PeopleCats of TopTropicals

Story of Abu, the Quiet Fighter

By Kristi VanBenschoten

Since the first columns about Raja and her brother Abu were published in our Blog, we have been getting many letters from gardeners-slash-cat-lovers asking questions about those heroic kitties... what have they been through and what happened after?.. So we asked Kristi to tell us the whole story in full. She came up with the Story of Raja (part 1 and part 2), and today's story is about Raja's brother - Abu.

PART 3. Abu, a quiet fighter

Where Abu came from: see original Blog column and Story of Raja

...Abu started out a quiet reserved little man. From the beginning you would find him in the quarantine room snuggled under his thick blanket sleeping. Abu did not like to ask for help but was grateful when you gave it. We tried to help him use a toilet while his leg was casted and getting into the letterbox was a challenge for him... However, he was too orthodox in his views to believe he needed help. At times he would hold his bowel movements for days so he didn't potty on the floor. So, when he had accidents on the floor, we would quietly clean it up acting as if we did not know where it came from to avoid any embarrassment for him. At dinner time, we would hold his dinner for him so he could eat until his little belly was full.

Abu was a quiet fighter; but his disposition was more of Roosevelts: Speak softly and carry a big... "sick“.

When Jamie and I finally found a vet who could help him, his infections had eaten away his joints so badly that one of his legs was just hanging. Dr. Andrew didn't sugar coat the outlook. He gave him a thirty percent chance of walking again. We had not seen Abu walk for a least a month at this point. Still, we had overcome worse odds than this.

Abu was the worse off of the two kittens and I was extremely worried that the three days the doctor gave this new medicine to work was not going to be enough. The morning after the first dose was given, I woke up like a kid on Christmas morning... Dressing quickly, I went to the kitten’s room to see if there was any change. Abu was still laying down, not getting up on his own. As I looked over his little body, I made my way to his swollen little wrist to see if there was any change. I couldn't tell if my eyes were playing tricks on me, but I thought I saw some swelling going down in his wrist... Later I grabbed Jamie to see if she saw it too. Jamie said, just give him his three days. One of the hardest things was just sitting and waiting, giving things time to work out.

On the second day of medicine, I could definitely see improvement in his wrist, this was encouraging though I did not want to get my hopes up. On the third day of medicine, I brought his dinner out and as I sat down on the floor to feed him, he sat up on his front paws. Excitement took over as I yelled for Jamie in the living room. It wasn't fully standing but this was the furthest we had seen him on his paws in a month! Could it be that the medicine worked?

Day after day he started to improve, and his personality became more playful. Still very guarded, but was playing with his sister Raja!

He could still not fully stand yet but he would play with her laying down, and he loved his lama toy. Finally, after about two weeks, Abu was fully up, walking and playing! He was not the biggest cuddle bug, but after what he went through, who could blame him?

We went back to the vet after about a week and at that time extended the medication dose for another two weeks. Once we got home, we decided it was finally time to introduce this little guy to the rest of the cats.

For Abu it was like he had known the other four cats in the house his whole life! As soon as he walked in, he was trying to give loves to all the cats around him. Unfortunately for Abu, they all did not have the same first impression. Abu received a few warning smacks from Charlie, but he just sat down and gave her a curious look as if to say “not sure why your mad at me but I will wait.”

Surprisingly, after a few days everyone thought nothing new of Abu being around and welcomed him into their indoor PeopleCat family. Abu took very fondly to our other two male cats Biggy and Muggle and you would often times find them napping together.

After three weeks on the medicine, we brought Abu back to Dr. Andrew for a checkup. Abu was ready to come off the medicine. We went home grateful it was all over, and for a week it was...

One morning I walked in to the kitten’s room and as Abu jumped off the bed, I noticed he started limping... I thought to myself maybe he just hurt himself on the jump down and waited for a day. Unfortunately, he was no better the next day and we had to bring him back to the vet. The infection was back and Abu was put back on his antibiotics and a new medication...

Abu spent another couple of weeks on the medication and finally got to leave all that behind him.

Abu is still infection free. The night we brought Raja home for the last time Abu laid his head in the palms of my hands and fell asleep. This is where he has slept every night since. As Abu grows, he learns more and more about cuddling. He jumps, climbs and runs just fine and you would never know he had anything wrong with his legs!

Abu now follows me around everywhere, sticking closely by my side, moving from room to room. He refuses to ride on my shoulder like his sister though... He likes his feet planted firmly on the ground. He loves butter and if you leave it anywhere on the counter, he will find it, and he will run off with it. He now cuddles while you watch TV and he loves bed time, or nap time, or anytime - you would just like to lay in bed and give him attention.

This is just the beginning of Abu's story (although already full of adventures), he is still young and full of life and ready to live it.

He has taught us so far though that:
1. To win the fight, you don't have to be loud - just have to be steady.
2. There is nothing wrong with making someone earn your love.
3. There is always time for cuddles.
4. Everything is better with butter.