Nevada Humane Society’s 12 Saves of Christmas was introduced several years ago. It received an overwhelmingly positive response, letters of appreciation, and more, all of which came unexpectedly to us. We see day in and day out the difference we make in the lives of thousands of animals but we didn’t realize we weren’t fully communicating those lifesaving efforts to you – our biggest fans. Thus, the 12 Saves of Christmas was created. Now, every holiday season, we find ourselves receiving messages asking when our 12 Saves of Christmas begins. Without further ado, we present to you the 12 Saves of Christmas of 2016.
12 Saves of Christmas #12: Pirate the Kitten
Kitten season. Though it may be slang in the animal welfare world, it’s a real thing. When the weather is warmer, unaltered cats are giving birth, flooding shelters all across the nation with kittens. Here, it tends to run from March through November and you can always tell because that’s when we’re all about the babies! Providing care to them, placing them into foster homes, posting adorable photos on social media and watching them go home by the dozen. It’s a busy time of year, as we see thousands of kittens come through the shelter, yet it’s a wonderful time to educate people on the importance of spaying and neutering.
Born in June, Pirate arrived at Nevada Humane Society after a Good Samaritan found her and brought her in for care. She was merely days old and seriously under the weather. She had a bad eye infection, appeared to have trouble breathing and was sneezing up a storm. At such a young age an Upper Respiratory Infection (kitty cold) is critical. Pirate didn’t have a mom to help her so she had to be taken care of and raised by us. Our veterinary team cleaned up her eye, administered antibiotics, and sent her home with a foster family—who also happened to be our foster coordinator, Tara.
Tara works with kittens from all walks of life. As the program coordinator, she tends to take home those that we can’t always find a foster for, meaning, those with special medical conditions or who need extra care, like Pirate.
You see, as a newborn, Pirate couldn’t eat on her own. Because she had such a bad cold, she couldn’t smell the food. Because her eyes were so infected, she could barely open them to see anything. She needed to be kept warm due to her size and inability to maintain a good bod temperature. She needed medications to clear up her cold and eye infection, and she had to be cared for around the clock. Tara literally became Pirate’s mom.
Pirate’s cold eventually cleared up, but her eye infection did not. We chose to remove her eye for the best interest of her health, and goodness, was she thankful! She would zoom around Tara’s home, climb curtains, hide under covers and chase anything that moved. Pirate was becoming a normal kitten.
Then her luck ran out… again. Pirate somehow got a fungus infection.
Our fosters know all about this—the skin fungus that is easily transferred from person to pet, and is caught anywhere—from kids at school, playing outside or other pets. It’s common and easy to care for but tedious because it can take weeks to clear up. The skin fungus, which is basically just like Athlete’s Foot, requires a daily treatment but is best cared for by separating the animals from everyone else. Poor Pirate moved into Tara’s bathroom and all contact with the other animals had to be halted.
Through it all Pirate remained incredibly sweet and friendly and kept up with her tiny kitten antics—even though she was confined to one small room. She didn’t even care. She was just grateful to be there.
Pirate’s skin fungus hung around for a couple of months. Her symptoms went away and she looked great, but we erred on the side of caution because her skin tests kept coming back positive. Finally, she was given the all clear by the vet. Pirate was ready to begin her life as a kitten…. for the third time.
After seeing Pirate go through all that she did, and patiently nursing her back to health, Tara was ready to see her get the home that she deserved. Here’s the ironic thing…. that time is now. Pirate is seven months old and though she fits in well at Tara’s home and is doing fabulously, Tara needs to help other kittens, so Pirate is seeking the purrfect family.
Though we appreciate all of our supporters, our foster families are even more unique. They take animals in, keep them for days or weeks or months, and give them up. Then they repeat the entire process. It takes a special someone to do this but we wouldn’t be here without them. Thank you to our foster families for consistently going above and beyond for all of our underage kittens. You make a difference in more ways than you will ever know.