Norma showed up at my feeding station in November 2018. It was obvious even from a distance that she was sporting a big belly. But it wasn't exactly kitten season, so it was very odd.
She came to the feeding station both day and night and I often saw her run off in the afternoon as I came to refill. I managed to catch her early January and as I expected she had no ear tattoos indicating she had a home.
While Norma always ran away from me, she turned out to be mellow and cooperative once she was at the vet. She didn't roll around and purred, but she let the vet handle her without sedation, which is a lot more than any other cat I caught before her. So there was something to work with and this definitly saved her life. Cause Norma was actually quite sick and if she had been wild, she wasn't in a state where we could just TNR her. She needed medicine and care.
It wasn't easy to figure out exactly what caused that big belly though. It definitly wasn't kittens, she had no tumors and no signs of being hit by a car or other wise injured. Her x-rays and bloodsamples didn't reveal anything. All there was to see was a lot of worms in her belly. There wasn't much else to do other than treat her with antibiotics and hope it was just an infection that caused the bloated bell.
She also had a bad lung infection. I noticed she had a very rough meowing when I had her in the trap. And no wonder her voice was distorted as the poor thing was very ill. She also had a scratch in one of her eyes that caused it to run. She was in bad shape, but it seemed treatable.
Norma gets a foster mom
Norma stayed at the vets office for observation for a few days. When she seemed steady she went to a foster home, where they had experience with shy cats. Cause Norma was tame, but not happy or particularly trusting.
Norma's belly was still swolen after a week, so she went back to the vet where they changed her medicine. Neither her health or social skills changed in the next few weeks and she went back to the vet a few more times. Every time she went to the vet, we thought it might be over for Norma. That we couldn't save her after all. But then she would act different at the vets office and the good doctor would give her yet another chance. Norma clearly new who she needed to charm. After about three weeks it was decided to try a new foster home without kids and see if that would make a difference
In the begining nothing changed. Norma only left her carrier to eat and go to the litter box, when no one was around. Her new foster mom wasn't ready to give up so easy and she did something she had never done before. She hirred a clairvoyant. She told the foster mom that Norma was the most unhappy cat she had ever been in contact with. But that same night something new happened. Norma took a treat from her foster mom's hand! It was enough to give hope.
Norma gets better
In March Norma went back to the vet for a checkup and her health had finally started to improve. All her numbers came back normal and she was almost over her lung infection.
As Norma's health started to improve, her social skills became better as well. The top of her carrier came off so she couldn't hide in the same way. She was served delicious wet food 4 times a day and she started reacting in a positive way when her foster mom came around. They found out that she likes to get brushed
From sick to playful
It's been a long jorney for Norma and we don't know where she came from or how long she's been on her way. We only know that her travels almost killed her. Her health problems have made it a long process to open up to humans again. It was almost as if she had given up on life. But because there was a vet who believed in her and an amazing network of foster homes who dedicated a lot of time and money to her, she is still around. Not all cats are as lucky as Norma has been lately!
Norma's foster mom says that she may have a rough appearance, but Norma is the most gentle soul behind her hard exterior. Her foster mom can now pet her and play with her. Norma has moved into an annex together with another foster cat and they are getting along nicely.
While Norma continues to improve, we are just waiting for someone willling to give her a permanent home, so this story can truly have a happy ending.
The happy ending we waited for
Update! Norma got adopted and is safe and happy in her forever home. Here she has two new kitty brothers, whom she is very loving and caring towards. She sleeps in the bed with her humans and has the confidence to walk on the forbidden tables. Norma enjoys to be brushed and have a good belly rub. She got the happy ending she deserves.