The Many Lives of Charlotte/Nabi

Blog author: 
Anne Zabolio

Charlotte has used up several of her lives. She lived with a woman and her little boy until they had to move into a motel that wouldn't take cats. She had just had five kittens and the woman, over the little boy's protests, took her and the kittens to a high kill shelter. Sometimes that is the best a person can do. I appreciate that she did not leave her on the streets. The shelter contacted Thundering Paws and we took them out. All the kittens got adopted, and Charlotte was spayed. She grew into a large, healthy, black cat with a lot of energy. She had successfully gotten pregnant and had kittens without developing feline leukemia or FIV. That's one life. Then she was rescued from a kill shelter. That's two lives.

Sometimes I think about what a cat would be like if he or she were a member of our species. Charlotte would have been an athlete: on the softball team, the swimming team, running track, playing volleyball. Most of our cats sleep away the day. Not Charlotte, she was always on the move.

Charlotte/Nabi

A family with a young son came over and fell in love with Charlotte, and adopted her. Unfortunately, they didn't realize what trouble Charlotte was getting into before it was almost too late. She stopped eating. I believe that the son, while not mean, was too young for her and too loud. She pined away and, before they knew it, Charlotte was very ill.

If a cat quits eating, she can, depending on her bulk, quite rapidly develop a condition called hepatic lipidosis, also knows as fatty liver disease. When the liver is not working on food, it produces fat cells, an abundance of which cause nausea in the cat. The main symptom of hepatic lipidosis: cat refuses to eat. The cure: eating. This means that we have to force feed the cat until she wants to eat on her own. I have used Charlotte as an example, so I used female pronouns, but males can develop this condition also. Without treatment it is always fatal. Usually treatment is successful if begun early enough.

The woman who adopted Charlotte called me and told me that she stopped eating. I said, "Bring her back," which they did. I took one look at her and rushed her to the vet. They put a feeding tube into her and force fed her for a week. It cost over a thousand dollars but was successful and it was well worth it! Charlotte returned to her healthy self. Three lives down.Because I didn't know if she would be happy anywhere else, I told Charlotte that she could stay at Thundering Paws the rest of her life if she wanted to, and that I wouldn't adopt her out again until I was absolutely sure she wanted to go.

Charlotte stayed at Thundering Paws for two more years after her escape from hepatic lipidosis, galloping all over, racing other kitties around, in constant motion. Thundering Paws is not small, but it is also divided up so some cats can stay in a quiet room and others can go out of the screened porch. She did the best she could, but I knew she needed more space.

Tom and Kristen e-mailed us that they wanted to adopt Camille. They had seen her on a website other than ours and didn't realize that she could not be separated from her mother, Felicidad. They only wanted one cat. But they came over to Thundering Paws anyway, just to see who was here. They went to every room and talked to the adoptable kitties. There were a few that they considered but no one stood out. Finally -- duh -- I figured out that they were most interested in black or mostly black cats. On a whim, I said, "Come meet Charlotte." It was love for all three of them.

I told them her story and they agreed to work with us to be sure she was eating. The best part, besides that they loved her so much, was that they have a 2600 sq. ft., two story house and she gets the run of the entire place! When we delivered her to her new home, I remarked that this house would make a fine "gym" for this particular kitty.

She's home, she's eating, she's happy, she's loved. Her new name is "Nabi," which means "butterfly" in Korean, a perfect fit for her!

Charlotte/Nabi
Nabi at home

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