I heard faint cries when I was trimming the neighbors Forsythia back. It had encroached beyond the two foot line and was rubbing against my windows and screens. That finished, I moved to the Butterfly bush that has grown wildly since spring. The cries became much louder and insistent....and close. I called out. "MEOW!" was the response in a small squeaky voice. I followed the cries and found this little guy under the leaves of a Hosta.
I tried to coax him out, but he didn't have the energy to move. I scooped up his thin, small, damp & dirty body. When I turned him belly up I saw a flea infestation like I have never seen before. This poor baby was literally having the life sucked out of him.
I brought him in on the porch and offered him food and water. He wasn't interested at all. He could only manage small cries. Son arrived home at this point and helped me put together a flea dip for this pathetic creature. I mixed the solution weaker than prescribed and put him in the warm solution on the picnic table. He managed a minimal squirm.
Once his entire body was soaked the water turned crimson from all the flea dirt. Son exchanged the solution for some fresh warm water, which again turned crimson. By the time I put him in the towel he was nothing but a wet limp mass. I scooted to the store to try and find a flea comb, without any luck.
I brought out the blow dryer and gently warmed his bony body while son brushed his fur. Hundreds of fleas were falling off him.
He purred the entire time. I cannot imagine how uncomfortable for him it must have been. The more I thought about it, the angrier I got. This wasn't an unknown stray to me. This was my neighbors 12 week old kitten. Yes, THAT NEIGHBOR. She has two cats. One is all black and probably this gray guys mom. Neighbor took off for a week and left them outside, without any care or flea protection. This kind of neglect and cruelty makes me furious. Pet owners are responsible for the well being of their charges! Five bucks for a flea collar or $10 for some Frontline and this could have been totally avoided! Keep the cat inside for cryin out loud!
I tried calling animal control, but he only works 8-4. I let the listless one sleep in a bin on a comfy towel with some food & water for the night. He touched neither.
He wasn't much better in the morning. His gums were white - pure white, not pink like they should be. He was so anemic he would probably die. I called animal control from work and asked what would happen. Since he doesn't have facilities for cats, it would probably be euthanized. He told me "off the record" that, if I adopted this cat and The Neighbor kicked up a stink if she saw it in my window and tried to claim it as her cat, I could ask her to prove it.
I had made up my mind at that point to seek medical help and see if this sweet boy could be saved.
Basically, the fleas had sucked him dry. He tested negative for leukemia and FIV (feline AIDS), which are always fatal. I heard my options and the cost of the options (OMFG!), but there was only one choice. One more day out there, unable to move or eat and he would have died. He cried out to me for help, my only choice was to answer.
He has a name - Dusty. Son picked it out.
I got an update from the Vet early this evening after a blood transfusion. Dusty is up and about, eating heartily, meowing to anyone that walks by and still purring up a storm. He comes home tomorrow. Whats one more addition to the menagerie?
On a what comes around goes around note:
Friday, The Neighbors son, wife and 2 daughters stopped by for a visit. They spent 10 minutes on the deck brushing off the fleas from their clothes. Son talked to one of the grandsons, the entire house is infested with fleas. I haven't seen the neighbor in a few days and she didn't answer the door yesterday when son knocked. Nor did she answer on the several other occasions visitors have stopped by over the last 4 days. (Information I relayed to both the Police and animal control)
Hmmmm, maybe the fleas have sucked her dry.
Another Update: Neighbor is still away on vacation, I believe it's been about 2 weeks now. I'm hoping she likes it wherever she is and never comes back.