Puff is a very lucky kitten to have a network of friends that supported her during a life-threatening ordeal. Here is her story as told by Puff's foster mum, Jane Kintz.
I’d been grieving over my cat Gladys’s death and many people, actually my friends, were trying to get me to take this cat or that cat that had showed up as at stray at their home. They were trying to shake me out of my grief. But I was not ready to take another cat then. I even saw a little gray kitten at the Farmers Market and I cried. I thought, what is wrong with me? But since I had been so bonded to Gladys I just wasn’t ready to have another cat in my life. But a change was coming.
On September 3, 2013, I was on a working tour of the A.D. German Warehouse, in Richland Center, (I am on the steering committee to renovate the F.L. Wright building) where several of us were assessing the condition of the building. We walked up to the fourth floor of the Warehouse as part of the tour. Within minutes Mike saw the kittens! There were five, one month old kittens, huddled in a pile of junk where they were living. At that point I didn’t even think about being sad over Gladys, I just knew these kittens needed my help. I scooped them up and immediately called my good friend Jan to bring her pet taxi for them. I then took the five kittens home. I think it was all because I knew they needed help.
After the rescue, people asked me, what about the mom? Wouldn’t she and the kittens be sad? I did go back to the Warehouse for two consecutive days following the rescue to search for any kittens left behind or to find the mom, but I found nothing. It is likely, of course, that the mom cat is feral as there are many feral cats in this particular neighborhood in Richland Center. Obviously it was better to take the kittens from her than to have five more (+ so many more kittens later on) feral cats roaming around facing a very uncertain future. With the winter weather we have had here in Wisconsin it is quite unlikely that the five kittens could have survived. Thanks to the OMHS these kittens have the best start any kitten could have in life—vaccinations, de-worming, and flea treatments, etc…and they are tame, sweet companions. Who knows what horrible things would have happened to them had they not been rescued. A photo in the gallery shows the pile of rubble the five kittens were living in when I found them.
I named the foster kittens Puff, Spot, Frank, Lloyd, and Wright. Why did I choose these names? Of course Frank, Lloyd and Wright were named after the famous architect who designed the A.D. German Warehouse and who was born in Richland Center. As for the names Puff and Spot, as a youngster I always loved the Dick, Jane, and Sally readers with which I learned to read in first grade at Lower Horse Creek one room school. While learning to read those books, I pictured myself as Jane, the middle child. Sally, the youngest, had the cool green car, Dick, the oldest,had Spot the dog and got to have all the adventures, but Jane had Puff, the yellow cat. Because I had always had cats since I can remember anything, I was glad “my character” had a cat! Now in September 2013 I do not have a black and white dog like Spot, but instead I have a black and white cat named Spot, and though my Puff, a calico cat, is not all yellow like the Puff in the stories, she has some lovely golden yellow fur.
My goals as the foster mom raising these precious, fragile kittens were these:
- I felt they were very special kitties since they were found on the fourth floor of the AD German Warehouse and I wanted them to be very adoptable to very special people.
- I have worked to socialize them by inviting people to visit them and hold them and play with them.
- I wanted all five to be friendly and not to hide when people visit but to interact with visito
- I have taken the kittens to other homes where they can socialize and have fun in different, safe environments.
- I wanted the kittens to be relaxed with humans. They are so tame that they allow visitors to handle their feet and toes, open their mouths, and rub their tummies.
- The kittens are even willing to wear costumes like Santa hats for Christmas. They wear the costumes only under continual supervision so they do not get tangled up in a wardrobe piece. A string or piece of yarn on a costume can be a dangerous thing for a kitten or cat, so surveillance is important at all times.
- Puff and Wright can even play fetch! When a favorite toy is tossed for playtime they will bring it back to be tossed repeatedly.
- The kittens like to ride in the car—most cats only ride in the car once a year to the vet and are terrified, but I have taken the kittens on rides each week. Not in this cold weather, however. Rationale for riding in a car: a relaxed cat could travel with human companions.
- My goal is that the kittens have good personalities—there is no teasing allowed by visitors.
January 13, 2014, Monday: I discovered that Puff was sick! Because Puff is a calico cat she has a bit of an attitude and is always pushing the envelope, but on Monday she did NONE of her usual antics. When the five kittens came out for the day from their overnight comfy sleeping quarters, Puff just stayed very close to me and she was quite lethargic. She did not eat and she vomited.
I called Judy (OMHS Cat and Kitten Adoption Coordinator) and she agreed that I should take Puff to the Vet. Judy called the vet clinic to authorize Puff's need for medical evaluation. Dr. Deb thought she had a virus after examining her and sent us home with a can of special cat food. Puff's temperature was normal at this time. Puff would not eat and was not even interested in the food. I called Judy late that night and she came to my house at 11 p.m. Thinking that Puff needed food we carefully gave her a small amount of AD food with a syringe. She seemed VERY uncomfortable, moving from side to side, and looked like she was hurting.
January 14, Tuesday: Puff was "hospitalized" when I took her back to the vet clinic because she still had not eaten nor gone potty and was obviously in pain. She was even more lethargic and very unresponsive. I was sure we were going to lose this little girl. Dr. Mary kept her at the clinic to run tests. I was extremely worried.
January 15, Wednesday afternoon: Exploratory surgery was Wednesday afternoon beginning at about 2:30 and was performed by Dr. Deb. All the tests and imaging could find no other way to determine what the situation was with Puff because the kitten was not going to survive much longer with out intervention. During the exploration Dr. Deb found a nut about five inches into her intestine. No one knows how she ingested a nut. It is a mystery nut… it has not been determined what kind of nut it is! (Please see the photo.)
January 16, Thursday: Puff was not doing as well as expected 24 hours post op. She was lethargic and not moving stool through her system. During the surgery, Dr. Deb could see that there was a small amount of stool in the intestine. Therefore, an enema was used. The concern was the motility of her GI tract. It was important to get the system into the rhythm necessary to move things along. Puff was not interested in any food.
January 17, Friday: Puff was fed AD food in small amounts with a syringe. AD is a high calorie, high moisture pet food used to get animals interested in returning to eating. Puff was syringye fed until the motility could be re-established and she was interested in eating food on her own. Another enema was done. The dosage of pain meds was reduced a bit to see if that would stimulate her interest in food and get things moving.
January 18, Saturday: Puff developed a temperature which spiked at105.5 degrees with 101 degrees being normal for cats. The temperature gave concern about peritonitis. My worry mounted and I remember thinking that it would be a miracle if Puff made it through this trauma.
January 19, Sunday: Puff's temp came down gradually today! Dr. Mary checked in on her several times on Sunday (including a 2 a.m. check on Puff!) and called to report how Puff was doing. That is awesome, Dr. Mary!
January 20, Monday: Dr. Mary released Puff from "custody" at around noon! Puff had not eaten on her own until Sunday night when she had a few pieces of dry food and a couple of kitty treats. She had pooped a little bit on Sunday for the first time. Yipee! Poop!
Since she has been home Puff has gradually started eating more on her own and is pooping regularly. She is reunited with her siblings and Lloyd finally quit hissing at her after a couple days! Puff had to continue antibiotics for a few more days. She has lost weight, but she is happy to be home and is starting to show signs of her feisty self. Getting back to her own home is a huge part of healing. And her Mum is now finding time to relax and get fewer wrinkles from worrying!
Thank you so very much to everyone who has worried and prayed for Puff's recovery. The support that Puff and I received from Facebook messages from longtime friends and from those who I have never met was amazing and very moving.
May I ask one more thing? Would you be willing to send a donation to OMHS to help with the surgery and post op costs? The costs are nudging $2,000 which is a very big burden for the Ocooch Mountain Humane Society. You can provide a huge help to a great organization that really stepped up to its mission statement to help animals in need. And your generosity will be greatly appreciated by Puff the miracle kitten!
Word of caution to cat companions: Be extremely careful in the kitchen when preparing foods that may be of interest to a cat or a dog. Anything that is small, can roll around, or that is salty or sweet can be a life-threatening temptation for a cat or for a dog. Cats do not have as much of a sweet tooth as dogs, but can still find something interesting get into their mouths. The animal may play with the item and then bite it or pick it up and manybe even swallow the nut or other object such as a marble. From the dialog above that had a good outcome, take heed and watch what falls on the floor of your home. Pick up or vacuum up or sweep up anything that could cause a problem for a cat or a dog. As much as we humans try to manage our household environment accidents and emergencies can happen, so if there are early warning circumstances like what was happening with Puf, do not delay getting your pet to the vet ASAP and stay involved with the procedures, tests, and suggestions. Ask a lot of questions and listen to the answers and ask for clarification if you do not understand the medical jargon. OMHS encourages you to be a responsible pet companion!
You may donate online by going to the Donate page on the main menu bar. Then go to Donate Online. Choose the donation amount or type in another amount you would like to donate. You may choose to donate by PayPal or Credit Card.
Be certain to go to the comment or remarks dialog box on the PayPal or Credit Card page and type in that the donation is for Puff. The OMHS Treasurer needs to know where the donation should be placed.
To donate by USPS send your donation to: OMHS Tripod Fund, P.O. Box 229, Richland Center WI 53581. The Tripod Fund is an emergency medical fund for OMHS pets that need extraordinary surgery or care. Be certain to indicate that your generous donation if for Puff. Thank you so much for your help!
Rubble pile where kittens were living
The Warehouse kittens
One month old Puff
Beautiful Puff 4 months old
The blockage in Puff’s intestine
The nut causing blockage
Puff arrives home
For more photos of the Warehouse kittens, go to Facebook to Jane Kintz's page. You will find many more images of the fortunate kittens.