I have sad news about Huck, the stray cat we found on the woods on Tuesday night. The vet has told me although they can’t find anything obvious wrong – blood tests for Feline HIV and Leukaemia were both negative, as was the test for infectious peritonitis. But the severe anaemia he has is a life-threatening problem – he simply doesn’t have enough red blood cells and can’t seem to produce more. His stomach hasn’t been stimulated by the injections and fluids they have given him and he has stopped eating. The only option at this point is a blood transfusion, which is horrendously expensive and takes time because cats have complex blood which needs to be typed. In spite of this, I would agree to the transfusion if the vet could reassure me that it would help Huck to recover. But he can’t.
He says he thinks we found Huck too late, and not a day too late – a week or maybe two. He says although Huck’s spirit is strong, his body is too damaged to repair itself. He says it is time to do the kind thing, the ethical thing and although it breaks my heart, I have to agree. So I have given permission to put this poor little darling beyond the reach of pain and loneliness.
I wish with all my heart that Huck had found me earlier. My husband walks in those woods every day and I’m often there with my son. Huck wasn’t there before Tuesday. And so I’m forced to take what comfort I can from knowing that he won’t die alone and cold and hurting. He was looked after for his final hours and will slip away easily. I’ve also been amazed and humbled by the generosity of every single person who shared, retweeted and donated to Help Huck – thank you so very much, you are all superstars who have made this difficult thing so much easier. I’m sorry I’m not able to give you a happy ending.
The vet has kept the costs down where possible so although I don’t know what the final bill will be yet, there is likely to be some money from all the donations left over. With your blessing, I’d like to make this into a little bursary, to help someone whose pet is ill but unable to receive the treatment they need because they cannot afford it. This way, Huck’s sad story will have a glimmer of a silver lining and will benefit another pet. If no one objects to this idea, I will speak to the vet to see if they have anyone in need of immediate help, or that it is there if the situation arises.
The vet asked me why I care so much about a little stray I didn’t really know. Huck isn’t my cat after all. And I couldn’t answer him (mostly because I was crying) but I think it’s because Huck could have been my cat – he could have been any of ours because we all know what independent souls they are, they wander off all the time and get into scrapes. If he had been mine, I would want someone to find him, someone who wouldn’t walk away, who would do all they could to help him.
We did all we could and I am desperately sad that it wasn’t enough. I’d still do it all again tomorrow.
This is an unashamedly emotional and heartfelt post. Last night, we found a cat in the woods. He was painfully thin but friendly. He had a mark on his neck where his collar used to be and was clearly somebody’s pet. We rang the RSPCA, who advised us that they couldn’t help and perhaps we should just leave him to fend for himself (no judgement for that – they cannot help every stray and financially, it was the most sensible advice. Anyone who knows me will understand that I couldn’t just walk away – it was cold last night and his miaows were so sad). So we named him Huck, after the homeless guy in Scandal, and he spent most of yesterday evening curled up on my lap, purring, clearly just enjoying being cared for again. And inevitably, he stole my heart.
Today, we took Huck to the vet. The vet couldn’t find a chip. There was more bad news – Huck is dehydrated and anaemic and has something called Gut Stasis, which are all treatable. He needs tests for Feline HIV and Leukaemia, and then more tests after that before he can get antibiotics and treatment. And all of this is going to cost a lot of money. I can pay for some but not all of this – I have a toddler and a teenager, a dog and lots of rabbits, not to mention a husband (and we all know how expensive they are). So I am asking for your help. Can you spare a little cash to help Huck? If everyone chips in a little bit, we can raise the money for the tests – £500 – in no time.
Why do I care so much?
I have been an animal lover all my life and had my own cat until recently. She lived until she was nineteen and if she’d ever been lost and lonely and hurt, I would have wanted someone to care for her. Although ultimately Huck may be beyond help, I would like to give him a chance – he is such a loving, friendly cat. I’d love to help him get better and reunite him with the family I know are missing him. And if we can’t find them, I’d like to find him a new home. If you’re an animal lover too, you’ll understand.
How will the money be spent?
Treatment for dehydration, gut stasis and fleas. Initial tests for Feline Aids and Feline Leukaemia (these cost over £300) plus follow up tests (infectious anaemia and peritonitis) and treatment if needed. Fingers crossed, we’ll get Huck better and if we can’t find his owner then we’ll rehome him with a new family. But if the worst happens, I’ll do the kindest thing and ensure he doesn’t suffer any more,even though I know that will be hard and heart-breaking. I can’t afford to do this on my own – I’ve already committed some money but I need your help to pay for the rest.
How can I contribute?
I’m hoping to set up a Just Giving page but I need to check they will accept the campaign first so for now, watch this space. If Just Giving can’t help, I will do Paypal or Eventbrite or something. Rest assured the money will go to helping Huck and anything left over will go to The Cat’s Protection League.
EDITED: Just Giving have approved the Help Huck page – if you’d like to donate something (and small is fine, it all helps) you can find it here: http://www.justgiving.com/yimby/HelpHuck
I’ll post regular updates and pictures on Twitter (using the hashtag #HelpHuck – please do help retweet to get the word out) and ensure everyone knows how Huck is doing. Ideally, we’ll then start a Help Huck Get Home campaign. But before all that, you’ll get the warm feeling from knowing you did a kind thing – you helped Huck.