The FIV-indeterminate kittens have an announcement to make.
Thus saith the orinch herd: the results are in. Sort of.
The following comes with a Shaq-sized disclaimer: None of the following medical details are iron-clad yet.
That said, here goes.
Where we last left our brave marmalade midgets, four out of four had tested FIV+ using the SNAP test. With bitten nails and bated breath, we awaited results of the more definitive FIV antigen test.
I believe in eating our vegetables first, so let’s blast through the bad news: Cole came up FIV+.To be precise, Cole came up “FIV+ with a 94% certainty, to be retested by SNAP test when he reaches the age of six months.”
But now dessert: Chooch was FIV-. Mayberry was FIV-. Chase was FIV-. (All with a 94% certainty, yadda yadda.)
And now the wrenching moment: everybody knows you can’t mix vegetables with dessert. (No offense if you mix creamed spinach with eclairs, you rebel, you.) Since the non-Cole trio were almost certainly FIV-, we couldn’t keep them with Cole — but since there was a 6% chance they were FIV+, neither could we put them with other cats. Since Cole was almost certainly FIV+, we couldn’t keep him with his siblings, or any other FIV- cats — but since his immune system is still developing, and there’s a 6% chance he’ll turn up FIV- in six months, neither could we put him in Suite FIV. This was a kitten without a country. Separation was imminent.
Everybody knows you can’t separate kittens from all other cats. Still, if we loved them (and we loved them with approximately the heat of 10,000 suns, give or take), we had to do it.
Chooch, Chase and Mayberry remained in the kitten nursery. Like the Little Prince on his lonely voyage, Cole moved into a makeshift mini-nursery.
The men’s bathroom.
No, I am not making this up. Tabby’s Place has approximately 3 men and 872 women of the human variety, so this would be a calm, comfortable place for him.
Well, maybe not comfortable.
If you’ve seen Critters 2 or observed people riding a roller coaster, you may think you’ve heard screaming. You have not. You have heard tiny little weakly squeaks. I say this with authority: you have not heard screaming until you’ve heard the sounds from the Tabby’s Place men’s bathroom.
Clearly Cole had not yet learned the comforting truth that he’s never alone.
But “lonely” never lasts – especially not for orange kittens with funny little close-set eyes and banshee screams.
A volunteer who shall remain anonymous to protect the innocent — let’s just call him Qually — inquired about the screams at lunch one day. Touched to the heart, Qually asked if he might, perhaps, spring Cole from his prison/nursery for a few minutes, as long as he promised to keep him separate from the Lounge cats. The answer was a thrilled-to-ribbons “yes.” (Since Lounge residents Mittens, Skittles, Beatrice and Raja, average age 146, move approximately once per decade, we didn’t anticipate much action.)
For the next twenty minutes, everyone present feasted on a display of pure love. Qually and Cole simply delighted in one another. There was face crawling and chirping and laughing and purring, muffin-making and cooing and cuddling and joy.
And it turns out Qually was only getting Cole warmed up for a better chapter.
Danielle had sent out an e-plea to our volunteers, asking if anyone might have the space and sweetness to foster Cole, at least until his definitive six-months-of-age FIV test. Monday evening, we got our golden yes from a volunteer angel-human we’ll call Squebecca.
The final golden sparkle on this story: Squebecca has already indicated that she will consider keeping Cole forever. This — like the pendulous medical information in this post — is all still very uncertain.
But love is certainly the one thing that’s testing positive for Cole the kitten. And no test on earth or in heaven can change that.