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.