A Lone Traveler No More
Imagine finding a taped-up box on your front steps on a freezing winter evening. Now envision opening said box and finding two golden eyes peering back at you. One Good Samaritan in Hudson, MA experienced this exact scenario in February 2023. Realizing the urgency of the situation, this humane hero immediately reached out to Baypath for help.
Our compassionate team sprang into action, welcoming the beautiful gray kitty into our loving care. Not only was a warm and cozy space created for this sweet feline, our skilled team also consulted our shelter veterinarian before beginning antibiotic treatment for frostbite. A staff member bestowed the name ‘Suitcase’ on the handsome new arrival, as he was found and transported to the shelter in a box.
While the staff was unsure of Suitcase’s age, they knew for certain he was incredibly affectionate, as evidenced by his climbing into their laps at every opportunity! Due to his unknown background and health, Daily Cat Monitor Sheets were used by our animal care team, allowing them to closely observe and detect any changes in Suitcase’s general presentation, eating habits and/or elimination behaviors. Noting an increase in drinking and urinating, potential markers of kidney disease, staff ordered a urine panel and senior labs. Suitcase’s test results showed signs of renal disease, a condition fairly common in senior cats. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, early detection and treatment of chronic renal failure is now possible, thanks to a vet-administered blood test and early-stage interventionary treatments.
Baypath’s Veterinary Consultant Andrea Moolenbeek, DVM, examined Suitcase to determine any additional medical concerns. Estimating his age to be approximately nine-years old, Dr. Moolenbeek also heard a Grade 2/6 heart murmur. Following exploratory tests to determine the extent of his heart issues, sweet Suitcase was diagnosed with a mild case of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). According to Vet.Cornell.edu, HCM is the most common form of feline heart disease. When detected early, HCM can be monitored with periodic echocardiograms and if needed, treated with medication.
With Suitcase’s full medical profile now in hand, shelter staff knew this senior kitty would flourish in a foster home. Wendy Jones, one of Baypath’s most dedicated cat fosters, agreed to welcome this snuggly senior into her care. Since 2016, Wendy has been a champion foster, regularly taking in adult cats with medical or behavioral issues, pregnant cats, moms with kittens and sickly or orphaned kittens. A true gift to Baypath and community cats, Wendy’s tenderheartedness positively impacts countless cats and kittens who need extra time to decompress and heal while waiting for their forever homes.
So what did Wendy discover about Suitcase in foster? As noted in his Cat Foster Personality Profile, Wendy witnessed this personable senior become much more outgoing – and agile! She excitedly explains, “he would climb and jump on all the shelves and boxes we have attached to the walls!”
Once available for adoption, Suitcase caught the attention of Kim and her four-year-old daughter – despite quite the unusual occurrence. Kim explains that during their initial meeting at the shelter, the tip of Suitcase’s frost-bitten ear fell off. Instead of unnerving her young daughter, Kim shares that her daughter said to her, “I don’t care that his ear fell off, Mommy. This is the cat I want. I want this cat because he is special.” Noticing the immediate connection between Suitcase and her daughter (photo left), Kim decided to make this adorable senior a permanent member of their family!
Six months later, Kim couldn’t agree more with her daughter. Constantly amazed at the kind and gentle demeanor of their new addition, Kim says that “despite his hard life before coming to Baypath, he purrs whenever he interacts with people.” Renamed Hugo, Kim is happy to report that their beloved rescue is playful, healthy and “a wonderful fit for our household! He loves watching birds, cuddling in bed at night, playing with toy mice and watching my kids play!”
Under the care of Kim’s trusted vet of 10+ years, Hugo’s coat is now healthy and his kidney levels are more stable. To maintain his long-term health, Kim feeds her precious boy a special diet, monitors his kidney numbers and schedules periodic echocardiograms. No longer a lone traveler on a cold winter’s night, Hugo now enjoys the comfort and warmth of home, thanks to Kim and her incredible young daughter. A happy ending to a local stray ‘tale’ indeed!