If this story doesn’t pull on your heartstrings, we don’t know what will.  Agave was a 3-6 month old kitten who was found at the bottom of a trashcan in very bad shape. Tiny Paws, a kitten rescue in Stillwater, OK, was made aware of the situation and a volunteer drove four hours to rescue this sweet baby. In a region sadly known for literally “throwing away” unwanted kittens, Tiny Paws’ mission is to rescue and foster unwanted kittens as well as find forever homes for them. They also have an emergency fund set aside for those who have been victims of cruelty, which for Agave, clearly was the case.

Agave was immediately examined by rescue veterinarian, Dr. Mary Bowles, who is a retired Oklahoma State University Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist. Dr. Bowles diagnosed her with an upper respiratory infection, fleas, intestinal parasites, incontinence and bilateral posterior leg weakness, with right posterior leg deformity. Initial physical and neurological examination determined leg weakness is most likely both muscular and neurological in nature due to crushing. Agave was given pain medication, antibiotics and anti-parasitic medication as well as an immune boosting supplement.

Once Agave was stabilized it was determined, due to the deformity, her right posterior leg should be amputated. Amputation would give Agave the best chance at being mobile. Unfortunately, further evaluation and imaging revealed she had extensive damage and degeneration along most of the length of her spine. This new development was unforeseen and would greatly affect Agave’s course of treatment. At this point, the goal would be to enhance her quality of life, however long it may be. The only question was covering the cost. Although the many vets involved had offered either reduced or free treatment, the estimated cost of her treatment plan quickly soared into the $5,000 range. Between social media fundraising, Tiny Paws’ emergency funding and a grant from ISF, Agave will get the quality of life she deserves.

We all know that animals have an amazing ability to compensate for disabilities and Agave was no exception. She figured out how to move and scoot herself around pretty well just with her upper body strength, but ended up getting a pressure wound which then needed to be treated.  The rescue has been looking into the possibility of a cart to allow for better mobility. For now, she has a specially designed wrap which allows her to move while protecting her pressure wound. Degeneration has continued and has led to paralysis of her left leg and tail so mobility is an even bigger issue now. Despite Agave’s many challenges, she has deeply bonded with her caregivers and plays enthusiastically with other kittens. She is a happy girl who loves to purr and has captured the hearts of both Tiny Paws and ISF.

Agave continues to receive care 24/7 by the dedicated volunteers and vets at Tiny Paws. She has responded well to her medication which has reduced her tremors and made bladder expression easier for both her and the volunteers. They will continue to monitor her bladder health as well as monitor her spinal degeneration with regular imaging. Although she is no longer viable for adoption, due to her special needs, she couldn’t be in better hands. Here is what Tiny Paws had to say in their final report, “ISF has made it possible for us to give Agave a happy, pain free quality of life at the Rescue. Agave has gone from being a throw away in the bottom of a garbage can to a much loved and cared for ‘forever’ Tiny Paws kitten. You have made a difference in her world and she makes a huge difference in ours. She is a great teacher for us all.”

Written by Shandra Locken

Edited by Bob Stone