As caretakers and caregivers for a variety of indoor and outdoor cats, me and my amazing husband, David, are really never too surprised when a new guest shows up. Cats have a way of inviting people over for dinner without giving any notice.

Living on an acre of property with a fence with holes and spaces big enough for cats to come through, gives the regulars clear access. We purposely have not fixed the holes and in fact, made two of the spaces larger because of a huge yellow cat with a leg injury who was having trouble getting low enough to come through.

These guys and girls depend on us daily for food, water and a friendly word or two. They even still speak to us AFTER we trap them for their trip to the vet for spaying and neutering. Getting up at 5:30 AM every morning in all kinds of weather is not always easy. However, when you see the look of anticipation on their faces, it makes it all worthwhile.

We always see the same cats come and go and even have names for all of them. Looking out the kitchen window a few months back, I started noticing a little kitten we had not seen before. It looked to be barely a month or two old, with beautiful coloring of white, black and gold. It was clearly lost. “Thank goodness it wandered into our yard,” was my only thought. Alerting David to our new guest that day, we both observed the little new arrival from the kitchen window.

It broke our hearts to see this little cat walking around the other cats and being totally ignored by them and even hissed at. He or she was looking for it’s MaMa and it’s family. She continually called out to anyone who would listen.

That day and during the next few days, we tried our best to make friends with it so we could pick it up and take to the vet, but the little kitten was afraid and always bolted. We only saw it during feeding times and on occasion walking around the yard. One day we even saw it trying to nurse one of the male cats we recently had fixed. Sad! Sad!

Fortunately, after a week of residence on our property we started seeing the kitten more often but, unfortunately, that is when we noticed how sick it really was. The eyes were watery, the nose crusty and we could tell the breathing was labored. We knew then, we would have to get it (still not sure if male or female) and take it to our wonderful vet. Since the cat was too small to even set off the trigger of the humane trap, we decided to grab it and place in one of our many carriers. We waited and watched for it to be in the perfect spot one day and worked out our plan for capture.

I was to be the one to come up from behind and hold it down, while David (much bigger and stronger) would come over; pick the little unsuspecting feline up and place in the waiting carrier. All systems were go one Friday afternoon. She was sleeping on a deck area close to the house. We positioned the carrier some ways away so she would not see it since all cats seem to know that is a box they don’t want to go in willingly.

Very quietly I walked up behind the kitten and grabbed it, holding on gently but firmly while my husband came around and picked up the startled kitten. The cat started fighting for it’s life and bit my husband on both hands. Hurt and bleeding he managed to hold on to the cat somehow and forced it into the carrier. With blood dripping on our back steps from the two wounds, he went up the steps of the back door. After getting a paper towel to soak up the blood, we entered the house, leaving the carrier behind and cleaned the wounds with hydrogen peroxide. Even though there was a lot of blood, we both agreed the wounds didn’t look too bad, and felt we had cleaned them sufficiently. Our attention was now drawn back to the scared little kitten hiding in the back of the carrier.

Since it was after hours for our vet, we had to keep it in the carrier overnight. The carrier we used was our limo model. it is really big enough for a medium size dog. Having a large carrier is sometimes easier to force a cat into than the small little compact ones.

Surprisingly, the little kitten was very calm in the carrier and we were even able to pet it and place a small bowl of food and water in without it trying to run out. Hearing the breathing and seeing the symptoms of upper respiratory problems, we were happy our vet was open at 8:00 AM.

I was on the phone the next morning right at 8:00 and was told to bring the cat in immediately. David loaded the big carrier in his truck and took the kitten in. He looked at his bites, but shrugged it off because they looked a little red, but nothing unusual.

Once in the room with the vet, he went over the story of why and how we had a new cat for her to treat. She is very used to seeing us in her office with new scenarios, but this incident was a first for us. She examined David’s two wounds and said, “boy, this little cat really did a number on you.” She asked about cleaning and treatment for the wounds. He told her what we did after the bites occurred. She agreed that it should be enough. The vet and her tech then examined the kitten and pronounced HER female with a very, very bad upper respiratory infection. My husband was advised that he would need to leave the kitten in her care for perhaps several days for treatment.

He went home, relieved she was in good hands. During the day he started feeling bad like he was coming down with a flu or something. He was hot and sweaty. Not one for naps, he did decide to take it easy in one of our lounger type chairs for a while. I had called him to find out about the kitten and was advised of the vet’s diagnosis. When I was about to hang up, he mentioned that he was not feeling well and needed to lay down. He didn’t want to stay on the phone any longer. I told him to drink fluids and rest until I got there. Because he sounded so weak at this phone call, I began to worry. On the 40 minute drive home, I called three more times, but got no answer. David never goes to bed unless he is really sick, so his statement was alarming.

I drove a little faster than the speed limit and had a very bad feeling about what I was going to find at home. I opened the gate and rushed in the quiet, dark house. He was in the bed. I could tell by looking at him that he was not doing well. One touch to his forehead and I also knew he had a fever. Shaking the thermometer and placing under his tongue, I could already see the mark rising the minute I put it in. It came blaring back at 102.8. I had him sit up and look at me. This is when I noticed the swelling in his left hand and arm. The cat bites were infected. My husband is one who has to be poked and prodded to even see a doctor, but this time he was ready to go wherever I suggested.

Moving slowly to the car, he got in. We drove to the emergency walk in clinic. They heard our story of the cat bites; took a look at the swelling and red streaks running up on his left arm and directed us to the hospital emergency room. They even told us they were calling to let them know we were on our way. Now, we were both getting a little worried.

The ER was only 5 minutes from the Walk-In Clinic, so it was a short drive. We didn’t have to wait long after check in and were ushered into a room. IV antibiotics were started in the ER almost immediately. The ER doc came in pretty quickly and surprisingly told us that my

husbands’s hospital stay had just began. He had arranged for a room and was checking him in the hospital for round the clock IV antibiotics.

I called our vet with the news. She told me that the kitten did not have rabies but that the bad infection could have been passed on through the bites and that she would need to keep her for at least 10 days in isolation. We were just glad she was being treated because I doubt she could have lasted too much longer out in the elements by herself.

Well, to make this long story a little bit shorter, it turned out to be a 3 day hospital stay for my husband, which wound up costing us $6,000 because of the deductible. Thank goodness our vet worked with us on the cost of the treatment for who is now called Boo-Ba K. The K, of course, for the thousand mark she cost us.

Was it worth it — of course. We would not have it any other way. She is now an adorable little member of our indoor pet family. Take a look at the photos below and notice how much larger my husband’s left hand is versus the right one in the hospital ER room.

If there is a next time, he will definitely be wearing leather gloves. Bites can be deadly even from a cute little kitten with tiny little teeth.





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