When Jennifer Met Lily…
For some reason as I read Jenny’s story about how she found and adopted Lily, I couldn’t help think of the movie When Harry Met Sally… I like to think it’s because both stories start with one meeting the other, but then the real story is how their relationship changed and grew over time. But perhaps it’s simply because both stories take place in New York City!
I was at a wedding in Connecticut, and I ended up talking to a girl who had done some hospice fostering for dogs. She told me about how valuable of an experience it was for her.
I was a senior in college and had grown up with cats, and while I didn’t know if I had the emotional capacity for hospice, I thought, why not foster? So, I checked out the local SPCA website in NYC, and signed up to be notified of any cats in need of foster care.
Shortly after, I checked my email and saw that there was a kitty with a wobbly walk on the Upper West Side in need of a home. For whatever reason, I felt this crazy urgency that I HAD to have this cat. I immediately called the number on the email and the first thing I said was “Is this cat still available???”. Thank goodness she was, of course, available!
A few days later I took the train up the UWS to meet “Lily”. Again, I just kept feeling this sense of urgency like, I NEED this wobbly kitty – get her in the carrier and let’s go! As soon as I saw her and saw her walk, which in my opinion wasn’t a big deal, I was sold. I didn’t even know she had CH until the first vet visit, where I learned it wasn’t going to get worse – so again, no big deal.
Fast-forward one year later, and Lily unfortunately started having seizures. She had to spend a few days in the kitty ICU for tests in order to figure out what was wrong. Then, when nothing could be found, she was diagnosed with epilepsy. After her stay in the hospital, we spent days home from work, sleeping together in the living room, next to her litter box – helping Lily regain her health.
The vets kept trying to push more medicine and more needles, and it got to the point where I just had to refuse and focus on TLC. I am happy to say that my instincts were right, and after refusing another overnight stay for a fever, we were able to bring the fever down in a day without having to cause even more trauma. Poor Lily couldn’t walk on her own for a few days, and we had to massage her tummy to help her go to the bathroom.
After this experience, I truly feel like we are more connected. I’ve always felt Lily and I were meant to be – but in the first year together she was really a true kitten, she would drive me crazy and misbehave – but I loved her. After her health issues, though, she became this super cuddly, super lovey-dovey lap cat. I honestly think she knows and appreciates everything my husband and I did for her.
Not only does sweet Lily have CH and epilepsy, after more visits to the vet we learned that somehow she was poked directly in the eye with something (the vet actually said “As though someone or something tried to pop a balloon”), and that it’s a miracle she can see out of the eye based on the impact.
In addition, the poor girl has a broken front tooth and kitten acne. I can only imagine what sweet Lily with CH managed to get into on the streets of New York City before we met. She really is a tough cat.
Beyond the unconditional love she gives me, and the fact that I can pick her up, stick my face in her furry belly, and kiss her 30+ times without her even swiping at me, I think I love Lily more every time someone makes a visit to our house. They’ll say “I’m not a cat person,” and by the end of the night are talking about how much they love her and want to steal her away.
I have always thought it was ironic how I came to fall in love with a cat named Lily, and I often joke about how she is my first-born, because for years I had always wanted to name my little girl “Lily”, if I ever had one.