THE BAKERS DOZEN SAVE OF CHRISTMAS: CLEMENTINE AKA TINY
One of the kitties that has stolen everyone’s heart this year is Clementine, otherwise known as Tiny. Her story is still unfolding…
At the time the shelter took her from her owners she was 22 pounds 8 ounces and she had been so matted she could hardly move. When she was shaved down it was found she had maggots in her skin. The shelter could not adopt her out or keep so they her sent Purebreds Plus a little video of her. Could we help her? She, a roly-poly ball of a cat, was so appealing that one of our foster moms immediately drove 3 1/2 hours to get her. My goodness she was fat and yes, cute. Her correct weight we now think is about 10 or 11 pounds so she was more than 100% over her normal weight
Our tubby little girl had three body positions: mostly she leaned against things. She liked to lay on her back and loved to stretch out her hind legs,and she walked very slowly with stiff legs. Sometimes she sat, sort of sidesaddle, in a little pyramid in danger of rolling over. We put her on the dryer where she was up where we could cuddle her while we did the laundry but we could not leave her for a minute for fear she would literally roll off onto the floor. She had no muscle tone could not roll from side to side or jump or climb. She lay down on the floor to eat. We encouraged her to walk, gave her weight loss food, and gained muscles ourselves carrying her around. She loved attention and would glow up at us. Tiny knew if she stretched out at our feet and looked straight at us we would stop what we were doing to smile down at her with loving attention. So she did that a lot. She offers her tummy to us to pet and waves her feet in the air. She loves attention from humans.
Her blood panel had been done and all her values were perfect. Moreover, Tiny’s personality was sweet despite her tragic history. When we got to x-rays we found she had suffered more than just emotional, food and grooming abuse. The radiologist who read them said “Look at the unusual trauma to her neck and ribcage.” She had a crushed disc and healed rib fractures on both sides of her spine. He said he thought she has been hit or kicked at least several times. We cringed at the thought. It is so impossible to imagine this for any living creature much less this smart adorable girl. She deserved a guardian angel and a real second chance. We were it and were thrilled to have her!
Tiny flourished, winning friendship from all who met her. Partly it is her goofy Maine Coon heritage. Maine Coons are known for being characters and she is a character and a half. She has a way of looking straight into the camera, or right into your heart. People tell us she should be a calendar cat, a TV character, or even a cartoon kitty. She would be up to it. She has gotten down to just under 17 pounds which has made a huge difference for her mobility, though she still walks stiff-legged. She can now jump up on a sofa and chase a feather. We decided it was time and posted her for adoption. One of her friends started taking her for walks outside and this became her favorite treat. The birds below our feeders started out (literally) chirping at her in mockery. How she wanted to get to them! Now they respect her agility and fly up in alarm when she comes near. She loves that immensely.
Tiny was finally posted on our website for adoption, she was continuing to lose weight, becoming more active and stealing the heart of everyone who met her – and then trouble returned to her life.
Two weeks ago her foster mom felt two little BB size bumps by one of Tiny’s nipples. Thank goodness she loves tummy rubs! Tiny was immediately brought to the vet to have them removed. The two little nodules and the nipple were sent to the lab for testing. Uh oh…we held our breath for the results! Bad news — it was cancer, mammary cancer.
Everyone knows of someone who has had their life touched by cancer….right now, for all of us at PPCR, it is Tiny. Only one in 4000 cats get breast cancer, the third most common tumors in cats. Why Tiny, this triumphant little survivor? It seems so unfair. Tiny’s history shows she can be resilient, patient and tough. She will need to use those skills again and give up one more of her 9 lives to free herself from this.
We immediately went to see a feline oncologist. She said “How fortunate this problem has been found so early.” The lab report said “well confined nodule” with no evidence of spreading into the surrounding tissues. We began to breath. We had to be clear so we asked “Has a cat that is caught early like this ever survived breast cancer?” The doctor answered very positively. “Yes” she said “I’ve seen cats with early treatment become cancer free.” So we asked “Tell us what we need to do.”
Tiny needs two surgeries to remove her mammary glands, the associated lymph nodes, ducts and connective tissue. She will eventually need a round of chemo, however right now we are focusing on getting through the surgeries. We are helping her to be triumphant one more time and then maybe…just maybe life will let her live the rest of her life with no trouble. She is only about 6 1/2, we want to do everything we can to ensure she has many happy years to come.
We have an excellent surgeon who has done this surgery before and we feel confident it is the right thing to do. The surgeon feels Tiny is in excellent health for the surgery and we are hoping that the positive prognosis continues as we move forward with the treatment. Tiny’s age, excellent general health, early detection and the small size of the tumors all indicate a high probability of a positive outcome.
We at PPCR pride ourselves on being positive. Yes, there are animals that arrive that are elderly, sick or injured, but for the most part, even if this is the case, we immediately look at the positive – the fact the animal ended up in our care and there is no better group to give him, or her, a second chance. If there is a challenge, we face it head on to make things right. We pride ourselves on providing the best care possible when the prognosis is good. But sometimes, we need to ask for help. Sometimes, it takes a village to save a life, and with Tiny, we need to ask for that help from you, our compassionate supporters, who are always there for us in time of need.
Tis the season of hope, faith and love and we know miracles can and do happen — we see them throughout the year in rescue. We are focusing on the simple fact that we need your support to make a difference for Tiny. We’ve come a long way with this little girl already and with such a positive prognosis we cannot give up on her. We will provide updates as we progress with this little girl via our special emails, website updates and Facebook postings.
The estimated cost for the two surgeries, along with lab work and medications will be about $5,500. Please support our efforts to save this very special girl. She needs us and we need you to move forward. We need your help to save Tiny and give her that second chance she so richly deserves. Can you find it in your heart to help this sweet girl so she can enjoy her remaining lives in comfort and love?