Sunday, April 15, 2018

A Very Special Sunday

Today is a special day. Today is a certain someone's birthday. Can you guess who? Huh? Can you?

Did you guess Eddy? If you did, you were wrong. Because today is Evan's birthday!

My handsome orange boy is 5 years old today (that is, he's maybe 5 years old today, because his exact date of birth is anyone's guess). That number 5 may or may not freak out this mom of Evan's, because, honestly, how is my boy 5 years old?!?

In all seriousness, though, I feel beyond blessed to be this boy's human mom. It's not in any way possible for me to find the words to express how much he means to me. He is my momma's boy, and he is my hero.

I know I've shared Evan's story on here before. I've shared it in bits and pieces, and I've dedicated full posts to it. But, for his birthday, I would like to share it again. I hope you don't mind. Many of you—or perhaps even most of you—already know this story, so I do apologize if I sound like a broken record. But, I'll be the first to admit that Evan's origin story is one that I love to tell, and one that I feel honored to tell. It is a special one, you could say.
As a quick side note: In a moment I'll be sharing some kitten photos of Evan that are, I apologize, of incredibly low quality. These were taken by a third party, and I failed to ever get the original photos from that person. All I have access to are some thumbnails of the photos, hence the low quality. That's not the important part of this post, though, so I'm thinking all of you wonderful folks won't mind.

So, let's start with the day I met Evan. It was just two days after Memorial Day in 2013. At that point in time, I worked at a cat clinic as a veterinary assistant. I was the first to work that day, and when I went to unlock the front door of the clinic, I found a small cloth pet carrier sitting on the front step. I thought it was empty, as I did not see anything inside, and it felt weightless when I picked it up. As I carried it into the clinic, though, I suddenly heard a tiny fit of hissing. Yep, there he was inside the carrier. My boy Evan was a semi-feral kitten who started out as an angry little firecracker.

Aside from his hissing, though, I noticed a couple of other things about Evan when I first met him. His eyes and nose were weepy and crusty with the signs of an upper respiratory infection, and he had severe diarrhea. Also, his hind limbs were paralyzed.

That wildly grainy photo up there was taken not long after I found Evan. He was roughly six weeks old, and he weighed just under 1 lb. To be completely honest, given how Evan looked, I told myself not to get attached, as part of me thought that poor, sickly kitten might not make it. After all, we had no idea what was going on with him.

That is, until I found a note attached to the carrier in which Evan had been abandoned at the front door of the clinic. It was written by the person who had left him there. It was short and simple, and it explained that Evan had been a healthy barn kitten along with his mom cat and litter mates. But, a coyote had made its way into the barn. Evan was the only survivor of that attack, but he was rendered paralyzed in the ordeal. According to the note, the person who left Evan at the clinic was a friend of the barn owner. They did not have the funds to seek treatment for this wounded kitten, and so they had hoped he would get a fighting chance if they left him to be found at the clinic.

So, at least then we knew what was going on with this tiny little kitten. We started treating him, which included treating his upper respiratory infection and diarrhea. Of course, his treatment also included physical therapy. Semi-feral kitten Evan was not all that keen on all of our handsy methods, though. And he let us know that. He quickly earned the nicknames of Shark and Alligator, as his teeth were his favorite weapons. 

That there is actually the first shot that was ever snapped of Evan and me together, during one of Evan's physical therapy sessions. We would try to help Evan stand on his back legs, to help him work those leg muscles, to help him relearn to use them. Some days, it seemed like he was making a bit of progress. Other days, his progress seemed nonexistent.

We got x-rays on Evan the day he showed up at the clinic. To be honest, though, these images were not all that useful. He was still a very young kitten with a very young body, and his skeletal system didn't have much to offer in terms of radiography.

As Evan aged, he grew taller and gained weight. This was of course great, but at the same time, it became pretty obvious that Evan's hind limbs did not want to support his increasing size. We would stretch Evan's legs and prop him up on his hind limbs, only to have his rear end tip to the side.

We finally got some useful x-rays when Evan was a bit older, and we could see why his progress was little to nothing. The damage had simply been done. One of his hip joints did not line up properly, and the other one had simply ceased to mature into a functional joint at all. He was also already showing signs of scoliosis, which was in large part due to the fact that his unique form of ambulation involved pulling himself around with his front legs while his back legs dragged behind him or to his side.

So, given the fact that he was not regaining the use of his legs, and given what the newest x-rays revealed, it was official. Evan was hind limb paralyzed, and he was going to stay that way. But you know what? He didn't care.

Kitten Evan showed little to no concern what condition his legs were in. He just loved life (just like he still loved the occasional hissing fit and biting frenzy, but that's beside the point). Baby Evan loved to play, and he learned that he also loved to run. Let me tell you, he could beat me in a race. At the clinic, I'd have to chase him around from room to room in the back just to round him up for treatment time. Not much has changed about that, in fact. Evan can still beat me in a race, especially when it comes to nail trimming time.

In case it wasn't obvious, I adopted Evan. Life with Evan may not be what you call orthodox, but it sure is an honor. What's more, Evan still loves life. He is one of my greatest inspirations. Nothing gets him down, because he simply doesn't let anything get him down. Though he may look different than most cats, Evan can walk, and he can run, and he can play.

Now, for anyone who's curious about whether Evan uses a set of wheels, the answer is no. Why? Because he let me know early on that he absolutely loathes having anything attached to him. I tried once. Semi-feral Evan came out to play during that trial run. He made sure I bled, and we decided against a set of wheels. But that's okay, because Evan has proven to me that not only does he not want a set of wheels, but doesn't need one either.

Just because Evan is hind limb paralyzed doesn't mean he doesn't know how to be a cat. I could give so many examples here, but let's go with boxes. If there was ever a kitty who loved boxes, that kitty is Evan.

Given that Evan is special needs, does that mean sometimes alterations need to be made? Yes, and that's okay. For Evan to play in boxes, for example, it's best if they are placed on their sides. After all, that simply makes it easier for Evan to get in and enjoy their confines.

Now, don't go thinking that Evan is land-bound or anything that. Just like any cat, Evan loves to climb. He loves to get up and perch and watch the world from above. With some strategically placed stools and calculated furniture placement, Evan can do just that. He can get onto just about any surface he wants with a few proper alignments.

Have I already said that Evan is my hero? I'm thinking I have, but I'll say it again. Evan is my hero. Like I said earlier, nothing gets Evan down. Where there's a will, there's a way, and Evan is proof of that. He has taught me so much, and there is so much more than he can and will teach me.

So, happy birthday to my hero! You have come so far, Evan. While you were once a semi-feral kitten with a taste for blood, you are now my snugglebug of a momma's boy (who may or may not sometimes still go just a tad bit wild, which is totally fine). Your mommy loves you, birthday boy!

Feel free to join our birthday bash, friends! We have lots of treats, toys, and nip for the occasion. Help yourselves, and have a beautiful day!

Our Doodle of the Day:

As we mentioned on Thursday, our doodle for today is actually the illustration for the poem I scribbled up for Angel Sammy and Teddy's Thoroughly Poetic Thursday challenge. I tried to strategically place some certain details into this poem to make it honor Evan for his birthday. You can read that poem here, and you can see its doodle right here:

Our Tip of the Day:

For today's tip, of course in Evan's honor, we'd just like to remind you all that special needs animals—or specially abled, a term that I find far more accurate—can still live happy, healthy lives in which they thrive. Specially abled animals can include those of all wonderful types, such as those with physically special attributes, like Evan. In addition, special abled animals can include those with known medical diseases or anomalies, such as diabetes, kidney disease, disorders of the thyroid, deafness, blindness, and cerebellar hypoplasia, just to name a few.

That all being said, if you are ever thinking of adopting, fostering, or even sponsoring an animal, don't forget those who are specially abled. Many of these animals are passed over at shelters, or even, sadly, euthanized. They are often deemed "imperfect" or "unadoptable", when the exact opposite is the truth. These animals may be different, yes, and they are indeed special. That being said, they also have so much much life, love, and lessons to offer.

Of course, though, we also have to note that when it comes to adopting a specially abled animal, always do your research, take all factors into consideration, and decide whether it is wise or possible for you to bring home a specially abled furbaby. Especially depending on their condition, these special furbabies can often of course live happy, healthy, long lives. But, again depending on their condition, their care may take additional effort, resources, and financing.

So, all in all, don't forgot those specially abled furbabies out there. They have so much to offer, and they can teach us all so much.


Erin the Cat Princess said...

Thank you for sharing Evan's story. He is one wonderful guy and a real fighter and we can see why he is so loved.... now all we have to do is get everyone to do the same for all the less abled pets out there. Happy Birthday, Evan!
Toodle pips and purrs

Anonymous said...

What a lucky guy Evan was to wind up being taken by a kind soul to the clinic AND to have been adopted by the "carer" who knew him best - YOU! We picked up on Evan's special attitude when we first saw him on your blog - he's mighty and fierce and a lovebug all rolled into one. Thank you for never giving up on him and I know that this guy will have a long and happy life forever. HAPPY BIRTHDAY EVAN!!!!

Hugs, Pam and Teddy too

Marg said...

We also say, Evan is such a lucky boy to have you the person that found him. That is such a wonderful post and it was fun learning more about him. I too thank you for taking such good care of him and giving him a wonderful home. So a very Happy Birthday to you Evan and we wish you many more birthdays.

The Island Cats said...

Happy Birthday to Evan! We love that he doesn't let anything get in the way of living a happy normal life. He's lucky to have you...and you are lucky to have him!

Annie Bear said...

Happy birthday, Evan. You are my hero too! I never tire of his story, so I'm glad you posted it again. Plus, I don't recall reading about his physical therapy and trying out wheels. Also, I never really saw his legs how they're bent in a couple of the top pictures. I always saw them as straight. Well, enjoy this very, very special day!

pilch92 said...

Happy Birthday Evan!! You are my hero too. And so is your mom for helping you recover and making adjustments around the house to make your life easier. It is hard to believe that sweet little face would hiss or bite. Cute drawing and excellent tip. XO

The Swiss Cats said...

We enjoyed reading Evan's story, thank you for sharing ! Happy Birthday, Evan ! You're a very special hero, and you're lucky to have found a wonderful forever home ! Purrs

Timmy Tomcat said...

Happy Birthday Evan! You are fur-sure our hero too. Thanks so very much for his story. It is so important to know that all cats, even those with a little this or that, are loving and wonderful additions to make a house a home.
Keep up the good work Evan

edie said...

Happy Birthday Evan!!!

catladymac said...

Happy Purr-Day, Evan ! And many more !

Melissa, Mudpie and Angel Truffles (Mochas, Mysteries and Meows) said...

What a story! Evan is such a precious little angel, and you are so incredibly lucky to have found each other. He is definitely a hero.

Seville at Nerissa's Life said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY EVAN! My, you really are one handsome lad... Not quite sure what it is? You're stunningly gorgeous colourin', perhaps? PURRS

ps. Love, love, LOVE that picture of you watchin' fish TV. purrs

Eastside Cats said...

I didn’t know Evan’s story, and I love him all the more for it! A Very Happy Birthday, you adorable ginger mancat!

meowmeowmans said...

Such a wonderful and inspiring story. Evan sure did find his perfect forever family there with you. :)

Happy birthday, sweet and heroic Evan. We love you, pal!

Savannah's Paw Tracks said...

sigh...I did not know about Evan. He is now my hero too. Such a brave marmie boycat. And so very handsome. Happy Birthday Evan

Lone Star Cats said...

Happy birthday Evan! And welcome to da 5 Year Old Orange Tabby Club!

Valentine said...

Evan, Happy Happy Birthday! Many cheers for you turning 5! You sure have shown everypawdy that nothing will hold you back. Your strong will and joie de vivre is wonderful! Mew Mew and purrs! -Valentine (& Mom) of Noir Kitty Mews

Cat and DOG Chat With Caren said...

Happy Happy Belated Birthday Evan! You have a pawesome Mama and this was a beautiful post! catchatwithcarenandcody

Anonymous said...

Evan, I am so sorry that I am so late in visiting! But I want to sing anyway
♫♪♥♥♥♥♫♪Happy Belated Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Belated Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Belated Birthday Dear Evan!!!!! ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Belated Birthday to you! ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥
And Evan...NOTHING can keep a good cat down! Rock on!