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2016 Christmas, Special Tails

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  • "Poppy Finds the Right Home"

About Poppy

The Ninth Save of Christmas

As Poppy’s new mom lovingly watches her little fur baby sleep on the bed next to her, she reflects on the challenges Poppy has already overcome and the ones that lie ahead. Among the most difficult for her will be her blindness. Some people say she might be able to see shadows, but there is no way to tell. And a slight weakness in her hips when she sits is the first sign of future troubles: improper breeding of one Scottish Fold with another has left Poppy with what will eventually become severe arthritis and increasing weakness in her hips as she ages.

The accident that blinded Poppy occurred during her spay operation. Whether there was a kink in her oxygen tube or she received too much anesthesia, we don’t know, but she had to be resuscitated, and afterward the vet discovered she was blind. Poppy’s owner did not receive the news well. She no longer wanted Poppy and immediately surrendered her to the vet.

The vet’s office asked a nearby shelter if they could keep the kitten over the July 4th weekend. By coincidence, one of the shelter workers knew a PPCR foster mom who was close by visiting family. The shelter worker called the foster mom, and soon Poppy was in rescue.

At the time it was hoped that Poppy could at least see shadows or bright lights, but as days went by, those hopes began to dim. Furthermore, we were advised that if Poppy had had her sight as a baby and then lost it, it was going to take her much longer to adjust than if she had been born blind. Experts said up to six months, maybe longer.

This situation led to many challenges for fostering. Changes in environment can be problematic, especially for blind kitties. And without being nose-trained to a litter box, Poppy was having difficulties using it properly. Learning her way the house was going pretty well, but it was in Poppy’s best interests to be adopted quickly so as not to have to have mastered the layout of one home, only to be transplanted to another.

More challenges. Poppy had her own room with litter box, toys, puppy pads, and so on, but even that was too big for her initially. Plus, she wasn’t drinking, because she couldn’t find the water dish; fortunately, a fountain type water bowl solved that problem quickly.

In rescue, we seem to learn something new from every cat we take in. Often Poppy’s foster parents would hear a little bump and find Poppy at the corner of a wall, lost and mewing plaintively. It might seem natural, when a kitten is scared, for a human to want to pick the kitten up, but not being able to see, Poppy would get quite distraught when picked up. Foster mom realized being picked up wasn’t in the cards for Poppy. Blind kitties need their feet on the ground to feel even the slightest bit safe.

Finding the right adopter for a special needs cat is never easy, but it turned out that the foster moms vet has a daughter who adores Scottish Folds. Better yet, it didn’t matter in the slightest to the daughter that Poppy was blind and would eventually develop arthritis. She visited Poppy with her dad, the vet, and they both fell in love immediately. Soon Poppy was on her way to a new life.

It is a great comfort to know that Poppy is now with someone who adores her, and that she will have the best possible medical care for the rest of her life. Before she gets too old, she will probably need pain meds and anti-arthritic medication. But in the meantime, she has other adjustments to make. For example, she has to learn to share her home with another Scottish Fold cat, an adult cat she is slowly learning is not her enemy.

It will take a lifetime of effort for Poppy to be safe and happy, but her new mom is up to the task. Slow and steady observations are making a difference, helping Poppy past the confusion of being blind. She still gets lost in her new home, so when mom is away, Poppy is kept either in a playpen or a bathroom. She doesn’t mind small spaces and loves to sleep among her stuffed animal friends. At night she sleeps on her foster mom’s bed, where she is learning to cuddle at night, and recently she had her first bath. To everyone’s delight, Poppy is settling quickly into her perfect home.

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