My wife and I both work at a TV station in Myrtle Beach, SC, where there's a history of random cats wandering around the parking lot. Somehow, over the past 2+ years, we have become very close with the current group of "parking lot cats," whom we have named Mama Cat, Daddy Cat, and Orange Cat. Mama and Daddy are so-named because they had a couple of litters of kittens early on, several of whom we've captured and adopted out through our friends at the no-kill animal rescue All 4 Paws in Pawleys Island, SC, and a couple of whom have been adopted by one of our co-workers, and even my own parents. We feed Mama and Daddy on a daily basis, feeding them dry food when it's dry outside and wet canned food when it rains, giving them ice water in the summertime and cool water the rest of the year, stopping by on our days off, and every holiday. It's not a lot of money to keep them fed, so we do it happily out of pocket, and have grown to earn their trust.
Orange Cat was always the outsider of the group and a loner. Whereas Daddy Cat is neutered (we're still working on trapping the ever-elusive Mama to get her spayed,) Orange was never neutered, so he was a natural roamer. He would also get in fights with other animals in the area, as well as -- sadly -- Daddy Cat. But we kept caring for him and feeding him regardless, and were prepared to intervene with a veterinarian trip if anything became too serious or urgent.
This past Saturday night, between Christmas and the New Year, we stopped by work to feed the cats, and we found Orange cat -- whom we'd normally see every couple of weeks -- lying down, not moving at all, seemingly hiding behind our TV station's backup generator. We thought he was dead at first. We were able to rouse him with treats (his favorite,) and then get him to eat some food and drink a little water. He walked off and left the parking lot of his own volition, and we figured he was okay for the night, and we would just keep an eye on him. Fast forward to New Year's Eve Tuesday, and Orange was found lying prone in front of the building, where they never go, in broad daylight, not moving and not caring about any passers-by.
We immediately scooped him up and took him to our vet, who was thankfully still open on New Year's Eve, and spent our lunch break at the vet. Orange was in terrible shape. He literally looked like he could have been hit by a car, aside from any obvious tire marks that were missing. After a long while, and great difficulty drawing blood from him, we finally got all of the devastating results.
Orange Cat had feline leukemia, feline AIDS, weighed a mere 6-and-some pounds (he was always a bigger tomcat,) the vet could feel a mass in his lower abdomen, his gums were pale, his feet were pale, his fur was matted, he had had bad diarrhea at some point, and he seemed anemic to the point where they could barely get a blood sample, his blood was so thin in viscosity (that was the AIDS, I assume). He was literally dying right before us, and came to us for help. It was obvious what had to be done. Just days earlier, we had talked about trying to get him adopted, and how he was dying, covered in flea dirt and even ants, and clearly in great pain, as he cried when we tried to examine him. The doctor didn't tell us what to do, but gave us her advice, and we made the decision to euthanize poor Orange Cat on our own; she later thanked us for doing the right thing, and hugged each of us as we all cried. It was a horrible day, but we were glad to be able to help our kitty friend, and were glad he wasn't just run over outside or died in the bushes somewhere. He was able to be with humans who loved him, calling him "good boy," as he crossed the rainbow bridge.
We just received Orange Cat's vet bill. All told, it was $288. We don't mind feeding and caring for the cats, but to have to pay nearly $300 out-of-pocket when one of them dies is a sizable financial burden. We received a lot of outpouring of support and appreciation from our friends and family on Facebook when Orange died, and we're hoping we can pass the hat around for help in paying his veterinarian bills now that he's gone. We don't even care if we get the full amount from everyone, because we don't mind paying our fair share, but even if everyone who Liked or commented threw in a mere $5, we'd be in good shape. I originally wanted to set our goal for $200 of the total $288, but when I saw GoFundMe charges 2.9% of our total intake, and charges $0.30 per donation, we decided to bump up the amount a little bit (still not covering the full amount) in hopes that we won't have to bear all of that burden.
Thank you so much for reading this far, understanding where we're coming from, and most importantly -- for helping Orange Cat in his most dire time of need.
- Jennifer Wolfe
- Daniel Baxley
- Lindsay Bowers