By Savannah Verdon, RedRover Development and Engagement Coordinator
Sometimes opportunity comes knocking, and other times, unconditional loves come meowing. Six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Erica opened her door to find a little piebald kitten curiously watching her from the porch. Bright green eyes blazing, he sauntered into her home and adopted Erica and her dog Dante as his own. Erica named him Neptune.
His “cheeky personality,” as Erica described it, quickly won her over. Her little boy was full of life, and she counted him as her good friend and child. Despite all the difficulties of the world outside her door, at home these three could relax into a loving and joyful family.
Just a month short of a year after Neptune joined the family, he fell gravely ill. The symptoms he was exhibiting scared Erica – he was terribly congested, he had sores inside his mouth, and he refused to eat. It wasn’t long before he began losing weight, and Erica didn’t know what could possibly happen from there. She brought Neptune to the veterinarian, hoping to understand what he was suffering from so he could start feeling better.
The veterinarian diagnosed Neptune with a severe viral infection. The sores in his mouth were a clear indicator of calicivirus, known for causing upper respiratory infections and oral disease in cats. His symptoms could last up to three weeks, and while there were no medications that could treat the virus itself, it was important that Neptune receive antibiotics to prevent any possible secondary infections. Even more urgently, he needed to eat to get better, but the pain from the sores in his mouth made that nearly impossible.
Neptune would need to stay in the hospital for several days until his mouth healed and he could eat on his own. In the meantime, he was given antibiotics and fed with a syringe. Because he was still so congested, Neptune would panic every time the veterinary technicians attempted to feed him with a syringe. He couldn’t breathe, he was unwell, and he was away from the family with whom he felt safest – it was more than any young cat could handle.
After a week with little progress, the veterinarian spoke with Erica about the possibility of needing to let Neptune go. Up to that point, he was still hardly eating and had begun bleeding from the sores in his mouth. While that weighed heavily on her mind, Erica also had to worry about how she would pay for his hospitalization. After many long months of being unemployed throughout the pandemic, she had just started a new job, but she wouldn’t receive her first paycheck for several weeks. Still, she was determined to fight for him, and though he was clearly uncomfortable and suffering, Neptune was determined to fight for himself, too.
While the technicians attended to Neptune with care and patience, giving him time to calm down as they fed him little by little, Erica returned home to Dante so she could find help with Neptune’s hospital bill. With one good boy by her side, she searched the internet for organizations that could offer some assistance – anything to make the bill more manageable. Just when the stress of the situation began to catch up with her, Erica received two happy calls: the antibiotics were working, and she had been approved for a RedRover Relief Urgent Care grant.
Two weeks after first entering the hospital, Neptune was back home with Erica and Dante. She continued to give him antibiotics while he regained his strength and appetite, and soon enough, his silly and fun-loving personality had returned, too. Erica recently shared with us an update on Neptune and her words of gratitude:
“He is looking really healthy and is back to his cheeky ways. He just can’t go outside. He hates it but we have to keep him healthy. I was so thankful that I applied for help from RedRover as I was worried about the bill. RedRover gave me peace of mind in a difficult time and showed that they really did care about a cat like Neptune and his loving owner. Neptune and I say thank you so much, RedRover!”
As a FurEver Friend to the animals, your support guarantees that we can always keep pets and families – like Neptune and Erica – together through crises. We are looking forward to sharing more Happy Tails in 2022 from the animals who will get their second chance because of you.