As hurricane season is about to begin again, we were happy to see an update from 2 kitties who’ve seen the worst of it. When Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria struck the Virgin Islands in fall of 2017, hundreds of animals were evacuated. And there were 2 black cats smack dab in the middle of the chaos. But these sisters weren’t only battling the elements to survive, they were facing possible death in the shelters.
Sweetie Pie and Gabby, the sleek sister black cats were evacuated from St. Croix with 130 other felines.
When they were pulled from the dangerous areas, rescuers could see Sweetie Pie wasn’t doing so well. She had corneal scarring on her right eye, causing her to have limited eyesight. Sadly, this was permanent but she can still see fine out of her left eye.
She was also dealing with Stomatitis, which can be extremely painful for the sufferer.
Feline stomatitis is a severe, painful inflammation of a cat’s mouth and gums. In most cases, the condition causes ulcers to form in the mouth; these ulcers can involve the lips, tongue, gums, and back of the throat. Cats of any age or breed can be affected.
There is no single cause of feline stomatitis. Dental disease (particularly periodontal disease) is commonly implicated as a cause of stomatitis in cats. Periodontal disease results from the accumulation of plaque (bacteria) on and around the teeth, which causes inflammation involving the gums and tooth support structures.
Sweetie Pie was unable to eat because of her untreated condition. Her sister Gabby was thriving but Sweetie Pie was clearly in pain. She couldn’t even do any more oral exams because her mouth was hurting too much. Her teeth and gums were severely inflamed, with hyperemic gingivitis around her teeth with purulent salivation. (Look it up at your own risk!)
They were deciding whether to put her down when Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society (MRFRS) stepped in to help the black cats.
Knowing that black cats usually have a more difficult time being adopted, their hearts broke for this girl up against so much adversity. Sweetie Pie and Gabby were welcomed into the rescue’s care on 10/21/2017. They refused to give up on her and were ready to try one last thing–removing all of her teeth.
As the rest of the world watched in horror as the hurricanes bore down upon the islands, many stepped in to help the animals. One of those people was supporter of the rescue, Nancy Canali. Nancy had met sweet Gabby when they arrived at the shelter, but there was a “catch” to adopting her. Gabby had to be adopted with her sister, Sweetie Pie. But with Sweetie Pie’s medical issues being addressed, Nancy had to wait to meet her.
Thankfully only 4 days later, Sweetie Pie had undergone her surgery and was finally on her way to recovering. Nancy was happy to bring both gorgeous black cats home with her. The two black cats weren’t only getting a new mom, they were getting some more feline siblings too!
This wasn’t the first time Nancy had adopted from them, and with their assistance program available, how could she say “no”?
Sweetie Pie and Gabby joined a 16-year-old tortie oriental Tori, and another kitty previously from MRFRS, Gus. He is an 8-year-old orange tabby male rescued from a hoarding situation with over 100 cats. Nancy adopted him from MRFRS the summer of 2010 and he’s been living the good life ever since.
Clearly Nancy has chosen a great shelter to adopt from, but what makes Sweetie Pie’s adoption different? With her medical issues and the ongoing care that she will likely require, Sweetie Pie has been included in their Care for Life Cat program. Nancy explains:
MRFRS and their vet will take care of any further issues with her mouth free of charge which helped to make sure she got adopted. They also helped to have them a paired adoption so sisters could stay together.
With the alleviated stresses of worrying about her future health, Nancy could ensure the girls days are full of peace and love.
Sweetie has continued to made great strides since coming home. She gained weight which gave her enough energy to start playing with the cat toys around the house–and now can’t be stopped! Living up to her name, her purr is “V8 motor loud” when she cuddles. She and Gabby love to run around the house together, I call them the House Panthers!
Thank you to Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society for helping the animals of the world. Special thanks to Jessie Alden for bringing the story to our attention. And thank you to Nancy for opening her home and heart to the sweet sisters (and their new siblings)! Regardless of their health issues, being black cats or where they came from, they are in the best place now. A home of their own.