito's mom)

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  5. We are sad to hear that was the outcome, but we totally understand your feelings. It must have been a terrible decision to have to make. Too bad things couldn't have worked out for him. He's now at the Bridge running and playing with all the furries there, including our dearly departed sisfur, Scooter(RIP)>

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  6. It sounds like you did everything you possibly could for Sunny. I know it must have been such a difficult decision.

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  7. Sweet Sunny was very lucky to have a furriend like you. We're sorry that he had to go to The Bridge.

    Pee Ess: Thank you for the wonderful links concerning Tristan's new health problems. Our Mom can't wait to dig in and read the information!

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  8. This is so sad. Big hugs Teri.
    xoxo

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  9. It is such a hard thing to do but you did give the cat so real good quality of life. We had a manx cat that had a syndrome that kept without any control of her bowels. We loved her and kept her in bathrooms and on tile floored rooms. She eventually got so sick from this condition that we had to put her to sleep also. She lived about six months longer than the normal three months and we were glad for that. We really miss her, but she just didn't need to live in pain at the end.
    I know the pain will be there for quite a while, but you are so kind to help all of the cats of the world.

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