Dixie's visited the vet yesterday and was found to be leukemia and FIV negative and she's not pregnant. Those had been my main concerns, along with an upper respiratory infection, which she does have. The vet was so kind and gentle with my little gal. She said Dixie had lived a hard life, which I knew. What I hadn't known was how rough it had actually been. I asked the vet to check some small hard lumps I'd found on Dixie's right side. I felt them one day as I was washing her with a warm washcloth. I was shocked when the vet told me those lumps were bb's, no doubt inflicted by my wicked animal abusing neighbor who poisoned so many cats a few months ago. Back in October, when another neighbor and I discovered the cat poisonings, two different neighbors told us about this same man shooting at animals, particularly stray cats, with his bb gun. Now it seems clear to me why Dixie escaped the poisoning though all the other cats I'd befriended had succumbed. She had known to stay away from that house. The sad revelations about this wicked man just keep on coming. No wonder Dixie has trust issues!
There is no way I want or need another cat to tend, but Dixie has won my heart and she'll be safe here with me for as long as she needs my help. Perhaps I'll be able to release her in the spring. By that time she'll be well and will have been spayed and vaccinated. Who am I kidding? The truth is, when I think of letting her go, after the long months of trying to catch her, I know in my heart that's not what I want for her or for me. Now that I know she doesn't have leukemia or FIV, I don't have to worry about eventually allowing the other cats to be around her. She does indeed have some health challenges - earmites and other parasites, and the upper respiratory problem. She remains in isolation for now while those problems are being treated. In a few weeks she'll be strong enough to be spayed. I was sad to learn Dixie was missing some teeth too. She'll be having soft or canned food from now on, though I thought she was doing fine with the dry chow. The vet suggested she might be swallowing it whole, poor kitty. Dixie is a survivor and she's earned the right to live a better life.
I wish there was no need to keep taking in strays and nursing them back to health. It's not about the time and funds involved. What bothers me more is the fact that some people who have animals are uncaring, neglectful, and cruel. They either discard their pets like trash or allow them to roam, become pregnant or impregnate, acquire diseases, and eventually become someone else's problems. Unfortunately, no one can legislate kindness, decency, or intelligence. There are laws regarding responsibility, but the burden of proof always lies with the one who acuses another of neglect or abuse, as I painfully learned a few months ago. For now, I'll continue to do what I can for animals in need. I'm not alone in that crusade. Countless others, some I know and some I don't, have been doing this same thing for decades. One day perhaps we'll make a dent in the over-population problem. We can only hope and pray . . .