Buttercup was a tiny, FIV+ cat TNR’d from the Joyce Division Colony in March of 2011.
She was a hot mess from the beginning, but we were TNR’ing Joyce’s entire colony fast because some of the cats were already pregnant and brought her straight to the clinic. She was an adult cat who weighed only four pounds, had an upper respiratory infection, tongue lesions, loose stool, and tested FIV+. She groomed herself constantly, most likely from stress.
I had never seen anything like that before. She was friendly, but it was the usual time when no-kill shelters are perpetually full. She just sat a few feet away from us, grooming herself constantly. This over-grooming was most likely caused by stress.
We couldn’t put her back outside like this. Joyce, her feeder, agreed to keep her inside on Clavamox for a week, and then never put her back outside again. Then when I found placement for Buttercup in no-kill shelters, Joyce refused because she was now attached to her.
In the meantime, Buttercup thrived being indoors, and she slowly stopped over-grooming as she relaxed. But she was still severely sick with URI’s for quite some time. It took a lot of conversations between me and Joyce to convince her to get vetting for Buttercup.
But we did, and Buttercup’s health improved. She more than doubled her weight – she was at ten pounds. A few years passed, although I always called periodically to make sure all of Joyce’s cats, indoors and outdoors, were doing all right. Along with Joyce’s three indoor cats, we TNR’d 11 other outdoor cats. No other “new” cats showed up in the colony. Joyce’s indoor cats started getting along with Buttercup, even while weighing almost three times as much as her. Buttercup was holding her own and had a forever home. She looked fantastic.
About two months ago Joyce called and asked me to take her and Buttercup to the clinic because Buttercup was limping. I told her to take Buttercup to a full service vet because clinics do not cover extra vetting. I couldn’t take them myself – at this point I was constantly working out of town.
We figured Buttercup must have injured herself. I called Joyce a few times and she was getting X-rays done.
Today I learned Joyce euthanized Buttercup about a month ago. Buttercup’s left front paw swelled up, and after several x-rays and thousands of dollars of medical costs/treatment, the vet figured out that she had bone cancer and an enlarged heart. Additional treatment would have included radiation, and it most likely would have been too much for Buttercup to endure.
RIP Buttercup. It was not an easy road, but Joyce gave her a much better and longer life than she would have had the last four years. She would have been easy pickings on the street – no way could a tiny, sick, constantly wet cat have survived much longer in a Chicago winter.