Monday, January 11, 2010

Nubbins: Let's Go to the Videotape!

WHDH Channel 7: Kitten born without feet searching for home

Well, Nubbins is now on the teevee. Yes, it would seem that local TV news really is just about two things these days: (1) Mayhem – fires, shootings, stabbings, abductions, flayings, etc. – and (2) Cute – babies, puppies, kitties, chickies, duckies, basically everything ending in "-ies." This nightly Mayhem Cute Show launches viewers from a cannon of terror, fear, and loathing into a soft pillow of candy floss. Presumably all for the benefit of advertisers, and unscrupulous politicians.

And despite what the report says, Nubbins didn't "adapt to" walking without hind feet. He's lacked hind feet from birth! He's not a human, with the ability to discern anatomical norms and abnormalities. To him, not having hind feet is just the way it is.

Finally, you won't read about this or see it on TV, but Nubbins was a wicked pissah of a foster cat. By far the most difficult cat Helen has dealt with in almost three years of fostering cats for the MSPCA. The lack of hind feet was really the least of it. He arrived as a tiny kitten, constantly meowing for no apparent reason. His mother, who also stayed with us at first, wanted nothing to do with him. He was inconsolable, except inside a jacket or shirt. Outside of that, he meowed bloody murder. In addition, he shat all over the place, seemingly uncontrollably. Could not use the litter box. After a couple weeks, Helen was ready to throw in the towel. Some foster cats are easily adoptable. Some need a little bit of medicine or socialization and they're ready to go. Nubbins was a mewling, incontinent, hop-a-long basket case, and it looked like he was doomed for sure. But, to their credit, the MSPCA folks told Helen to bring him back in for a look-see.

It turned out that the constant mewling was due to ringworm (not a worm actually, but a fungus–the same fungus that causes athlete's foot). Poor Nubbins was in a constant state of itchiness—that's why he preferred to be inside a jacket, so he could wriggle around and rub against the fabric and get some relief. And the incontinence was due to a common and easily-treatable intestinal parasite; it cleared up almost instantly after he went on some medicine. Still, the ringworm meant that Helen had to don special protective gear and dip Nubbins into a foul lime-sulphur bath about three times a week for eight weeks or so. Our permanent cat, Tego, also had to be dipped once as a precaution, and they had to be kept strictly separated.

But, sure enough, under Helen's care Nubbins did start to get better. He stopped mewling. He started using the litter box like a champ. And he started growing and getting stronger. Since he was cooped up in a cage inside a closed room all by himself, Helen spent at least an hour with him every evening, usually watching an old episode of "Columbo" on her laptop.

Nubbins's last couple of weeks with us were the best. Reasonably sure that the ringworm was gone, we let him out of quarantine. He and Tego got along famously, chasing and playing and hanging out on the couch or on top of the bookcase. Tego has been a "big brother" to a lot of the foster cats that come through here, but he got along especially well with Nubbins.

It's a little strange to see all the local coverage of Nubbins. To Channel 7 viewers, he's apparently irresistable. To Helen and me, he's a huge headache that turned out well. We're glad that he'll likely be going to a good home with lots of carpeting.

1 comment:

Karlissimo del Banco said...

Nubbins looks like quite the troublemaker! I'm sure he'd get along *very* well with Sleater Kitteh. On a side note, that Channel 7 anchor's hair looks like an atmosphere re-entry heat shield for the apollo XIII capsule...

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