I have not written about her anywhere: how to relate her story, how to explain the inexplicable?
Heather was brought to me by a dear friend and intrepid cat lady this last May. She came from a colony in Tara Hills; had slipped through the cracks of a big trapping/neutering effort there. She was tiny (first photo) and had, despite being badly crippled, had managed to creep onto the steps of a house there. I take in difficult cases, and she proved to be one of the most amazing ever!
Heather was about four weeks old: she could eat on her own. But she was tiny! And she had bent, stiff legs, with a big knob on one elbow. No one ever diagnosed her fully. Here initial x-rays (now ‘rads’) were startling. She had no femoral knob on one back leg, and no hip socked there either. Okay...and the rest of her skeleton wasn't perfect either :-) But she was a happy, otherwise healthy, little one.
Heather managed well, grew, got to be friends with the others, and saw our holistic vet for supplements to her diet. She couldn’t jump, but she could get around well.
One day she started to exhibit signs of dying. She stopped eating or drinking, producing urine or stool, extended her neck, as they do. (Gail Pope at Brighthaven has a lot of great info on the dying process: brighthaven.org. I’ve learned about hospice and natural death from her. I very infrequently euthanize a cat) As with us humans, a natural death is usually painless, or made so with pain meds. Heather, however, showed signs of having pain, she cried out at times, and I was very close to having her euthanized. She was in this condition for three days, sleeping with me.
On day four, she woke up. I have seen miracles, lots of them, though none quite like this.
She started eating, and acted as if she'd just taken a nap. No more crying...
One thing however: she had completely lost the use of her legs! All four. She stayed on the couch, pretty much immobile. But she ATE!
By the way, Heather had been tested and examined in pretty much every way possible, and nothing was found to explain her condition. Inbreeding, congenital deformities...there were theories.
It was obvious that Heather was extremely displeased with her situation! She was and is an independent, strong-willed cat. Neither she nor I fancied twenty years of this!
Our cats’ chiropractor worked with her, and had the best grip on the situation (no pun) and on her future development. She told me about how ‘workarounds’ are developed from muscle and calcium, and lots more! The orthopedic surgeon said to just wait and see how things went.
I have friends, Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, and her daughter, Basha. They run the School for Body-Mind Centering® (do yourself a favor and check it out) Basha is on our board of directors, and is wise in the ways of the body and mind. She sat with Heather, hands on, for about ninety minutes one day. At our board meeting some time later, Heather was on the table with us, and started to push herself up onto her legs. And then slowly started to walk. I just lost it!
There is so much more to relate…but let’s just say that Heather is one of my many miracles. She now runs like the wind, jumps and plays…is growing normally, and of course, is the love of our lives.
Needless to say, she'll be staying with us!