THE SECOND SAVE OF CHRISTMAS: SPECKLE
On July 10th, I got a call asking whether I would take two kittens to foster. They were not related but had been put in one cage because the shelter was so full of kittens. I said yes and went to pick them up.
One was a beautiful, shy, lilac-point Ragdoll mix female with pale blue eyes, whom I called Skylar. The other was a loving seal point snowshoe Siamese mix male with a white spot between his nose and upper lip. He became Speckle, because the white spot made him look as if a white speckle of paint had fallen on his face.
The two kittens were inseparable. They were side by side, always. Then they both got upper respiratory infections. Speckle started showing symptoms first, so my first thought was to separate them so she would not get sick. Never had I heard such loud meowing before! Speckle tipped the water bowl in his cage and dumped the food bowl, while Skylar did exactly the same thing in the other bedroom! In this way they told me they simply would not be separated.
When they were well again, the two kittens went to be altered in preparation for placement in their forever home. I had found a wonderful adopter for the bonded pair. But Speckle came back with watery eyes and in a few days seemed sick again. We went back to the vet to have a basic blood test done, fearing that he might have the dreaded FIP. Fortunately, that test came back negative, but Speckle needed to go back on meds to help him recover. He also needed fluids, so back to the vet he went every few days to make sure his temperature was on its way down to normal. Throughout this ordeal, Speckle was a darling loved by all the vet techs and vets involved with his care. He would purr as they gave him fluids or took blood. He seemed to know we were all trying to help him recover.
Finally the fever subsided, and Speckle was drinking and eating again. On Friday afternoon he even started playing with Skylar and seemed much more his playful self. Then on Sunday afternoon, Speckle uncharacteristically hissed at Skylar and stopped eating. He felt cool to the touch, and when I took his temperature, it was low.
On Saturday morning I went into the kitten room scared that I would find Speckle gone. His temperature was even lower, although he purred when I took it. I held him, and he continued purring as I called the vet. They said bring him in ASAP. Indeed his temperature was dangerously low, so they kept him to observe him and try to warm him up.
At around 4pm the vet called me, saying that Speckle’s breathing was labored and that I should come in. They didn’t think he would survive the night. So I went and stayed with him in one of their exam rooms for about an hour. He purred softly as I held and cuddled him. He knew he was well loved, even if it for a few months. Speckle was euthanized, to end his slow suffering. The vet told me that despite the negative blood test, he felt Speckle had FIP, for which there is no cure.
Rescue can bring much sadness and pain sometimes, but the joy of a kitten like Speckle being loved and sharing his love with others, if even for a short time, is always worth it. He was a little angel that I got to love for a while and will never forget. Speckle knew love in his short life, and sometimes that is all we can give them.
Skylar is healthy and is living with a wonderful family with other cats. I am sure that she will miss Speckle…always.