My Fortnight With Ponita

Before you begin, I want you to know that this story does not have a happy ending. It is a tragic story, and it’s meant to remind you how you should cherish every single moment you have with your pet and loved ones, and how delicate and heart-wrenching life can be, even when you try your best.

Because if love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.”

August 12th – As I always do after eating dinner out,  I was catching Pokemon on the way home. About halfway home, James hatched a Ponyta to my jealousy. We continued on our way when a very small black cat approached us. She was extremely friendly, extremely sweet, and loved to rub herself all over us. I quickly named her ‘Ponita’ as a joke, and continued on our way.

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Can you see anything other than a black shadow??

Well, she followed us.

And followed us.

And followed us all the way back to my apartment. It was adorable, her tiny little paws playing catch up with us, but she made it back. We decided to take her to a 24-hour vet just to check if she was microchipped and to our surprise, she wasn’t. I took her home, gave her some food in the kitchen (which she ate A TON of), and decided we would figure out what to do with her in the morning.

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Skyping with my mom and sister back in Vancouver

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August 13th-14th – I posted on several missing cat groups, called the Humane Society, read hundreds of missing cat posts on Kijiji, tried very hard to find out if she had owners, but it seemed like she was just a cat without a home. My sister would adopt her once she came back from Vancouver (a week!) so until then, she would hang out in my kitchen.

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August 14th-18th – Ponita became pretty well adjusted, and although she and Mackenzie weren’t best of friends yet, she was a very vocal and happy cat. Every time I would go hang out with Pon, as we affectionately called her, Mackenzie would sit in the doorway of the kitchen looking extremely grumpy, and every time I would try to hang out with Mackenzie, Pon would try to sneak into the living before the two of them would hiss and then run back into their respective rooms. I took a TON of SnapChat photos, videos, and even Skyped with her and my sister all week, but unfortunately didn’t think to save any of them.

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She was very happy to be in the kitchen, suntanning in the window all day, and would greet me with a tiny meow every time I came into the kitchen. If she wasn’t suntanning, she was eating, drinking, and pooing up a storm. I could not believe such a small cat could eat and drink and poo so much. She would follow me every time I walked into the kitchen, to the fridge, to the stove, and cuddled around my feet every time I tried to cook and wash dishes, she was very, very sweet.

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August 19th [One week after finding her] – After coming home from the gym one night, I happily opened the kitchen door, waiting for her meow, when I noticed that she was acting very, very odd. She had scattered her food everywhere, pooed outside of the litter box (which she had learned to use by herself on the first night), and was sitting in the corner of the kitchen. I tried feeding her, luring her with treats, toys, but she wouldn’t budge. After an hour of basically no movement, we brought her to the vet.

When there, we talked to the vet a bit as she did an initial checkup, and she spent an awful long time feeling her belly and using a stethoscope on her belly. If you haven’t guessed, it turned out our little Ponita was pregnant! She was very close to giving birth and expecting 4, maybe 5 kittens. Kitten don’t appear on Xrays until the 45th day of pregnancy, and the entire term of a cat’s pregnancy is only 62-67 days, meaning that she would be giving birth within the week perhaps two weeks at most. The vet asked if we’d like to get an Xray done, which of course we did.

Ponita
So many tiny spines in her belly!! KITTENS!

When we were looking at the Xray, everyone working in the veterinarian’s office had joined us in the examination room to take a look at our tiny pregnant cat. There was an intense rush of excitement and glee in the air, just knowing that this cat was carrying kittens.

We thought about it for a little while, but having become so attached to Ponita, we pretty much knew we didn’t want to surrender her to a humane society (kittens!). We decided that we would help her and her kittens until they were ready for adoption. This was one of the most exciting, exhilarating moments of my life so far. Knowing that there would be kittens, and we were going to be raising them, all of their tiny paws and tiny faces, it was extremely exciting, and terrifying at the same time. I kept on telling people that I wasn’t sure if it was a dream come true, or a nightmare.

That night, we moved her to Beechwood so she could get some proper rest away from Mackenzie and start nesting for her soon-to-be babies! It took a very, very long time to fall asleep as I kept on getting excited and ended up staying up reading up on newborn kittens and cat pregnancies, and just feeling the most excited I’ve been in my life.

August 20th – We went by the house, hoping that by some miracle she would have her kittens – she hadn’t, obviously. Our next step was making a nesting box for her, so we went around the house, looking for old towels (accidentally using several of my sister’s favorite towels, oops!), finding a box, and as soon as we set it down, she crawled right in and seemed very comfortable and alert.

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Her tiny tail is juust in view!

The next few days were uneventful, she  would sit in her box, sleep, purr, and that’s about it. She was always calm, very alert, and as far as we could tell, happy. We even went and found a much bigger and sturdier box, and she transitioned into the new box without any problems at all. During this time, my sister had arrived and fell in love with her teeny tiny paws immediately.

August 22nd – This morning, Ponita hadn’t been eating and her walk seemed a bit unstable. Because she was so close to giving birth, we wanted to make sure everything was alright so we took her to the vet to get checked out. After a very long wait for her blood work results, everything checked out. During this time, she got a bit impatient and pooped in the middle of the floor of the examination room to our horror and laughter. The vet came back with the news that she had a tiny bit of a fever, and we were sent home with some antibiotics, a feeding syringe, and some new types of wet cat food, in hopes that she would eat.

Well, no worries, as soon as I tried feeding her with the syringe and spoon, she ate like she had never eaten before, and everything seemed back to normal. We went to bed, happy that she had started eating, and hoping, as we did every time we opened the door, for kittens.

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August 23rd [ 1PM ] – She was in her box, sleeping, coming out to eat, and I decided to go back to my apartment to check on my cat, pack up some things, and get ready for my big move. My sister called which was pretty unusual, so I picked up right away – Pon was having a seizure. I told her to take her to the vet, and that I would meet her there as soon as possible. When I got to the vet, she seemed okay, and even the vet was a bit surprised.

They used a doppler (sort of an animal ultrasound) to check on the kittens, and we could hear the fast beating of their hearts all at once – together they made what was almost a tiny buzz. They gave her a calcium shot (pregnancy in young cats have been known to have seizures due to calcium deficiencies) and decided to keep her for a few hours just to monitor her. After no problems for the several hours they had her (and she had been continuing to eat up a storm), they called us to let us know everything was well, and to pick her up and bring her home.

[ 9PM ] – We came by to pick her up – she seemed perfectly fine. We had only walked about 15 steps, when the box I was carrying her in started shaking like crazy. We quickly turned around and ran back into the vet – but everything seemed okay. The vet said not to worry, and just to keep an eye on her.

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[ 9:30PM ] – Once at home, she ate some food, and was once again, relaxing in her box. I was working in the room on my laptop to keep her company when I heard a weird shuffling sound from her box. I got up to look at her – she was definitely seizing again. After about a minute, she stopped, and I called the vet immediately, and they said to catch a video the next time it happened because they were confused about whether we were actually catching seizures, or maybe we weren’t seeing something correctly because she had been fine for the past 8 hours.

[ 9:35PM ] – Not one minute after hanging up the phone, it happened again. I remember my hands slipping and shaking as I tried to open up the camera application to film her, but I managed, all the while asking her to stop, talking to her to try to calm her down. Once she stopped, I called the vet, and they said to bring the video over for them to look at. My sister ran to the vet with my phone and the video in hand, while I stayed at home with her.

[ 9:40PM ] – She walked out of the box, a little bit shaky, but eyes alert. She tripped over her own feet into the food dish, and knocked some water out of the bowl. I was getting worried, when my sister finally called with the vet on the line – it was vital that we take her to the vet right away, she needed Valium immediately.

After I hung up the phone, she fell over onto her side, and seized, very, very hard. I honestly don’t wish anyone in the world to have to watch their own pet have a seizure because it is one of the most violent, noisy, horrific things I’ve ever had to watch. As soon as she stopped, I picked her up as gently as I could, put her in the box, and ran to the vet whispering calming words to her, as my sister ran back towards the house so she could help me. On the way, we could feel it happening in the box again, but all we kept on repeating to ourselves was, ‘just one more block, we’re almost at the vet, it’s only a few more steps, just go, don’t think, just go as quickly as we can, it’s okay, just a few more steps, we’re almost there…’

At the vet, they gave her some Valium and wanted to run tests on her again. When they were out of the room, my sister and I discussed what we were going to do. Each vet visit was not cheap, and I’m grateful that we could be in any position to even pay for the visits, but it was something we had to keep in mind. Her seizures were terrifying, we didn’t know how to help. We were worried we wouldn’t be able to provide her with the care she needed, and at that realization, we knew what we had to do. We had done the best we could and that the humane society would be able to better provide for her needs from then on.

[ 10PM ] – The vet came back with the news that they weren’t sure why she was seizing and it could be due to a myriad of reasons, none of which need repeating anymore. In addition, it was recommended that she needed anti-seizure medication which could cause defects and issues in the unborn kittens. It was recommended that her pregnancy to be terminated due to the unknown affects of the medication, that she might need CT scans and further neurological help, and that she would need constant monitoring for the next while.

We asked what were our options for surrendering her to the humane society, and they said that it would have to wait until the morning. As the vet was not a 24-hour location, we could either take her to the 24-hour emergency pet care in Cambridge and have her hospitalization (minimum ~$500/night), or try to monitor her ourselves during the night and administer Valium shots our self if she had another seizure. We asked them if they could at least keep her while we tried to cobble together some sort of plan for the night and the next day – they agreed, but noted that they closed at midnight, so we would have to come back and take her home in about an hour.

Once at home, we searched up information about surrendering cats, James drove into Waterloo to help with the monitoring during the night, and we waited until 11:30PM to go pick her up.

[ 11:30PM ] – Back at the vet, they explained the pill she needed to have the next morning, to come back at 9AM when they opened, that she might be a little drowsy from the medication she already had, and showed us how to give her the Valium shots if she had another seizure in the night. We took her home in the box, hoping that she would be comfortable and not have any more seizures. We went to bed at 1AM after whispers and musings of what we planned to do the next day.

August 24th [ 5:30AM ] – This was a good morning. A very, very good morning. I slept very lightly the whole night, keeping an ear out for any movement, and even a slight adjustment of her would awaken me again. At 5:30am, she woke up after having slept soundly the whole night, and came out of the box. She ate everything that was left in her food dish, and drank a ton of water. After hearing her walk around the room, I went to the kitchen to refill her food dishes. After coming back, I sat down on the floor next to her, cuddled her a little, encouraged more eating and drinking – and she quickly polished off the food again. I managed to take a photo with her, despite my lack of sleep, my horrendous hair, and the terrible lighting.

I went back into bed, and for the next hour, she was walking around, eating kibble, even taking short naps and snoring. She had the tiniest little snore and it melted my heart just listening to her sleep soundly. It was like she was a normal cat. I couldn’t sleep, and so I went once more to refill the dish, this time also including her anti-seizure medication. She gobbled it right up, and finally went back into her nesting box. I managed to sleep for 30 minutes before it was time for us to take her to the vet for yet another checkup. It seemed that the worst of the storm was over, and that she was finally on her way to recovery.

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[ 9:00 AM ] – Everyone at the vet was happy to see she had an amazing night, and a wonderful morning. Everything checked out, she was happy, bright-eyed, alert, everything seemed great. This only made the decision we had made last night that much harder. We waited for the vet to print out her medical information so we could had it directly over to the humane society.

James, my sister, and I then began the long drive to the humane society.

[ 10:30 AM ] – After arriving at the humane society, I explained to the receptionist and the vet technician why we had brought her there. We knew we had given her the best we could, and now she had the best chance of surviving with constant care. If she managed to pull through, and have healthy kittens, they promised that we could come back and adopt them. We knew we made the right decision. After a retelling of everything that had happened since we found her, it was time for us to say goodbye. Her tiny paws, the little catheter that was in her leg wrapped up in pink guaze, her big, bright eyes looking up at us, her tiny face, her small body, the kittens she held inside her. I won’t go into much detail only to say that we cried hard, and that I wanted to pet her forever. The technician whispered as we were leaving that they would take care of her and help her as much as they could.

And it was over. We went home, wiped our tears, and tried to move on with everything else. Mackenzie didn’t know why I was crying, or why she had so little attention all week, but she cuddled up to me anyways. I ate breakfast, tried to take a nap, and started writing this story to remember her by.

[ 2:00 PM ] – I received a phone call – Ponita had another violent seizure despite the medication and monitoring, and the most humane thing to do now was to put her to sleep.

The last two weeks with little Ponita have been the fastest blur of excitement, love, and heartbreak I’ve ever experienced, but I am so grateful that I was able to spend one last  pain-free and happy morning with her. Give your pets an extra cuddle for me tonight.

Please consider donating to the KW Humane Society where there are a lot of other animals that still need medical help.

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