We lost Finn, a rescue cat, today to a feline virus. After months of vet visits and sweat and tears, and Kristie the foster mom’s sleepless nights and days of work and worry to save him, and a group of people pooling together enough money to try experimental drugs and pay for blood tests and whatever, we still lost him.
Finn loved to wait until you bent over to pick something off the ground, then jump and stand on your back forever. Forever. And when you tried to stand up, he would take out his retractable mountain climbing gear and latch onto you, lovingly, painfully, excruciatingly. But there was no malice there, he was just being Finn.
Depending on how he was behaving, he had many names. Finn. Fin-Fin. Finnergan. Finnster. I forget the rest right now.
He had sad-looking eyes that were always happy and content, I don’t know how else to describe them.
He never ran out of hugs, and he hugged like a human, or at least he knew how to hug like a human so that us humans would feel more comfortable around him.
Finn was young when he had to be euthanized. His organs were failing and he couldn’t breathe anymore despite the medication. Everyone knew he was in pain. He wasn’t supposed to suffer anymore.
I will not be talking about this on Facebook or Twitter. This isn’t about “likes” or retweets or shares or how well I can write and make people cry about it. This isn’t supposed to be news that you can swipe through with your thumb.
As for animal rescuers and animal foster parents and anyone who is truly dedicated to animals, I’ve noticed something different about this group compared to other groups. They’re always working. They’re always tired. When you take a picture of their lot, not one person in the picture will be grinning ear-to-ear or making peace symbols, or have a beer in their hand. No one will be high-kicking, or have perfect hair or makeup, or perfect clothes. They will not be posing inside Disneyland.
I write about them but am not one of them; I haven’t done enough to deserve that.
Their focus is not on what group they belong to. It’s not what awards they will win, or where they’ll get written up, or how color-coordinated their t-shirts are. Even though they have an amazing network of people with a variety of knowledge and skills, they’re not into “socializing”, unless it will lead to being able to help even more animals.
Their job and passion and aim is to help, save, and nurture animals, and to help people who need help with their animals. Their job is to save you a $75 vet visit when all you need is a $15 flea treatment or a steamed chicken and rice mix to help settle down your cat’s stomach until the diarrhea goes away.
Now that I think about it, these cat people all have war faces. The kind of faces you see people wear when they’re fighting a seemingly insurmountable battle against an unstoppable enemy. Sometimes the enemy is an insidious disease. Sometimes it’s the carelessness of other human beings. Sometimes it’s bureaucracy. Sometimes it’s lack of resources–food, medicine, donations, volunteers. Sometimes it’s our apathy.
Sometimes it’s the simplest thing, like a dismissive swipe of the thumb to skip past the sick cat that needs help, to get to the world famous cat that’s already getting ten million hits on YouTube.