Six cats are making history, traveling from the Middle East to a cat haven in the Valley. More >>
The following story and pictures from Ashley Hartley and Zach Holden were submitted to KMPH.com on Wednesday, June 27, 2012:
Hello to all,
My boyfriend Zach and I live and work in Kuwait and have both been animal lovers since we were children. The population of feral cats in Kuwait is enormous and only getting larger. Zach has personally saved numerous cats from Kuwait and sent them to wonderful places in the states. We leave food and help as many as we can, but as all animal lovers know, you can't help them all.
Every morning on the way to work I pass dozens of kittens and cats and sometimes the occasional pup. All these mornings pass by and are forgotten except for the morning of March 12, 2012. While riding the company bus into work, stopping by multiple housing complexes, I looked up at just the right moment to watch a black and white kitten, no more than 6 months old, limping across the street. I could clearly tell his leg was completely broken. I gasped which alerted everyone on the bus to what I was looking at. Then I watched as the bus door closed and felt ashamed of myself for never getting off the bus. I spent the whole day at work thinking about the little black and white kitten and crying to Zach on the phone about how guilty I was for not getting off the bus.
After work, I decided to get off the bus and give it my best shot to try and find the kitten. I immediately asked the security guards in front of the complex if they had seen the animal and unfortunately the kitten hadn't been seen since the morning so, I gave them my number and was about to head home when all of a sudden he came limping behind a car. Unlike feral cats, he came straight up to me with the cutest meow anyone ever heard. He knew I was there to help him. I quickly got him home and put him in a cage and waited for Zach to come help. When Zach came he quickly called a Vet, who makes late night house calls, one of the only perks about living in Kuwait. He drained syringe after syringe from the kitten's leg. The next day, we took him to the clinic and the veterinarian put a deep slit into his leg and told us he must get surgery immediately if we want him to survive. We decided to get the kitten tested for FIV before we made any decisions. Right before the test the vet told us to wait outside; 5 minutes later he came back and told us the kitten was positive for FIV. Zach and I outweighed the pro and cons and decided to get the surgery anyway. That Friday his left front leg was amputated, he was neutered, and injected with a microchip. Immediately after surgery, I was instructed to take him home. Kuwait doesn't have the same animal care as the USA does. Once an animal is out of surgery there is nothing the vet is going to do. I was told if the kitten was going to bleed to death, he was either going to do it at the clinic or at home because the clinic did not have any extra blood. Also, personnel would not be staying at the clinic overnight with the kitten so, I was happy to take him home. Not knowing whether he was going to survive or not, right next to his bed of blankets I laid a mattress and slept with him for a week. Once we knew the little guy was going to pull out of it, Zach and I decided to name him Buddy Lee, Buddy for short.
A few weeks later, Zach and I flew home to the US and left Buddy with my roommate. Three weeks later we returned to find that Buddy had manifested into beautiful, loving and rambunctious kitten. He had gained a few pounds too; then again he wasn't street kitty anymore. After picking Buddy up we decided to go get his annual shots. However; this time we went to a different Vet clinic. When we arrived the veterinarian explained that he would rather not give an FIV cat his annual shots and the rabies vaccination because it would be hard on his immune system. All of a sudden I blurted out, test him again! As Zach and I stood in the room watching the vet draw blood from Buddy and drop his blood into a tester, the vet looked up and gave us the "fool proof" tester directions so we could understand what he was doing. He followed all the directions to a "T". Soon after he was done we watched the control line pop up and then NOTHING. We waited 5 Minutes and NOTHING, then 5 more minutes and still NOTHING. The vet asked us what clinic we went to and after we answered he just shook his head. The clinic had been known to lie to people in order to push their immunity supplements and treatments on caring owners. I quickly took a picture of the tester and hugged Zach, now we knew we could find a great home for him.
At home Zach had already two cats of his own and since I live in company housing I am not allowed to own any cats. We searched weeks and weeks for a home and unlike before we couldn't find one. One day, as Zach was watching Animal Planet, he came across this show describing this amazing sanctuary for cats, The Cat House on the Kings, he immediately called me and I knew this was the place for Buddy. I knew Buddy had such an amazing story and not only could this place help Buddy, but Buddy could help the sanctuary.
I hope that Buddy's story will find him great owners who will give him all the love and attention he deserves.
P.S. Below is a quick not from Zach Holden:
Keep in mind the living conditions here in Kuwait. These nice feral cats go through 5 months of summer where temperatures rise into 130s and dust storms sweep through frequently making breathing nearly impossible. It's painful enough for a cat just to survive the weather, but you also have people that will poison food to try to kill off some of the feral cats. Most feral cats here most likely don't make it past their first year of life. You will see people run them over on purpose with their car. I was a witness to that once before. Good thing I couldn't catch the guy who did it! Therefore, to save a cat from here and take him out of this environment and into a better place is not only a blessing to me, but also a blessing to the cat and to let people know it is possible to help and change an animal's life. They feel pain like we do and to just leave one behind is not an option for Ashley and I. I'm hoping we can work something out with The Cat House on the Kings and try to send some more cats from here to over there. It looks like a wonderful facility and these cats here deserve to be in a nice place and eventually find nice owners.
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