Extra Love Needed: Meet Easter the Extraordinarily Optimistic Kitten
Easter was named after a Tori Amos song that I hold dear.
Her story is as follows:
This is Easter. She is 6 mths old and has had a very tough start. Her mom was dumped with some other cats in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia where they went to live in a lady’s yard. The lady spayed and neutered all of them but two had kittens while this was happening. Easter is one of those kittens. She snuck off when she was very young with a sibling and didn’t come back for a long time. When she returned to the barn she had a very bad eye infection. The lady was unable to pay for the surgery she needed and didn’t have anywhere to keep her inside for recovery and feared she would need a life as an inside cat so I stepped in to help. I am active in animal rescue/rehab and work with the Wythe-Bland Animal Welfare League in SW Virginia and have 3 dogs, 12 indoor cats, 1 elderly chinchilla, 14 chickens and 5 alpacas on my farm. We raised money for her eye surgery in a day or two and she was taken in immediately to a local vet who will remain unnamed but did a very poor quality job on her enucleation. In fact, she didn’t remove the eye at all but simply sewed it shut which trapped the harmful bacteria and infection inside. The vet swore that the eye had been removed by her personally and was very upset that I tookEaster to my personal vet for a follow up 2 days after the supposed surgery. She was not sent home with antibiotics or pain medication. When she came to me that first day her face was covered in matted blood, she was violently shaking and could barely see at all. I thought she was going to die but she just purred so much when I held her. Her eye socket was filled with horrible bacteria and would not have healed if not reopened, drained and cleaned. She had 3 surgeries before Virginia Tech finally found her eye deep within her face and removed it. The vet has been turned in to the VA State Vet Board and I am currently seeking legal assistance. No animal should ever suffer like that.
She came to live with me the day of her surgery and we have fallen in love. She came down with a very serious stomach problem in the end of January and was on her way out of this life when I decided to take her from my vet’s office and take her to the Virginia-Maryland Vet School on the Virginia Tech Campus in Blacksburg, VA. The Sunday that she became extremely ill and I was sure she would die happened to also be the day my Dad died two years ago from a month long battle with stage 4 cancer. It was a hard day. I couldn’t let her die too. On the way there I thought she had died several times and would tap her to make sure she was ok. She crawled on her belly out of her box and laid her head on my hand while I was driving and purred. The Virginia Tech School is absolutely amazing and expensive. We raised enough money to cover her stay in the ICU for two days. While the doctors were admitting her to the ICU and assessing her condition she found the energy to launch from the counter and onto my chest where she would then climb me like a tree and snuggle with my face while purring. She had extreme symptoms of parvo but never tested positive for it or anything else. Feline parvo isn’t easily diagnosed and to date there are no accurate tests. Her brothers and sisters are all in good health and all of my cats are vaccinated and in good health so it is assumed that she caught a nasty virus from the unnamed vet she went to for the enucleation. The vet is known for it’s horribly unsanitary conditions. If it was parvo, we all got very lucky and it has not spread to anyone else here and since she survived it she can never get it again. That’s IF she had parvo. She did have internal bleeding and some very serious issues from being so dehydrated. She never gave up and neither did I.
She has been very slowly recovering from her awful diarrhea and has put on some weight though she is still under 5 lbs and thin. She went back to Virginia Tech to have her 2 week checkup and her eye was still not healed from the first surgery at the unnamed vet so they decided it was time to reopen it and get it done right. I took her back to Virginia Tech a few days later for her surgery (after getting a foot and a half of snow) and she did great. She was immediately happy and ready to play after the surgery. About a week went by and I noticed her eye socket looked a little puffy and she seemed sad. I rushed her back to Virginia Tech that day and they did a ultrasound on her eye socket, found infection, drained it and put in an umbilical string so I could continue to drain it at home. They had also done a culture on her eye bacteria and ear bacteria when they had her sedated for the second enucleation. The bacteria in her eye socket is a very resistant bacteria, pseudomonas. It is from having so much bacteria in her eye socket because it was not done properly the first time and from being on so many antibiotics. The antibiotics allowed only the strongest bacteria to survive which turned them into a super strong, resistant bacteria. The antibiotic used to treat this strain of super bacteria is very dangerous for kittens and can harm the cartridge in their bones thus stunting their growth. It can also cause the retina to separate causing blindness. It’s the only shot we had though so we did it and didn’t look back. Her final eye surgery came after the swelling came back after her drain was removed. I was so sad for her. Virginia Tech actually found her eye deep within her face in that final surgery confirming my deepest fear that her eye was still there and the awful vet never even removed it. Since then she has slowly healed and is finally in good shape. She has some trouble with her eye that’s left but she’s alive. So far, so good. I’m not sure if she’s better or if we’re just waiting for another problem to surface. Easter turned 6 months old on 4/20 and we went out in her stroller to a park to celebrate. She walks on a harness and loves car rides. She has been playing like crazy and wants me to carry her everywhere. If I choose to ignore that, she has no problem racing up my leg and onto my shoulder. She is a true fighter and no matter what awful things she’s gone through she’s never stopped purring. That’s her story so far. She’s such an inspiration to me.
How did you get involved with rescuing/rehabbing animals?
She liked l of the other cats I have and instantly bonded with an x-feral cat a few months older than she is named Simon SpaghettiO.
How long did it take for her to walk on a leash?
She figured the leash out pretty fast but it is still a work in progress.
Has she met the alpacas?
She’s met the alpacas and is freaked out by their weirdness. Most everyone is though.
How did you get involved with rescuing/rehabbing animals?
I have always rescued animals. It’s the way I was raised. I’ve never actually had my own rescue but I’ve always taken in and cared for any animal that needed it. I’ve rehabbed, cats, dogs, opossums, rabbits, chinchillas, alpacas, chickens, frogs, lizards, birds, praying mantises, and I’m probably forgetting a few. It gives my life meaning.
What is a typical day like for Easter?
A typical day for Easter is to wake up at 5, wash my face, play with her Mardi Gras beads and the qtips, eat breakfast, take all of the cat litter out if the litter box, play in it, race up the curtains, play with Simon, sleep, eat again, go run errands with me or go outside on her leash or in her stroller, watch tv, try to get Smiley O’Meowy to wash her, fight with Simon, harass whatever rescue I have in the quarantine room, play with Simon some more, go to bed with me and insist I play fetch with the beads, play catch with her ball, practice jumping, take everything off my table and go to sleep wrapped around my head like a hat. 🙂 longest run on sentence ever?
What would you like to say to others who are considering taking in a pet that needs extra love and care?
Everyone should have at least one cat. They are wonderful companions. Taking in a special needs animal provides a destination for your life. It sets the time for what you can do if you put your mind to it. Always make sure you know what you’re getting into, do your research and have a good vet on hand. Anyone is capable of helping an animal in need. I wish more people would help homeless cats. Spaying and neutering your animals is so important. Also, always make sure your cats are tested for felv/FIV and given the appropriate vaccines. I cannot stress that enough. Anytime you notice your animal friend acting differently, be aware and watch for signs that something is wrong. Cats are great at hiding illness and pain.
Is there anything else would you like to say about yourself or your family?
Also, we still have a donation site to help with her expenses and the ongoing cat rescue effort that I am part of in this community that does not support cat rescue. I am privately TNR’ing cats, transporting them to and back from the clinic, getting them tested, giving them homes or releasing them. It’s expensive. I operate my own etsy farm store, eBay store, have a pet sitting business Katie’s Critter Sitting and work with a rescue friend who owns A Dog’s World Day Spa in Wytheville, VA. I am an active member of the Wythe-Bland Animal Welfare League.