Foster Caregiver Opens Her Heart—and Home—to a Senior Cat
Hazel Y. never had a pet before she decided to foster Emily, a 14-year-old cat with kidney disease.
“I had looked after a friend’s cat in my apartment, and before that, I had a roommate with a cat, so I’ve had some experience with cats,” Hazel says. “I enjoy having a cat around.”
Emily had quite a journey even before meeting Hazel.
Surrendered in a Bag
Two weeks earlier, Stacey Rozell and Ammie Levi, ASPCA Matchmaking and Admissions Experts, were in the lobby of the ASPCA Adoption Center when a man walked in with a sick-looking 14-year-old cat in a zippered bag.
“He said he couldn’t care for her anymore,” says Stacey, “She had been urinating blood and vomiting, crying and not using her litter box.”
“Once we opened the bag, Emily popped her little head out and was super sweet,” Ammie says. “We loaded her into a carrier and took her upstairs to the ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH). She was so sweet throughout the whole process.”
Getting Emily Back on Track
At the AAH, where Emily remained for two days, she was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. Her blood work and urine results also revealed chronic kidney disease.
“Emily was azotemic, which means she has an increased level of waste products in the bloodstream from kidney disease,” says Dr. Sylvia Lesnikowski, Director of Internal Medicine and Clinical Research at the AAH. “She also had a urinary tract infection, which can travel to the kidneys, causing a kidney infection known as pyelonephritis. This kidney infection caused a spike in her kidney values that made her feel sick. Once we cleared the infection, her kidney levels came down and she felt much better.”
Emily was also dehydrated and diagnosed with gastrointestinal disease.
Dr. Lesnikowski prescribed antibiotics and a prescription diet to prevent further kidney damage. Emily was monitored by veterinarians in the Adoption Center for the next 10 days before being placed in foster care with Hazel on October 11.
The Perks of Older Pets
After Hazel signed on to volunteer with the ASPCA, she received an email describing the animals available for foster care. Emily caught Hazel’s eye.
“I started fostering with the intention that I could potentially adopt Emily later,” Hazel says. “I always wanted an older cat. They’re just so nice.”
Emily quickly adapted to Hazel’s Long Island City apartment, where she likes to look out the apartment’s floor-to-ceiling windows.
A design consultant, Hazel works primarily from home, which she senses Emily enjoys.
“She’s quiet and not very active,” Hazel says. She purrs when petted and even snores a little bit when she sleeps. It’s very cute.”
After fostering Emily for a month, Hazel adopted her on November 15. Before the adoption, Emily underwent dental surgery and had three teeth extracted.
“Emily is gentle, which I like,” she says. “She’s mellow, and when she’s had enough petting or activity, she lets you know in a gentle but obvious way. I appreciate that.”
Hazel says Emily is social and will happily approach people—sometimes.
“She knows what she likes, and you can tell if she likes you right away,” Hazel says. “I highly recommend older cats for their calm characteristics.”