Dani & Sissy

Dani & Sissy came to us with almost no back story. Some kind but unprepared folks got in touch with RiverSong Sanctuary, thanks I’m sure to the stellar word of mouth reputation and network that they’ve cultivated over years of helping the most vulnerable. I will be forever grateful for their role in this and in saving so many others. I happened to be free to pick them up, and though I didn’t really have a plan beyond the first night, I met their rescuers and brought these two home with me.

The pictures of them in the cardboard box was taken in the car. That’s them when I had known them for less than a minute.

I brought them into a room that already had a three other cats living in it. One who had been declawed and is therefor unsafe outside, and two others with compromised health.

I spent at least a couple hours with them before going to bed, doing my best to make them feel safe, protected and welcome. I remember them being timid and at times scared, though playful too. And very hungry. At their age, the very fact of them being without their mother meant that something traumatic happened. They could have witnessed their mother’s death, seen her go missing, or come to realize after some length of time that she’s gone. And there we’re likely other siblings too who may have suffered terrible fate, and who at the very least these two had been separated from. All of these possibilities are heartbreaking and devastating, but at least these two were with us, and so I did my best to comfort them that night. The other cats were accepting and curious. At a certain point it seemed like they were as settled in as possible so I put us all to bed.

When I went in the next morning, all was well, but it was clear that they were still frightened and insecure. They had been through a lot and had yet to learn that they were in the place that would become their home. Dani seemed especially scared, but as soon as I held her for a while and helped her know that she was safe she started to settle in and became more and more interested in exploring her new surroundings and getting to know the others.

It was very soon, probably actually immediately, that I knew they’d be staying with us. Which they have, through all the normal stages of kitten development. They went from only knowing that room, to gradually exploring the house, to eventually, incrementally, learning about the outside parts of their home.

We had one health scare with Sissy back in September. She developed an ulcer in one of her eyes. It was actually called a melting ulcer, and it was as scary as that sounds. It was eating away at her eye. She needed drops of a serum made from her own blood administered every two hours, and some antibiotic eye drops three times a day as well, for several weeks. Helping her through this deepened our bond. The tenderest moments were in the middle of the night when we both had to wake up for eye drops.

Once again, infinite gratitude to RiverSong Sanctuary for helping me navigate this process. I was terrified that she’d lose her eye, or worse. But she made a full recovery, to everyone’s amazement.

Dani & Sissy are almost always together, often cuddling like they are in some of these pictures. From the day I took them in all the way to this morning. Because of this, they are a constant reminder of the motivation and inspiration behind this kind of work.

Because, for me, it’s impossible to ignore that two are incredibly lucky, and that for most orphan kittens things don’t go so well. So many things had to go their way in order to find their way to safety. Without the good fortune of encountering protectors along the way they could have easily died, ended up in a shelter, or become feral (which isn’t always bad but is often rugged.) And maybe the most heartbreaking thought is that they could have been separated.

Instead, they do have each other, and as perfect of a life as we can give them. Thanks to so many who helped along their way. And so I offer their story as inspiration and encouragement. So that we all can, in our own ways, be an ally to and a protector of the most vulnerable. The smallest amount of help can make all the difference in the world.

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