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Although most dream of warm, relaxing summer days, every kitten foster knows that summer brings a flood of emaciated, infected and infested little souls. And with that, a roller coaster of emotions, medicines, wins and losses. Emrys’ would be no different.

July 23: My new challenge and love. He is named Emrys. I looked that up and found out it’s Welsh for “immortal.” Let’s hope that proves true. It may be too late for one of his eyes, but I hope it’s not too late for him.

July 24: My little buddy Emrys made it another night and shows improvement. He’s on 8 medicines a day, plus subcutaneous fluids at least 3 times daily and plasma serum at least 4 times daily for a melting eye ulcer. He endures three baths a day to keep him clean from the endless diarrhea.

Still, he tries to give head-bumps and reaches for my face with tiny, dehydrated, biscuit-making paws. As if I’m the one needing reassuring. And, of course, there’s a whole group of cats and kittens where he came from. I found that out yesterday.

July 29: I spoke too soon about the melting ulcer. I think his eye just ruptured. Argh!

August 1: Emrys saw his veterinarians today because his bad eye ruptured. Saturday when I fed him, I felt it was breaking down. Then about 30 minutes later, it happened right there with me.

I hate to see an animal in pain. I was able to access medicine and kept him comfortable over the weekend; then, today, I got the confirmative diagnosis that the eye did rupture. While it’s trying to heal, it’s painful, will probably be sightless, and poses an infection risk.

The veterinarians think he’s stable enough for surgery. Sad, because I really tried to save that eye. All this suffering is so preventable if people would spay and neuter.

August 5: There is a red focalized point in Emrys’ left eye! Apparently, this means the eye is trying to heal itself. So, we keep on keeping on with the plasma serum and antibiotic drops. Meanwhile, we also cuddle.

August 12: Emrys’ eye is responding to treatment! The stain to access damage of his eye at the veterinary clinic was extraordinarily good. Not only will he keep the eye, but he also might have very minimal scarring!

August 21: Well, that was unexpected! Emrys is actually Emmy! I was so busy trying to get him well, I didn’t double-check the rescue’s designation of the kitten as male. Today I was checking ‘him’ for hair growth on the legs and saw… well, it’s more what I didn’t see. And, her eye is improving!

October 15:  Emmy is ready for adoption! She’s a healthy cream and white snuggler who prefers to stay out of the limelight but, when all is calm, the PURR BEAST comes out in this beautiful gal. Loves to play: check! Gets along with other cats: check! Smart and curious: check and check!!

Emmy has been through a lot of preventable pain and suffering in her short life. She managed to keep her eyes and lives to tell the tale: two checks, one for each eyeball!! As all of us — fosters, as well as those at shelters and rescues — know, being educated and trained may mean the difference between life and death for a kitten. That’s why the free resources that the NKC offers are so important. We all need to keep learning and working to save more kittens!

October 22, 2022: Adoption Day! I am so delighted for Emmy. She will have a feline sibling. Her new family knows her journey and promises lots of cuddles, play and love.

Spaying and neutering are critical to save more kittens because there aren’t enough homes for them all. Emmy was lucky.

Now to the next kitten.

Jennifer is a North Carolina based spay/neuter advocate and dedicated foster for several adoption programs, including Sheets Pet Clinic, a full-service veterinary hospital offering low-cost spay/neuter services and a foster-based cat adoption program.

Sheets Pet Clinic’s mission is to provide compassionate, high-quality, affordable veterinary services for individual clients and nonprofit animal rescue groups. The adoption program focuses on less fortunate stray cats and kittens, often medically fragile or special needs, living in groups where Trap Neuter Return (TNR) is used to reduce outdoor community cat populations. Thanks to Sheets, 185 felines have found their forever homes this year. The adoptions program is 100% funded by donations and is currently closed for admissions due to lack of funds and foster homes. Please contact Sheets Pet Clinic directly to foster or donate.