13 Sep

RIP Tiny Black Olive

When you do rescue, you never know what’s coming next. Take tonight for example: home for the first time in days after a long weekend, gardening on my terrace when I discover not one but TWO new members of the Rooftop Cat Cafe that is my apt. The new guy is polydactyl, and may be accompanying the new kitten that my cat sitter told me about yesterday. All of these beauties will be TNR’d next week! So at least no kittens this winter (paws crossed, anyway)

As I’m gardening, the cold that has been festering all weekend becomes worse and worse, so I cancel my attendance at Improv practice and settle in on the couch, planning to kick this cold with an early night….

…..until this dreaded text

“Sick kitten in front of Westminster and Glenwood RD. Badly off. Flies all around. Head wound.”

Ok. Jump up. Grab carrier, critter gloves, regular gloves, cat food, wallet, water, protein bar (dinner? What dinner?) and throw on pants and shoes (I was relaxing in my indoor gear which I wouldn’t be caught dead on the street in ). I’m running over to the location, texting the guy who sounded the alarm, hoping he’s waiting there keeping the kitten company in its distress….

No one is there. Except one very small, very sick black kitten, hunched over on the pavement, not even flinching away from the large black flies circling its tiny head.

No time to wonder what kind of person could see a sick baby animal and walk away. No time to think about how many other people walked by, stepping OVER the little one as it lay directly under their feet in the middle of the sidewalk. No time to be angry or disgusted or disappointed or any of the other emotions we rescuers experience every day doing this work.

So here I am at the emergency clinic. Olive is very sick, likely with FIP or advanced FeLV. She is jaundiced and anemic. She would need hospitalization, blood transfusions, fluids and IV meds just to stabilize, and the Vet said her chances for recovery would still be very slight.

So: spend hundreds (very possibly more) of dollars to try and stabilize this tiny body wracked with disease, or send her peacefully off and spend that money on a myriad other animals whose chances for survival are far greater? With such limited resources these are the tough questions we find ourselves trying to answer alone in the emergency vet office deep in Brooklyn late at night.

Not alone, not really–my rescue network is vast, and I love these people and trust their hearts. Together we text, call, and FB message, and we arrive at the same page–not without struggle. Every life deserves deep consideration.

So tonight this little kitten passes away peacefully inside, with people who care enough to stay with her and see that she isn’t alone, sick and in pain. She is wrapped in a warm blanket, and held and pet and crooned to while the feel good drugs pass through her system, so she’s floating on a warm cloud when her overtaxed and exhausted heart stops.

RIP tiny Olive.


No Vet, no matter how lovely, works for free. The care is expert and expensive and without charging a fee, the amazing Veterinarians at VERG South would not be able to continue to save lives, and save lives is what they do. We are grateful to them for their continued work with rescues–and if you can help Small World Animal Rescue pay Olive’s $250 bill, we would greatly appreciate it. Donate here for Olive and everyone else in our care. Hug your animals tonight, and thank you.