Saturday, October 04, 2014

The Story of Edgar

Sometimes doing the right thing hurts.

Steve and I returned from the veterinary clinic today with an empty cat carrier and heavy hearts. Edgar (formerly known as Fred) had been through the proverbial ringer in the last couple of months. We captured Edgar in a cat trap, had his ear clipped and his manly bits neutered. We assumed that Edgar was a feral cat, so we intended on releasing him. There were two reasons why the release was unsuccessful. The first reason was that Edgar was a sweet and sociable stray. He camped outside on our side porch alongside two abandoned kittens this summer. (We suspected that they are his.) Second, he tested positive for FIV, which is the feline equivalent of HIV.

One Friday, Edgar limped to the door with a gash on his front right leg. We both took Edgar to the vet and he tended to Edgar’s wound. We kept Edgar with us until we found another home for him. Unfortunately, all of the local pet rescue organizations and shelters were—and currently are—overcrowded. And if we took him to the Humane Society, Edgar would have been put down because of his FIV. So we wanted to give the poor cat a chance.

Steve and I learned a lot about cats with FIV. Cats who catch FIV are usually unneutered males, as the virus is passed through saliva (as in a bite wound). Unneutered toms are territorial and tend to fight. Otherwise, as long as the FIV cat does not bite the others cats (and Edgar didn’t), there is minimal chance of transmission.

Besides the FIV, sweet and affectionate Edgar had other challenges. When he was nervous, he sprayed. Edgar stepped in front of the Lady Cats, ate voraciously, and drank a plethora of water. Edgar also experienced loose stools (a symptom of FIV) and he chewed his cat food on one side. (It turned out all four of his canines were broken.) Edgar twice escaped for a romp around the boulevard. Although the wound on Edgar’s right leg was slowly healing, he was still showing signs of discomfort. So, we called the vet and made an appointment.

Steve and I will always remember the sweet and resilient Edgar. We will take some comfort knowing that as he took his last breath he was not suffering in the streets. Instead, Edgar was with people who loved him. It was the right thing to do.



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