While the cats were at the SPCA clinic, one of the workers there had liked Carsy and thought he would be perfect for her friend, who had been looking for an orange tabby. So before they were even out of the cages, she came and collected Carsy, leaving Calico Lady Momma, Ballsy, Moe, and fatso Black and White Kitten in our outside, spayed, neutered and flea-treatmented family.
With two of the four kittens gone, the remaining cats seems to bond more than ever. Ballsy and Mo became inseparable.
Now that the cats had been fixed, we hoped to get the babies adopted quickly. I made them a new scratching post and they enjoyed playing with that. We took more pictures and posted them everywhere we could think of. We had some interest, but only for one cat. We’d decided that once they got so close breaking them up would be cruel
We knew that Momma and Genius Cat were highly unlikely to make good inside cats.
and frankly we doubted we’d ever find a home for Black and White Kitten either. He was so pretty that even the tech at the SPCA had exclaimed “Oh wow he’s quite a beauty” when we took off the cage cover, but he was not snuggly. He would get close when food was offered and if thoroughly engaged in the food would tolerate a brief pet on the head, but as soon as he realized what was happening he would look up with an expression that said, “Why’d ya have to go and do that?” and retreat a few feet away.
And so, the Cat Condo came into being. Formerly a heavy solid wood bureau and a discarded door, Joe repurposed it into a nice, snug home.
Genius Cat and Momma took to it more as a lounging perch than a place to sleep.
But they had it as an option, and with the completion of the Cat Condo and the TNR project, we still needed to get the kittens adopted but for the moment we could switch our attention back to BooBoo and his eye.
The vet at the SPCA had confirmed that BooBoo wasn’t currently in pain but said the eye needed to come out and soon, because the eyeball was ruptured and if the rupture burst, then BooBoo would be in pain and in need of surgical intervention immediately. For the moment he was a happy exploring kitten.
Some time in here this becomes a story about falling in love.
A night away from home had given Boo plenty of time to think about all the things he liked at home and apparently I was one of them. Boo discovered that he liked to climb on me and snuggle himself right under my chin, and I discovered that mostly I didn’t sneeze when he did. That wasn’t really a strong-enough sign of health to justify keeping him though. I’ve had allergy-triggered asthma my whole life, but I only started needing daily medication after a bad flu last winter and still hoped that I would eventually recover. Having a cat in the house certainly wasn’t a step in the direction of not setting off my asthma. But it was growing harder and harder to imagine giving him up. I wasn’t sure we were going to ever let him go to another home, but we were sure that we needed to find him medical care.
The folder of Information from the TNR training contained a list of veterinarians that they claimed would offer low cost care but when we called them each one said they didn’t actually provide care to stray cats. One did offer to do the surgery at a discount but that would have been $500 and that was $500 we did not have.
Boo came home from the SPCA his regular bouncy self, but started to deteriorate soon after. It was sweet that he was so snuggly with me but it also started to seem like he just didn’t feel very good and by the next day it was clear that his eye was hurting him when before it hadn’t.
Not to go to deep into my finances but suffice to say we had no money, a sick cat, and no options. Finally I called the last vet on the list and may have kind of had a bit of a breakdown on the phone. A few minutes after I hung up the phone in tears, the man I’d just been crying to called me back and explained that there was a difference between the SPCA, where the spaying and neutering had happened, and the ASPCA in Manhattan on 92nd Street. The ASPCA, he said, might be able to help.
He came home on a Wednesday. We found out about the existence ASPCA on Thursday evening. I called the ASPCA the next morning and they explained they had a process where a pet parent could apply for a Veterinary Care Credit Card and in the event that we were turned down for the VCCC they would provide the care needed on a sliding scale. Another great thing about the ASPCA was that the clinic was walk-in and they could see BooBoo as soon as we brought him in. Friday morning, Joe was going to wrap up a few things and take BooBoo to the vet shortly when all of a sudden BooBoo squealed in a new and different way and a torrent of liquid gushed from his eye.
Joe was downstairs in the office. “Joe, I think it’s time to go to the vet now,” I said.
He came upstairs, saw what had happened and immediately packed BooBoo into his carrier and headed to the ASPCA.
On the train, BooBoo was a celebrity. Everyone wanted to ask about the kitten in the carrier and find out what had happened to his eye.
Of course, among those people was a very intoxicated young woman who insisted that Joe was doing the wrong thing by getting BooBoo fixed. “You can get good money for a kitten,” she said.
“A fancy purebred kitten, sure,” Joe replied, “but not this kind of kitten.”
“No,” she insisted, “you don’t know who I know. I can get good money for a kitten.”
Joe knows when to stop arguing with drunk women on the subway and let her believe she’d convinced him that you can, in fact, get good money for a kitten. (You can’t.)
Arriving at the ASPCA , he filled out the forms for the VCCC. Unsurprisingly, his credit for the many thousands of dollars procedure was declined. The person in charge of charity at the ASPCA said that Joe was going to have to pay something for the care of BooBoo or was gong to have to surrender the cat. “We don’t treat stray cats for free,” she said.
“I don’t want to, but the cat has to get treated. I’ll give him up if I have to,” Joe said, in truth near tears at the prospect of giving up the cat but there was no choice, the cat had to get medical care and we just didn’t have the money. Before they could resolve what the solution was going to be the vet was ready to see BooBoo.
Joe put the carrier on the steel examining table. He stood several feet away from the table when the vet opened the carrier. BooBoo squirmed out of her hands and flew through the air to land on Joe’s shoulder and bury himself under Joe’s hoodie.
“Wow, this kitten really loves you,” the vet said, peeling BooBoo from his perch while he mewed and squirmed. “We can’t separate you from this kitten. We’ll treat the kitten for free.”
“Thank you,” Joe said huskily, He’s really not a big crier, but he was really glad to hear they were going to let him take BooBoo home.
The vet examined booBoo’s eye and determined that it was going to have to come out.
The doctor spoke to the woman in charge of charity care, who protested loudly about treating BooBoo for free, but the doctor prevailed.
The doctor made an appointment for BooBoo to come back the next Thursday and in the meantime she sent Joe home with antibiotics and painkillers.
It was back to the Kitten Burrito. And while we weren’t admitting it publicly, there was little chance Boo was leaving us, ever.