The Siesta Motel

Last week on Tuesday, June 21, 2011, I looked up from my work station by the plate glass picture window, and through the window I saw a woman headed to the front door of the vet’s office. This time, however, was no usual situation. The woman was on foot, carrying a cat in one arm and a kitten in the other, and it was almost midday, and we’ve been having near-record heat.  She was young, and thin, and looked like she could use a good scrub-down. 

I jumped up, told the other person who works with me to get a crate, and ran to the door to open it.  Obviously, she had her hands full, and certainly couldn’t take a chance on putting down one of the cats to open the door.

She stepped inside the door and said to take the cats.  I asked her what was wrong with them and she said nothing, just “please take them and find them a good home together”.  She shook her head, and started sobbing, and said “It’s just too sad to talk about”.  I told her that we weren’t the animal shelter, but if she wanted to relinquish the cats to me, I would take them to the shelter for her.  From the looks of her condition, she certainly wouldn’t be able to walk to the animal shelter with two loose cats.  I took her and the cats into an exam room.

She said that were living at the Siesta Motel.  I’d never even heard of the Siesta Motel, and it turns out that it’s about a block away from where I work.  I generally don’t travel in that direction, and I had no idea of the squalor that was only one block away.

Drive right around the building in the rear and another section of squalor appears.

We got the cats in the crate to regroup.  The woman said that the larger cat was the mother of the baby.  The mother was named “Me-mouw” and she was just a baby herself.  The kitten was named “Baby”, and she was perhaps 8 weeks old, but still nursing.  I asked if the cats were hungry.  She said yes, and added that the cats had fleas.  She said that she was leaving the next day to return to Ft. Lauderdale and could not take the cats with her.  The mother cat Me-mouw had a sibling, who was killed by someone who the woman would not name, as punishment to her, the woman.  She wouldn’t give more details than that, just that she was leaving.  She sobbed softly, and bent over to look into the crate, and told the cats that she loved them, and that they wouldn’t be abused any more.  She told me that the cats had fiberglass in them.  I said, like they got up into the insulation, like under a trailer, and have fiberglass insulation in them?  She just shook her head no and could not elaborate. 

So I got the cats some food, although the baby only wanted to nurse while Me-mouw ate the entire can.  Jennifer Byrd, for that was her name, signed off to relinquish the cats to me.  I told her to travel safe, and she left, a crumpled heap of a person, fragile as soggy cardboard that might break apart at any minute.  She crossed the street and sat down in the shade and the heat, and sobbed a bit more. 

So.  I got the cats settled into a condo, and set about to bathe them for they were foul with fleas.  The baby went first.  I bathed her several times in Dawn dishwashing detergent, and picked off not less than 50 fleas.  She weighed 1.5 pounds.  A healthy kitten will weigh about 1 pound for every month of life up until about 6 months or so.  This kitten was lagging behind, as was to be expected.

Mom and baby

Poor bedraggled baby after the bath looked even smaller.

If you can draw an upside-down triangle, you can draw a kitten's head.

This looks like the baby after the bath, but it's not. This is the mother. The baby is behind her.

Clean, full-tummied Mom and Baby patiently await their fate.

After a few hours, I took them to the shelter and relinquished them and reported the death of Me-mouw’s sibling. 

After a few days, I inquired after the cats.  Both tested negative for feline leukemia, and they await their fate at the shelter.  There’s a big adoption event this weekend called Catapalooza.  Cross your fingers.


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5 Responses to “The Siesta Motel”

  1. Becky Says:

    Ev’s quote “God love their little hearts” comes to mind with this one. Sending mama cat, kitty, and Jennifer positive thoughts and prayers.


  2. Leo Says:

    Just sort of wondering how you know when your triangle is upside down?


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