June, a Special-Needs Cat & Unexpected Gift

June is resting in one of her favorite places, a window-seat. She's a white cat, extremely thin because of her medical problems and difficulties surviving on her own outdoors. The sun is shining on her, warming her.

June was an unexpected gift. Seven months ago, a rescue shelter called to ask if we would care for her. They couldn't contend with her medical problems and could find no vet, clinic, facility, or family to take her.

We went to get her but had to hospitalize her almost immediately. Prior to the shelter rescuing her, she'd been left outside, old, deaf, and declawed, amongst predatory dogs, by someone who wanted to get rid of her. June is walking from left to right, on a wooden floor, looking at the
    camera. Her back legs can't extend fully so she walks with her back end
      low to the ground.She had toxoplasmosis, viral pneumonia, hepatitis, a heart murmur, malnurishment, ulcerated and infected eyes, and serious complications. Within weeks she had 2 emergency surgeries. Before the first, the surgeon told us that she had perhaps a 1% chance of pulling through. She later told me that June had more will to live than anyone she'd ever seen.

A close-up view of June's face. The camera didn't pick it up, but she's purring loudly while this picture was being taken. (Of all the cats who
    have lived as part of our family, June, who was deaf, had by far the
    loudest, most wonderful purr.)When she was home from the hospital we turned our front room into sort of an intensive care unit, with elaborate procedures (surgical gowns, surgical gloves, etc., as well as special disinfectants for both germs and viral agents) to ensure that we don't infect the other special needs dogs and cats that live in our home. She needed meds every four hours round the clock in addition to frequent tube feedings. Later as she got better and began eating without the tube, we would hear her going "waaaaaaa" several times a night for the next couple of weeks to wake us up to feed her (after which she'd nuzzle, purr loudly, and slip back to sleep).

June is lying down on a chair, another of her favorite places, facing the camera.When she grew well enough to join with the others, she became special friends with Dharma, a small friendly dog (!), and went with him to explore every room in her new home. She had problems with her back legs, couldn't stand fully upright, and wobbled as she walked, but made her way wherever she wanted to go. She liked being on an old second-hand piano, would nap during the day on a computer keyboard, and would get onto the seat of an old rocking chair and rock herself.

While other cats love lying on top of a computer monitor, where it's niceand warm, June preferred to lie down on the computer's keyboard. Here she
    is stretched across the keys, awake after a nap.After trying out several places to sleep, she climbed onto the bed and slept at my feet for several nights. Then she would lie against my side or back to sleep. Finally she would wait until I was asleep and then climb onto my stomach to sleep. She was so frail and light I would only notice her there when I woke up.

This photo was taken from above a circular cloth pet bed about 15 inches in diameter, whose sides were about 6 inches tall and lined with textured cotton. A friend had given it to us for one of our small dogs. June, who is curled up in it, notified the dog that he was free to use it any time she wasn't around.Within the last few days, her liver and kidneys began to give out and she had to go into the hospital again. Everyone in the hospital--the vets, the specialists, the techs, the clerical workers--all knew and loved June. They'd called her a miracle cat and everyone hoped she'd somehow be able to make one more seemingly impossible come-back. But none of the interventions helped and she grew weaker and weaker. June is lying down in a rocking chair, all curled up, but with her head raised, looking toward the screen. As with so many of these pictures, the camera didn't record it but she was purring very loudly.Her body just gave out and she passed away as I was cradling her in my arms. She was with us just 7 months, but gave us--and still gives us--more joy than I ever would have thought possible.

Please follow this link to the family of special needs dogs and cats who live in our home.


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