Happy near-autumn, dear ones.
It’s been a month of musing on the meaning of friendship. Befriending feral cats can be a delicate matter. We communicate our love not so much through snuggles as through stability, less through hugs and kisses than through daily bread. Free-roaming, “true feral” cats don’t want our hands all over them; they need our lives all entwined with theirs, devoted to their care, over the long haul.
It was that kind of covenant friendship — “I will be here for you, in the ways you need me, come what may” — that saved Tinora this month.
Long-legged and lovely, pastel tortie Tinora first tumbled into our lives in 2014. As a member of a feral colony, Tinora was trapped, spayed and returned to her happy, well-monitored outdoor life. We made the same promise to Tinora that we do to every cat in our TNR program: if you should become sick, or frail, or need our care in any way, at any time in the years to come, we’ll be here.
And oh, how Tinora needed us this August.
One morning, something went terribly wrong with the little tortie. Tinora was unable to move, exhibiting dire neurological symptoms, and dreadfully cold. The colony caretakers rushed her to the vet and contacted us immediately.
There was no immediately apparent cause for Tinora’s troubles, but our strongest hypothesis was infectious disease. Our vet team began treating her for this aggressively. As we collectively began to fall in love with the frail feline, Senior Vet Tech Denise warned us: if Tinora’s terrible symptoms didn’t improve in 24 hours, we’d have to gently end her suffering.
But a lot can happen in 24 hours, and Tinora’s tide began turning.Although Tinora was unable to eat alone, she gobbled up goodies that Denise syringe-fed her. In a few days, she began to lift her head, and then move her front feet. Her back hind foot stubbornly curled under, but Tinora had motion in her right hind leg. If we held her back legs for her, she’d eagerly “walk” in the front.
With these peeks of promise, we persevered. Denise and Junior Vet Tech Jess did massage and range-of-motion therapy three times a day for Tinora. As Tinora grew stronger, she grumbled, but still went along with her physical therapy. Soon she began eating on her own and grooming her beautiful self.
And then…she walked.
It’s not quite graceful, but Tinora’s tenderfooted step is beautiful in our eyes. She can now correct her goofy left hind foot, and she’s making a major effort to use the litter box. (Don’t worry; we’re reassuring her that no one’s holding her missed attempts against her.)
Tinora is one tough cookie, and we’re in awe of her courage, grace and grit. And, dear sponsors, it’s your faithful friendship through the years that’s making this miracle possible.
We don’t know exactly what the future holds for Tinora, and we’d sure like to chase down a definitive diagnosis for her issues. But, come what may, we’ll be here — and you’ll be here — for this brave, beautiful cat who others may have seen as “just a stray.”
On behalf of Tinora and the whole galaxy of cats in our care, thank you from the depths of my heart!
PS: If you’re wondering about Tinora’s quirky-glamorous name, it was originally TiNoRa…a vowel-ized form of TNR. We’re creative like that. 😉