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Dear PAWS,
This past September, 2008
, a little stray cat appeared on my doorstep. He was literally starving to death and the stench that came from him told me that he was terribly ill. He was frightened and hungry, but allowed me to immediately start feeding him. I knew I had to get him to my Vet if there was going to be any chance of saving him. A friend and I captured him, though one could hardly call it a capture. It was more of a concession of a tired little soul. We crated him in soft bedding for the night and he hardly moved. I was afraid he wouldn’t survive until morning.

I checked on him throughout the night and though motionless, he was still breathing. Early in the morning, I though that life was just about over for this little guy. I pulled his limp body from the crate, wrapped him in a towel and held him close. He found comfort in my arms, and his eyes were fixed on a hummingbird feeder above us. Perhaps those two things were instrumental in his “hanging on”.

The Vet took on look at him and said, “This is about the most emaciated cat I have ever seen; he is really going to have to WANT to live.” Doc gave him a shot of penicillin and another to break his fever. He sent me home with kitten food (for added protein and fast weight gain) and a bottle of antibiotics but very little hope that I would be able to pull this little fellow through.

I fed him all he wanted, gave him his medication 3 times a day and loved him. I named him “Ewa”, meaning “life or “to live” in Hawaiian. I knew he would not just surrender to death. Ewa improved quickly. He was loving and social, Ewa enjoyed my dogs and sitting with me at the pond watching the fish. He tripled in weight in just 3 months and was learning how to play. He was ready to go in for neutering and vaccinations.

At the clinic, Ewa held onto me like a scared child; he curled in my arms and hid his head under my chin. I had him all snuggled in his favorite bed and wrapped in his favorite blanket. Before I let him go for his day of surgery, I made sure he knew just how much I loved him; he lied quietly and content in my arms trusting me completely and purring at full speed. I handed him to the Vet.

Before surgery, Ewa was tested for feline leukemia and unfortunately, he tested EXTREMELY positive, with very high titers of the virus. Feline leukemia is always fatal and he was already showing signs that the Vet could target. Ewa's days ahead would only mean agony for him. This virus is extremely contagious for other cats, and so, I was faced with making a very difficult decision. I asked that they wait for me to get back to the clinic so I could hold him. Ewa was euthanized and died peacefully in my arms.

My heart just aches with this loss but there is a bigger ache about the carelessness in not taking responsibility for these treasured gifts from God. This was a cat so endearing that even the Vet was especially moved and said, “Ewa is so special and so handsome, ‘this hurts’”.

Roxanne Smyth





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