It all began Valentine’s Day 2012; a day of romance, happiness, wine, chocolate, and flowers. Adam Gilmore had all the bases covered, especially the large bouquet of beautiful flowers that he brought home to his sweetheart, Lindsay. Going against the trend of a dozen red roses, Adam chose a variety of fresh flowers containing one lovely Lily. The scent from it was intoxicating and the pollen-rich stamens hung heavily outwards, luring any passing pollinator – or, in absence of a bee, Toby the 2-yr.-old cat.
Toby was Lindsay’s rescue kitty. He was a big, fluffy, longhaired beauty. Orange and cuddly and friendly. And very attracted to the beautiful lily.
It took about a week for the symptoms to begin. A decline in appetite was first, followed by lethargy and weight loss; Toby was so tired. Lindsay couldn’t understand what was going on. A visit to the vet diagnosed the problem – acute renal failure i.e. kidney failure – but the prognosis wasn’t good. Such conditions are generally fatal, or leave the patient with lasting issues. And then the vet told her why…the Lily. The entire lily plant — leaf, pollen and flower — is poisonous for cats. Eating just a couple of leaves or licking a few pollen grains off their fur can quickly cause kidney failure. Little did Lindsay know that her Valentine’s bouquet was deadly. She was heartbroken.
And so began the long road of treatment for Toby. He was immediately hooked up to IV and kept in the clinic. Every morning and night Lindsay would bring him yogurt, and as his condition improved she mixed ground-up cat food to get his taste back. Eventually, Toby made the journey home although his prognosis was still not determined; he had to learn to eat on his own again and heal on his own time.
To monitor him, Lindsay slept with him in a separate room from her other cat – and Adam. The first time she heard Toby eat on his own is etched in her memory; such a simple task that she took for granted a few months before was now a precious gift. But the moment of truth came when he looked up at her, held her gaze, and then reached his paw up and started playing with the zipper on her sweatshirt -time stood still – and it was then that she knew he would be OK. After a final visit to the vet to determine if his kidneys were fully working, Toby was given the thumbs up. Luckily, he was one of the survivors who had made a full recovery!
Flash forward, Valentine’s Day 2013: Adam Gilmore is now completely off the hook for flowers at Valentines in perpetuity! Kitties and Lilies don’t mix.
As the saying goes, “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure”. This is certainly the case for Mary Hetherington’s Chihuahua, “Mr Magoo”. Affectionately and aptly named, Mr Magoo is blind, similar to the cartoon character of the same name. But what really makes Mr. Magoo special is the manner in which he came into Mary’s life. One day Mary and her husband Jim were walking down the street to the local market and they passed by a garage sale – and really, who can pass by a garage sale without stopping?
Although they didn’t see anything worth buying, they were drawn to the long-haired Chihuahua that accompanied the owner of the garage sale. Similar to the long-haired Chihuahua that they had just given up to their daughter upon her moving out of the house, they were missing and reminiscing about “little Miss Molly”. Much to their surprise and delight, the owner asked if they would be interested in taking Mr. Magoo home with them. And so, Mary and Jim went home with a dog from the garage sale!
As the saga of Mr. Magoo continues to unfold, Mary is presently outfitting him with doggles and a helmet in preparation to ride to their trailer with them this summer aboard their motorcycle… Mr. Magoo may be short-sighted – but he can still feel the wind in his hair!
“Kai”, short for “Kaiser”, which is short for “Kaiserschmarnn” (it’s a long story for another time!!), came into this world as a tiny, feral kitten found in a client’s backyard. Abandoned by its mother, Kai required bottle-feeding from a very early stage and came to the clinic in a suppressed state of health. His success story is all because of the exceptional care and fostering by Alli McEwan, one of the vet techs at the Cornell Animal Hospital. Alli devoted much time and effort to helping Kai regain his health and well-being while he stayed at the clinic. But more than this, Alli socialized Kai to such an extent that, when it came time for him to be given up for adoption, Dr. Gemmill just couldn’t let Kai go; he was literally curled up on his shoulder!
And so began a new life for Kai…
Introduced into Dr. Gemmill’s home amongst his other feline friends, Kai quickly won over their affections – and the rest of the Gemmill household. But little Kai was not to stay that way for long. With good nutrition, Kai started to grow – and grow – and grow. Larger than many small dogs, Kai stretches out like a small tiger. He throws his front legs around one’s neck in an embrace and then languidly allows himself to be flopped over a shoulder or neck and carted around like a pet snake. He is an incredibly loving and relaxed cat – and still he continues to grow!
Starting out as a little peanut of a kitten, Kai has emerged into a gigantic cat of mammoth proportions with a personality and heart to match, all because of the efforts of Alli and her vision for the little cat that “could”! Thanks Alli.