Rescue Residents: Baby Amy and Kai

In the one month of quiet before kitten season returns, I would like to introduce our most important volunteers, the rescue residents. The residents help teach the kittens how to be cats. Social interaction including grooming, play, litter box use and the occasional smack, are important parts of kitten training. The kittens are often isolated during the first few weeks of life due to injury, age or simple quarantine. Interaction with resident cats teaches them what to embrace, what to fear, what to scratch and when to be gentle. Most importantly, the residents show the kittens that they are safe and loved no matter what happened before their arrival at Saving Grace Rescue.
Kai was one of hundreds of kittens pulled from Martinez animal shelter when I first joined forces with a rescue group. Kai went in for a routine spay and proceeded to become severely ill in the following week. After a month of diagnostics, it was revealed through bloodwork and color flow ultrasound that Kai had a portosystemic, or liver, shunt. The veins that carried blood through her liver had not formed correctly and her blood was not getting filtered through her liver fully. In this situation, toxins build up and poison the body. Kai was experiencing diarrhea, vomiting, seizures and extreme weight loss. Medications helped a bit but often made her sicker. The future was looking bleak when Baby Amy came howling into the rescue.
Baby Amy is possibly the loudest kitten in history. A desperate looking volunteer walked in with the tiny black and white fluff surrounded by a long, monosyllabic yowl that went on, and on and on. There was one nursing mom in the rescue at the time and we put Baby Amy with her. Baby Amy latched on to nurse and refused to let go for HOURS. The only time she didn’t yowl from then on was when she was actively nursing. As Baby Amy grew up, she yowled less, but every now and then, I get a stern, long, monosyllabic talking to from the resident matriarch. Baby Amy took food seriously from the start and it shows in her well padded physique. Tiny head, tiny paws…not so tiny Amy.
Baby Amy took to Kai immediately. Kai was nearing a point of no return and all treatments had been exhausted. Baby Amy was not put off by Kai’s emaciated appearance or toxic smell. Baby Amy curled right up to Kai and gave her thin body warmth. Sometimes, love does heal. Kai started to put on weight and her seizures nearly stopped. With Baby Amy’s constant companionship, Kai slowly healed to become the sweet beauty she is today. Kai will always have the shunt but her newfound friendship provided the emotional support her body needed to fight. Kai hasn’t had a seizure in four years.
Baby Amy and Kai pass that support and care on to many of the kittens that come through Saving Grace Rescue. They are two of the kindest and sweetest cats I have ever known

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