[personal profile] sugarplumkitty
I think the people at the animal shelter think we walk on water. Last night I got a phone call that Freeway Miracle, a 17 year old cat we gave away to a friend 15 years ago had been found abandoned and starving by a Cable guy and was brought in.

Her name explains where I found her. She was sleeping on the center divider of a freeway at rush hour one morning. I couldn't leave her there so I took the next exit and came back on the emptier side to snatch her from the divider and put her in my car. The only reason we hadn't kept her was that she hates other cats and had started a marking campaign to exert her dominance that ruined our house. We tried to get her to adjust for 7 months. When she peed in Eric's Christmas candy, that was it. We've never been able to stop the marking since. Our house is ruined.

So Sarah took her. She wanted a cat, she said. As an only cat, Freeway didn't spray. She was perfect other than breaking out of windows to beat up cats she saw outside. Then Sarah married. Freeway looked happy with a new "Dad" and "step-brother". Then Sarah had two baby boys a couple of years apart. Freeway loved toddlers. I figured it was a perfect situation for her.

I didn't hear anything more from Sarah. The Christmas cards stopped. Mine to her were returned because they moved. Then around the time my dad died, I got an email asking if I could find another home for Freeway because they weren't home much. It was a bad time for me. I couldn't help and told her so. I never heard anything more from her.

Then last night came the call that Freeway Miracle was at the animal shelter. Her microchip registration had two disconnected numbers from another person and us listed. Only one of our numbers was still good. She'd been found by a cat-friendly cable guy. Good thing he didn't try to take her home. He has three cats at home. That would have been bad. Wendy, the lady who called said she was old and so weak that they'd put her in the hospital to hydrate her but the vet noted that she was alert and active. She wasn't going to last long at the shelter. They don't put old, fragile animals up for adoption. She had 10 days and then she'd be euthanized. Eric agreed we couldn't let that happen. We had to come up with a solution and before Freeway caught anything from the other cats at the shelter. He said he never liked Sarah. He didn't trust her judgement. There were things I didn't like about her by the time we drifted apart but I never thought she'd be careless with the life of an animal.

I told Wendy someone would be there the next day to get her. She was delighted.

I tried to find my email address for Sarah. It wasn't on my computer or the online address book of my provider. I found her online. I sent a message on facebook and left a voice mail. There has been no response.

My friend, [livejournal.com profile] finickynarcane thought she might be able to take her but realized she really can't fit an animal into her life right now. She is overwhelmed with life as it is. I know the feeling. It's why I'm hardly here anymore. I still love you all, I just had to cut back on things somewhere to manage my stress better.

We pretty much had a choice of locking her in one room in our house for a while until we found a forever home or maybe my mom would let her stay temporarily if I came by to clean the litter box and took care of vet visits. My mom agreed! I scrubbed and sterilized a litter box, packed some food and Eric carried an unopened bag of litter out to the car.

The shelter people asked how long it had been since we'd had Freeway. They were shocked when I said 15 years. I burst into tears and said I never would have given her to the person I did if I'd known she'd end up in the shelter like this. We bailed her out with all the fees and cost of a rabies shot coming to $61. From adding things up on their posted fees, I think they gave us a discount. It should have been more than $80.

Everyone involved did a double-take when they were told what was happening and how long ago we'd had Freeway. They all said she was special and very sweet. Yes, we said, as long as she's an only cat. They were amazed people from so far in her past would step up to take responsibility for her. I risked my life for her all those years ago, how could we not rescue her from this?

We got her to my mom's only to find she'd pooped in the box. She calmly let me wash off the areas that had touched the poop, kneading my arm and purring while I did it. She only weighs 4 pounds. She's nothing but skin and bones, poor thing! Her skin is broken out from flea allergy. She used the litter box right away then ate some of the canned food we brought. She huddled on the kitchen rug by the sink, nibbling a little wet food and having long drinks of water for a long while.

As we stood there watching her, I assured my mom that I would keep looking for a permanent home for Freeway if Sarah didn't want her back. Mom said she had actually been wanting to have a cat and had decided if a cat came her way she'd accept it. She actually looked grateful. She says an elderly cat is perfect because she won't worry about the cat outliving her. YAY! Freeway has a permanent home if Sarah doesn't want her back. I doubt Sarah wants her back. We don't want Sarah to get her back after the way she was found.

After a while Freeway was ready to wander the house a little. My mom held her and sat in her recliner. Freeway didn't look comfortable. She kept staring at Eric. She tried to find a comfortable spot then wanted down. She wanted me to hold her. Then she wanted Eric to hold her. She wandered the room and lay down on the brick hearth.

We left to run our errands and pick up a few groceries for my mom. When I popped in with her things, Mom said Freeway had a little more to eat and then disappeared. She's probably exhausted from all the changes and found a quiet place to sleep.

Tomorrow is the baby shower for my nephew Mike and his wife Katie. When I get back, I'll go shopping to get a scoop for the litter box and smaller cans of food. Then I can pop in to see how things are going. I'll take a flea treatment from our supply. They don't treat for fleas at the shelter.

When we got home, I sent Sarah another message on facebook letting her know Freeway had a permanent home with my mom and asked if she could help us get vet records.

Date: 2010-02-21 07:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chaquir.livejournal.com
what a sad story this is about freeway. But i'm glad she can live with your mom now and will be happy there. I hope her last years will be happy ones and content ones.
My goodness.. what a life that cat has had..

Date: 2010-02-21 08:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sugarplumkitty.livejournal.com
It's a sad story with a happy ending. She will be pampered and cared for as she should have been all these years.

Date: 2010-02-21 08:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chaquir.livejournal.com
aaaaaaaaaaaaaw that's nice to know. :o)

Date: 2010-02-21 12:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gladtobehere.livejournal.com
wonderful story!

i love people with BIG hearts.

Date: 2010-02-21 03:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sugarplumkitty.livejournal.com
I keep bursting into tears thinking about what the poor kitty has been through. She deserves to have love and comfort for her final months or years. I'm such a sucker for a cat in need. ;)

Date: 2010-02-21 04:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] finickynarcane.livejournal.com
I'm kinda concerned about those long drinks of water.

Date: 2010-02-21 04:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sugarplumkitty.livejournal.com
I know. Me too. They said she was dehydrated. Mom knows the signs of diabetes. Kidney problems are typical of old cats, too. She's going to let Freeway settle in for a few days and let me try to get vet records from Sarah before she rushes her to the vet. Poor kitty is probably having trouble with all the excitement.

Date: 2010-03-03 04:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yeoww.livejournal.com
Is that the same Sarah we both knew?

Date: 2010-03-03 03:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sugarplumkitty.livejournal.com
Yes. She did respond the next day and had the new owner call me as well.

She had contacted me in the middle of my mom's lung cancer aftermath over two years ago wanting me to find a new home for Freeway because "we aren't home enough." I find that hard to believe with two elementary school-aged boys but in any case, I didn't have the energy or resources to help her. Instead, she gave Freeway to a guy who had never had a cat before with the instructions to give her 1/4 cup of dry IAMs food daily. So that's what he did. Then he fell in love a couple of months ago with a girl who is allergic to cats, so she'd been alone in his apartment except for daily visits to feed her. She stopped eating so he gave her a free-feeder with lots of food not to eat. She was slipping outside every time he came home for a few minutes and then, five days before the phone call from the animal shelter, she "ran away."

He never once took her to the vet while he had her. He never treated her for fleas. He had no clue why her fur was falling out or what the black specks were and apparently didn't care enough to ask anyone. She was crusty with flea allergy scabs and flea droppings all over her body.

He was hoping we had a new home for her. Yeah, like we'd give her back to him.

The vet said the fleas sucked the life out of her and didn't help her aging kidneys at all. When we saw the vet records from Sarah, there was one visit about the time of the ownership transfer. She had never taken Freeway to the vet for checkups or rabies vaccinations either. I feel so betrayed by this. I thought she was a responsible person.



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