Two weeks ago a little cat showed up late at night in my driveway. I was taking out the recycling and saw green reflective eyes at the end of the path, and when I came back out with a dish of food she gobbled it up and let me pet her. I called my cat-sitter and local rescue expert and we came up with the plan to put her in the barn overnight and figure things out in the morning.
By morning I was calling the cat Lucy (where do names come from?) and planning to introduce her into the family. But it turned out that she already had a family – five kittens stashed in a shed across the street, which I followed her to when we let her out and she aimed for the road.
Over the next couple of days the kittens were trapped and four were taken with Lucy to a foster home; a temporary place for them to stay while they weaned and got used to people. It was looking like a great tale of rescue and happy endings.
Then on Monday of this week they started to get sick and by Tuesday one of the kittens had died. It was diagnosed as distemper, a horrible illness only seen in cats that haven’t been immunized.
They’re at the vet now, getting the best care possible, but we’ve lost two more kittens in two days. Lucy has a fever but is hanging in there. It’s strange to be attached to a creature I’ve barely met, but I am; she’s my cat. Please send healthy thoughts in the direction of this little mama and her sick baby.
Kitten number five seems to have avoided the virus, and is doing well. Thank goodness for small mercies.