This Cat Rode A Bicycle!

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A Wrong Label Changed Our Lives!

May 15, 2014 started out just like any other day. We did our intake of the day’s animals who were here for surgery and dental care. There was a very nice lady who transported two cats from the Nelson County SPCA/Humane Society Almost Home Adoption Center for dental care.

During the intake process, our Office Manager Elaina noticed that the kitty labeled ‘Maureen’ was supposed to be a tuxedo cat. This cat was definitely a tiger tabby. The transport person called the shelter, and lo and behold, they accidentally sent ‘Maude’ instead of ‘Maureen’!

Maude was suffering from an Upper Respiratory Infection, so she was not a candidate for dentistry that day. Since the drive from the shelter was almost two hours, the transport person had planned to spend the day in Richmond. She asked if we could please keep Maude with us for the day. ‘Sure’ we said, ‘no problem’.

Deaf Cat Screeches Her Way Into Our Hearts

Maude was loud…very, very LOUD. Whenever you walked past her kennel, she screeched insistently and thrust her arm through the grate to draw you over. Elaina and I decided to take her up front with us so she could get the attention she was demanding and the doctors and technicians could get a little quiet.

We came to learn that Maude was deaf and had been declawed in the front. Thank goodness Nelson County had rescued her from the mean streets. She also had quite a hobbling limp..the result of a broken leg that had healed on its own at some point in her life’s journey. Maude appeared to be of an advanced age, they were guessing 15. She also suffered from hyperthyroidism (a very common condition in older cats).

In short…she was a hot mess. And yet…there was something about her. As the day drew on, I called Mz. Bette at Nelson County and inquired about adopting Maude. I have worked here for seven years and this is the one and only time I took someone home and added to my family. But then Maude was certainly a ‘one and only’ cat. Mz.

Bette was soo excited!

They were sure Maude was destined to live out her remaining days at the shelter…that no one would adopt such a crazy old lady…but adopt her I did!

Now I had to get her home.

Growing up in a big city, I never learned to drive a car. Consequently, I ride a bicycle to work. I put her in a harness, strapped her into a baby sack, and off we went.

I would never even attempt this with my other two cats, but Maude was such a character I thought ‘let’s give this a try’. Maude loved it! She complained a little during the ‘suiting-up’, but once we got going she really loved it!

Now It Was Time To Address Her Medical Issues

The two incredible women I work for jumped right in to treat Maude’s medical problems. They gave her a course of antibiotics to treat her URI.

Once that was clear, she had surgery to remove her compromised thyroid and received dental care. Amazingly, she had all of her teeth and needed no extractions! She recovered very quickly from her procedures and began to thrive in her new life.

She ignored my other two cats and was impressed by absolutely nothing…well, except chicken. Maude rode into to work with me every day and stayed in the front office helping myself and her Auntie Elaina with our duties. On the weekends, Maude and I enjoyed riding my bicycle to yard sales searching for bargains.

On one such outing we found child sized wooden steps so she could climb up into bed more easily. She would also go to weekend marketing events with us to help spread the word about Helping Hands.

She was a valued team player and would happily wear costumes and pose for Facebook posts, such as the ones below for Veteran’s Day and Halloween 

Her Auntie Elaina was so smitten by her, she even had a professional photo taken of Maude (or my Shady Ole Lady as I liked to call her).

Two Years And Three Months

When I adopted Maude, I thought it would be more of a hospice situation. I thought she would maybe live six months and I would make her comfortable and spoiled rotten. Her Auntie Elaina definitely saw to the spoiled rotten part 

She quickly became such a part of all of our lives, we didn’t know how we ever lived without her. The owners of Helping Hands did frequent blood work on her, monitoring both her remaining thyroid, and her kidney levels.

The values would slowly, steadily creep upward, but Maude found great comfort in simple, injectable famotidine.

She continued to rule the roost and screech her insistent demands until one of us humans (or staff as she thought of us) complied. As we hit our two year anniversary together, her quality of life was slipping and her other thyroid had become compromised. I was faced with he decision of medicating her daily, or having the remaining thyroid surgically removed to give her some more, medication free time.

Since she had breezed through the surgery so easily two years prior, I chose the surgical option. It was clear as soon as she was in recovery, this surgery was much harder on her. Even though she had more than two years of steady, quality nutrition and medical care, her estimated age was at least 17 years old and her little body was just tired.

Maude failed to thrive after surgery, stopped eating or being able to keep food down so I made the decision to let her go.

She went peacefully and quickly.

That was 13 months ago. Although I am still heartbroken, I would adopt her again in a second. Two years and three months is such a brief time to have a beloved pet, but the awesomeness she brought into my life and the care and comfort we were able to provide her in her last years will stay with me forever.

She lives on as a Helping Hands Ambassador as she and her cherished Auntie Elaina are forever on our brochure:) Thanks for the time, the adventures and the memories my Shady Ole lady…there will never be another Maude