BENEFITING: Kitten Rescue
ORGANIZER: Kitten Rescue
EVENT: 2014 ASICS LA Marathon
EVENT DATE: Mar 09, 2014
My Dearest Adopters, Friends & Family,
It’s that time again! Once more I’ll be participating in the March 2014 L.A.Marathon Big 5K as a member of Team Kitten Rescue. As many of you know, I participated in this event last year and with your help I raised $6,300 for Kitten Rescue! I’m more determined than ever to drag my sorry old butt out there to huff and puff my way to the finish line yet again because I have a new foster baby who’s actually in worse shape than me, I swear. This sweet angel you are about to meet is going to require ongoing care that Kitten Rescue will generously provide . . . . hopefully with your help.
Many of you are recent adopters and new friends so I’ll take a quick minute to bring you up to speed. In the nine years since I joined Kitten Rescue, an all-volunteer, non-profit organization devoted to helping homeless, abandoned and forgotten felines in Los Angeles, I have been blessed in finding loving homes for over 275 cats and kittens, and even a handful of puppies. Many of you adopted your furry four-legged family member(s) from me, some sought help with kitties you’d found, and others indulged my insanity as I schlepped along carriers full of neonate kittens everywhere: to work, to family gatherings and social events.
Pretzel, Curly Sue, and Oliver Twist were born June 19, 2013. Within hours of their birth they were dumped at a City of Los Angeles Animal Control facility. It was immediately obvious these babies had severe physical challenges as their little ‘arms’, legs and tails were badly twisted and deformed. Since the city shelters are sadly overwhelmed and underfunded, the kittens were doomed to certain death by euthanasia. Kitten Rescue contacted me in hopes that I’d be willing to bottle feed and foster these helpless little angels who would require extensive care. Being a sucker for both neonates and handicapped kittens, my heart easily overruled my head. When I picked the babies up they were covered in dried amniotic fluid and bodily waste, their umbilical cords still intact, weighing only three ounces each. They were easily the most heart-wrenching neonatal kittens I’d ever seen, so tiny and helpless, crying for someone to care, begging for someone to give them a chance.
I cleaned the babies up as best I could, and began tube feeding them a special homemade formula until they stabilized and adjusted to nursing on a bottle. They were also started on antibiotics and subcutaneous fluids, as they were severely dehydrated. Pretzel and Curly Sue were touch-and-go, but were hanging on and showing slight signs of improvement. Poor little Oliver Twist remained very weak, and died after only a few days.
The babies traveled to work with me each day so they could be fed every two hours around the clock. Pretzel began to gain weight and show developmental milestones appropriate for her age. Little Curly Sue’s weight gain and development was drastically slower, but she had such a will to survive.
In many cases ‘Twisty Kitten Syndrome’ is due to contracted tendons, usually the result of positioning or crowding in the uterus. This condition can often self-correct with physical therapy and stretching exercises. Unfortunately this was not the case for Curly Sue and Pretzel. X-rays taken at their initial vet exam revealed they had actual skeletal deformities. Pretzel was born missing one of two major bones in all four limbs as well as missing kneecaps and a severely deformed tail. Curly Sue was missing one of two major bones in each of her front legs, but more importantly she suffered from a congenital heart defect.
Curly Sue’s valiant fight came to a sad end when she was just a few days shy of twelve weeks. She collapsed and died very suddenly and all indications point to a massive heart attack. We had hoped to get her big enough and strong enough to have corrective heart surgery but unfortunately that was not meant to be. This sweet little lamb took a huge piece of my heart with her, but it brings me some comfort knowing that during her short little life she knew what it was to be loved, cherished, and well cared for.
Pretzel is now seven months old and thriving. She faces mobility challenges, but despite the crappy hand she was dealt, she’s a very active, playful and sweet kitten that purrs the second you pick her up. Because she’s been this way since birth, she has no idea she’s different from other kittens. She scoots around quite well and is a happy little camper. While her life may never be that of the average kitty, she will surely shine in her own way. She will never compete as an Olympic athlete or excel at ballet that’s for certain, but Kitten Rescue is committed to doing everything necessary to ensure that Pretzel lives a safe and happy life. Follow-up appointments will determine what may possibly be done with surgery and/or therapy. Ideally Pretzel will eventually find her own forever home where she will be accepted and loved for the wonderful special needs kitten she is, but should that not happen, she will remain my foster kitty and will be showered with love and attention ‘furrrever’.
Vet visits, medical treatment, medications, potential surgeries, and ongoing care (possibly for a lifetime) will surely be quite costly. Pretzel is just one of the hundreds of cats and kittens Kitten Rescue helps each year, but we can’t do it without your help.
I humbly ask that you please open your heart (and your wallet) to donate whatever you possibly can by sponsoring me in the Big 5K. I promise, no amount is too small, and ALL DONATIONS TO KITTEN RESCUE ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE. Also, please check with your employer to see if they have a program in place that matches donations to 501c3 charitable organizations. Many companies do, and this would actually DOUBLE your donation!
On behalf of Pretzel, I THANK YOU for your support.
With love, gratitude, and kitten kisses,
Laura (Charlii) Hawthorne, aka The Crazy Cat Lady