On August 25th, 2013 Oreo stepped into my life, or rather into my house! Brought through the door Inside of a cardboard box large enough to be his mansion, Oreo was no bigger than the palm of my hand. I have to admit that I was a little nervous as I has never seen a cat so small and disheveled. Along with Oreo came his sister, Patches. The two were complete opposites. Oreo was quiet and shy and Patches was feisty, vocal and very affectionate. The plan had been to bring the two for care at my local shelter. We have an amazing shelter in our City that does wonderful work and has a beautiful space for all the animals they care for. Once I laid eyes on the two of them however, I could not allow myself to bring them to the shelter, no matter how great a place it was. That's where the journey began.
We decided the best thing to do was to foster the two babies until we could find them a forever home. Neither I nor my husband had ever cared for kittens so young, so we had a lot to learn very fast. Even with the lack of immediate knowledge, it was easy to see that the kittens had a parasite. Their bellies were swollen and the amount of waste that came out of them was enough to boggle the mind. The cutest part of all this was feeding time. If you've ever fed a baby kitten with a bottle, you'll know what I mean! It's the cutest thing ever! At first there was no alarm in regards to the kids having a parasite. It's pretty common in stray kittens and is generally easily treatable. Luckily they had no other ailments and seemed otherwise healthy. Patches got over the parasite in no time. She was really tough for such a tiny thing and she steamrollered over everything in her path. At first, Oreo seemed to be doing alright but one morning he took a turn for the worse and shook us up more than we've ever been shook in our whole lives.
One morning when I got up to feed the kittens, Oreo was passed out. My heart sank like never before in my life. Listening carefully through his baby fluff, I could hear a little heartbeat. I knew that I had to do something then and there to help him. So I decided to use my own breath to help him start breathing again. After a few tries, Oreo snorted and then let out a tiny meow. He was breathing again! Once I got him breathing again I packed up the two babies and we headed to the vet. Thankfully, even though it was not yet opening hours, a nurse let us in and immediately began caring for Oreo. Patches and I waited the whole day as the technicians and doctors got Oreo back up on his feet again. Safely back home, we decided Oreo was no longer a foster kitten. He was our kitten and we were his humans. We spent the next 4 weeks caring for him around the clock while he faught the parasite that was ailing him.
During this time, Patches took it upon herself to groom Oreo and became quite the little mother figure. With all of us working together, Oreo got better and started becoming his wacky little self. After six weeks, Patches was adopted by a family friend who fell completely in love with her photo on Facebook. She went to a great home and is still living a happy, loving and healthy life! As for Oreo, you all know what came next!
Oreo has changed my life forever. From the moment he was brought through the door in his box mansion to this very moment today, he makes everyday a new adventure. Oreo is my fluffy son and my best friend. I want to thank him for filling my life with importance, happiness and love. Happy Birthday Oreo!
Tina Modugno is a children’s illustrator from Canada. Tina loves all animals, kids books and cartoons! She currently resides in Quebec with her husband and four cats!