On November 3rd I received a transport plea that 2 cats were needing a rescue ride from a local shelter to Austin Pets Alive! As someone who loves being a transport volunteer, I jump at the chance to give "Freedom Rides" whenever possible. I didn't know anything about the cats I was helping, and I couldn't even see them since they were brought out in cardboard carriers - and for safety I seldom actually peek. Like many volunteers, I enjoy keeping track of where the animals I transport end up & when they get adopted. This is the story of one of those cats I transported that day: Neo.
Neo was a senior at 8 years old, considered hospice due to some medical issues, with what appeared to be lymphoma. He was quickly losing weight in the shelter, needed a full medical workup, and a calm & loving foster home, or "fospice" placement.
When he arrived at the APA! Medical Clinic for his first exam, to say he was underweight was an understatement! He weighed 6 lbs, clearly half of his healthy weight. He was reported as having chronic gastrointestinal issues making weight gain difficult. An ultrasound revealed he had free fluid around the left kidney and enlarged lymph nodes. One consideration is that he likely had lymphoma. Luckily a "fospice" foster was already lined up - someone experienced with end of life feline care.
In his foster home, his GI issues cleared up rather quickly, but his foster noticed that he had mouth pain which made mealtime a challenge. As it turns out, he also had a condition called stomatitis, a severe, painful inflammation of mouth and gums. Stomatitis is something that APA! sees on occasion and it's thought to be caused by the cat’s immune system attacking its own oral tissues. One of the most effective ways to treat stomatitis is a full dental extraction. After Neo had his teeth removed, he rapidly began gaining weight.
As Neo's health continued to improve, the APA! Medical Team scheduled him for a follow up ultrasound. Nearly all the fluid around his kidney was gone! Hospice schmospice!
Neo's foster wrote, "Hospice is the most rewarding thing I do in my day to day life, but the best part is when a cat who you thought was terminally ill ends up going on to their forever home like Neo! He was matched up through the Cat Matchmaker program with the perfect family. Neo was always the sweetest and most gentle cat, and was described on his stray intake notes as 'coming right out of the feral box to solicit pets' - this demeanor never changed no matter how sick he got, or even during surgery recovery! He used to sleep under the covers with me at night and gently paw at my face to wake me up for more pets in the morning."
And his adopters? Here's what they say about Neo:
"He just goes wherever he wants all over the house. He sleeps on the boys' beds at night, switching back and forth between them every now and then. They like it, and he likes it. Neo is a super-nice guy (as you know) and he's getting along with everyone really well. Good job with the APA! matchmaking, for sure."
Neo is just one fantastic story that combines all areas that make the APA! organization work: volunteers, special fosters, APA! Medical Staff, the matchmaker program to ultimately get what every pet deserves...an adopter. It's so rewarding to be a part of a team with a great mission.
Thanks to Natascha (foster), Dr. B (APA! vet), Charlotte (Matchmaker) and Matt (Adopter).