If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk in my garden forever
- Lord Alfred Tennyson
On the way home from my fiance's parents house August 11th of 2005, we passed a house where every summer we see signs advertising "Kittens 4 Free." Ahead of us there was something white in the middle of the road, it looked like a grocery bag until we got closer. By the time I realized what it was, I was forced to watch as the car in front of me almost hit the tiny kitten. The car was so close that the baby was spun in a circle from the wind rushing by the tires. I hit my brakes and pulled of the road but before I could get out of my car I a truck that had been behind me drove right OVER her, not even swerving to miss her. I ran out to get her as soon as the truck was gone and without hesitation picked her up and carried her back to the car. She had a serious head tilt and seemed to be in shock. She was obviously sick, but spunky enough to hiss at me! She had eliminated and urinated on herself from fright and I was afraid that the worst was happening and she was dying. She was SO scared and shocked when I got her off the road that she laid limply on a towel in my fiance's lap in the passenger seat and panted as though it was the only thing her body could do. I cleaned her up a bit as soon as we got her back and tried to get some water into her when she came out of her disembodied state. Something told me that she would make it, and I refused to give up on her. I promised her that she would be safe. We named her Sunday. It was the day she was found, the beginning of the week and the beginning of her new life.
I cried for your cat today.
Sick, scared, she was lost and alone.
You probably won't even know that she's gone.
I saw your cat fear for her life today
Caught on the yellow lines with cars on both sides
Spinning and limping with fear in her eyes.
I gave your cat a second chance today,
I caught her and held her against my chest,
Fed her, cleaned her, and gave her meds.
I saved your cat's life today.
From "Kittens 4 Free" on a sign at your drive
To sick and afraid and lucky to survive
I saved your cat's life today.
Having a limited budget and little time, we had to make a decision to make her better. We couldn't afford an emergency vet trip but could not let her suffer. We took her to the shelter to get her on medication, FeLV checked, dewormed, and then vaccinated (against my better judgement). We had to let the shelter sign her in as their pet to get the stuff but we took her back out as a foster- honestly, it was our goal to never let her return anyway. She could be adopted from the shelter but she should never have to live in a cage. We paid for all further vet care while she was with us. After a week on the Clavamox she seemed to improve dramatically. We were feeding her milk replacer and kitten food in canned and kibble form with Pedialyte and as much fresh water as she'd drink. It seemed to do the job and she was so well that when her two weeks on antibiotics were over we began introducing her to our cats. However, just two short weeks later she relapsed and was taken to the vet. More meds and 'round-the-clock snot-wiping and she seemed to improve within another week. We kept her on antibiotics until the prescription ran out, and she looked better than ever. She quickly became a favorite of the other animals- partly because of her "never take no for an answer" attitude toward cuddling. She found a playmate in Weasley, a protector in Girlfriend, and a best friend in Jonas (pictured above, gray and white.)
She was not able to enjoy her good health for long, however: a couple weeks down the road and she developed swollen lymph nodes and another infection just one day before she was to attend an adoption event to try and find a home for her. After medicating that and getting the glands under control, she finally went up for adoption. No one seemed interested in her until we attended the Pittsburgh Pet Expo as volunteers for another rescue group. We almost found one home for her with a vendor who was next to our booth. It was not meant to be, however, and the woman adopted a different cat.
In the meantime, Sunnie became a total cat's cat- she wanted to hang out with the rest of the gang and wanted no part of human activity- people meant medicine! She stayed healthy for a long while, entertaining us with her kitten antics and sometimes gracing us with her cuddles. She became ill again suddenly late one night and though we stayed up all night trying to nurse her back to health and got her to the vet as soon as we could, she didn't make it:
Thursday, December 15th, 2005
This morning around 8:20am, our little "foster" kitty Sunnie who we found on the road almost hit by several cars, arrived at the Bridge to join Lady, Puma, and the others who are already waiting together there. She was very, very sick, my vet thinks she had a fused liver and probably wouldn't have survived with more treatment, but she died even before he got to see her- we were on our way. He assures me it was congenital and kept her sickly even on her healthiest days, and that all we did was provide a warm home and love that she had never felt before. Dr. F had made an appointment for us to bring her to the animal shelter where he is performing surgeries today, which is the shelter where I took her the day after we found her to check her in, and foster her back out. Ross took her body to see the vet, and asked to sign an adoption contract to make her officially ours. They agreed to this, as well as a private cremation for her, at no charge. She will be cremated with the cardboard carrier and towel she spent the night in, all her favorite toys (and a new one to prevent boredom), her BEST FRIEND Jonas's collar, and all the love I could fit into it.
All the animals here are quiet and respectful and I've asked Puma to take good care of her when she gets to where she's going. I've been awake and crying since 10pm last night almost non-stop, and wondering how only a few months together could bring so much pain at her illness and loss.
Goodbye, Sunday "Sunnie" Collins-Johnson, I hope you're already on your feet again. We love you, the tenth member of the Feline Nine.
There are balls of yarn in Heaven
Oh, how I love it so!
And catnip mice and kitty pillows
Just like the ones I had below.
Don’t consider it a loss
For I am no longer weak.
I can run and play all day
And still watch you while you sleep.
I’m not sick in Heaven,
So don’t worry about me
I’m better off up here because
I have been set free…
…to play with balls of yarn in Heaven.
I wish you were here, too,
But until we meet again
I send my love to you.
Poems and photos copyright 2005 Crystal Collins. No reproducing, please. Have respect. Thank you.