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Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:

In December, Marvin was pulled from the municipal shelter in New York City. I met him in early February when I joined the “kitty care team” to care for a group of adoptables at a PetSmart store. When I was helping to care for him, he was super-friendly and needy and would cry until I took him out of the kennel. He would then plant himself on my lap and purr his brains out, and play. I just found out, he has herpes in the eye and is boarding at the vet. I was told he is not the cat we knew and loved; he’s pretty much “not there,” presumably due to depression. If they allow me to visit him, do you have any suggestions as to how I might help him? I was thinking just quietly talking and singing to him. I hope he’s located nearby so I can visit frequently. Maybe if he knows that someone knows how special he is and wants to hold his little paw until he starts to want to get better, he might. Please, if you can think of anything I might try, I’d love to hear it. I wish adoption were an option for me but unfortunately it just isn’t. Thanks for your help.

~ Gus and Sid’s Mom

Thomas: Aww, that’s so sweet of you. *sniffle* I don’t know if you’ve been following our blog long enough to know that Mama did pretty much the same thing for me that you want to do for sweet Marvin.

Bella: That’s right, and Thomas told me the whole story! He ended up at the shelter because his former person had to go to a nursing home and couldn’t take care of him anymore.

Thomas: And I was really attached to my person. We did everything together! Sometimes he even gave me part of his supper. So when my sisters and I were packed into carriers and ended up at the shelter, and nobody told us anything about what was going on, I got really sad.

Bella: Of course, Thomas and his sisters got the infamous Shelter Cold. But even though his sisters got over their colds quickly, poor, heartbroken Thomas got very, very sick.

Thomas in the isolation room at the animal shelter

Thomas at the shelter, 2004.

Thomas: And that’s when Mama met me. Another human told her about me and told me where I was staying. I’m kind of embarrassed to say that I was not looking my best when she and I first laid eyes on each other, but for me, it was love at first sight!

Bella: Mama went to visit Thomas every week. She held him and loved him and promised she’d take him home of he wanted to come with her.

Thomas: That kept me going, even though I got so sick they rushed me to the vet and they weren’t sure I was going to make it.

Bella: And Mama kept her promise, and the rest is history!

Thomas: The reason we spent so much time talking about my story is to tell you that yes, a friendly voice and petting can really help a sick cat. We encourage you to visit Marvin if at all possible.

Bella: Singing and talking, petting and love would be a great comfort to Marvin. If he rediscovers his will to live, he may be able to find that forever home, even if it’s not with you.

Thomas: Maybe you can bring him some toys or a special blanket for his cage. Keep in mind that they’ll probably be disposed of later because they don’t want to spread the virus, so don’t spend a lot of money.

Bella: If you have the time and energy, maybe you can share Marvin’s story with your friends. If you can’t give him a home yourself, trying to find him a home might be the next best thing. If you do find someone who’s interested in meeting Marvin, see if you can bring that person with you to visit him at the vet.

Thomas: Many vets will allow people to visit their pets, but there are some who won’t due to potential liability issues. If that’s the case with the clinic treating Marvin, or if the clinic is too far away for you to visit regularly, we’ll give you another tip.

Bella: Now, this is probably going to sound a little “woo-woo,” but I’d recommend trying to think all your love to him. Get relaxed and cozy and imagine Marvin sitting on your lap, just like he did when you’d work with him at the adoption center. Imagine yourself petting him and stroking him, telling him lots of affectionate and loving things, singing kind songs to him, and all the great things you’d do when you were actually seeing him in person.

Thomas: Mama thinks love to us whenever she has to go away, and it makes us feel lots better. We know it makes her feel better, too. Actually, Mama thought love to me when I was at the shelter, too. Did you know it kind of tickles in a good way when someone thinks love to you?

Bella: It does tickle in a good way, doesn’t it?

Thomas in his heated cat bed, lying with his tummy up

And Thomas continues to live happily ever after …

Thomas: Anyhow — we hope that helps you to help Marvin. What about you other readers? Do you have any suggestions for Gus & Sid’s Mom on how to help Marvin feel better and come back to life?

Bella: Please share them in the comments if you do!