Madonna: Tiny Survivor of Too Much

It's not going to be easy for you to read what this gorgeous kitten has already gone through in her short life. But we need you to.

Two months ago, this little girl came to our nursery in rough shape. This tiny baby, her eyes closed, had maggots pouring out of every opening of her body. It was as horrific as it sounds, even though maggots aren’t unusual in kittens born outside. We gritted our teeth, held out hope, and named her Madonna for the little wound on her cheek that looked like a beauty mark.

There was reason to hope! We took care of the nasty invaders on Madonna, and she and her siblings thrived despite their terrifying start. As the wound on her face healed, Madonna's sassy rock star personality grew and grew. We fell in love with her deep blue eyes, her funny expressions, and her loud, ridiculous purr.

Then the worst happened—one of the most dreaded diseases in cat rescue. Madonna and her siblings broke with panleukopenia, a highly contagious and extremely vicious virus that’s almost always a death sentence. To survive, Madonna endured two weeks of pure hell. Imagine only feeling the touch of harsh gloves and isolation gowns, getting injections three times a day, and having food pass through your little body mere hours after eating it, with only your sick brothers and sister for comfort.

It's hard to think about Madonna going through this, but we think it forged her in iron, because she made it! Her body fought off the virus, her belly started absorbing food again, and she finally began to thrive. She grew big and strong and was soon ready for her spay—the last step before going up for adoption and finding her hard-won happily ever after.

But Madonna's story, of course, couldn't be that easy. Instead of the simple, no-sweat procedure that spays are for 99.9% of kittens, she had an extremely rare complication that landed her once again at death's door. OAR's medical team did not have the capacity to provide the care she needed to survive, so we sent her to the experts. For three days, the incredible intensive care unit at Medvet worked round the clock to stabilize her, rid her body of infection, and reverse the issue that had tried to take her life yet again.

Critical care like what Madonna received at Medvet adds up scarily fast. We can’t always say "yes" to going to such lengths because we’re a nonprofit where every resource is stretched to the limit. But how could we not for this little girl? She had already endured so much, and we just couldn't give up on her. Not after she had survived her hopeless state as a newborn. Not after she'd beaten panleuk. Not when we’d looked at her, breathed a sigh of relief, and said, "you made it, baby girl," only to watch in horror as yet another battle reared up before her. We said yes, that we would continue to fight—no matter what.

And she kept fighting, too. That's all this little girl knows how to do.

Madonna is safe and sound now in her foster home. Her body is continuing to recover from all the battles it’s been forced to endure, but her little spirit is not the least bit wounded. She's finally getting a taste of the normal kitten life she has more than earned by this point.

OAR has had its share of needs this summer. We’ve always been blown away by the kind, generous people who rush to our aid when we ask. We could have never known the war that was in store for Madonna, or how impossible it would be to give up on her, no matter the financial cost. That's why we’re asking for help again. Your support will help us pay for the crippling costs we incurred in saving Madonna's life, so that we can continue to be the answer for kittens like her (even though she’s one in a million).

We know you'll look into this spirited baby girl's face and see exactly what we did: someone so deserving of every chance she can get, because that happily ever after she's fought for is just around the corner. It has to be, if there is any justice in this world.
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Katie Sharp 
Cincinnati, OH
Ohio Alleycat Resource & Spay/Neuter Clinic, Inc 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
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