It was hard to tell what colour she was because the only fur she had left on her was a kind of Mohawk running down along her spine. She was frightened, and she was unused to houses and people.
But she was also very, very hungry. So we fed her and did our best to calm her down and protect her from the wild winds and lashing rain outside.
Since that night 16 years ago, Cleo-cat has shared a lot of living with our family. A small but loyal companion with many funny, sweet ways about her, and, as with any animal or human, a few annoying ones as well.
Through all those years Cleo had been largely healthy and well. Then a few months ago she became ill with cat flu.
A cat with cat flu is a miserable sight indeed. It looked as though she might pass at any time, but we were able to nurse her through it with the help of treatment and guidance from the Te Are Manu Veterinary Clinic.
Once she recovered, Cleo returned to the things she enjoyed in life and to her role as Mama-Cat of our household.
More recently, Cleo became ill with pneumonia. Again I turned to Te Are Manu. This time it was clear Cleo’s days were numbered, so the aim was to ease any suffering.
We settled on a treatment plan, and that helped her get through the next few days, very weak and with a raspy voice, but moderately comfortable.
Then I got home late from work one night and found Cleo in real distress. It was heart-wrenching to witness. I called the Te Are Manu emergency after-hours line, and 45 minutes later, well after 9pm on a Saturday night, the volunteer vet was at our door.
It was very hard to say goodbye to such an old and loyal friend, but such a deep relief to know there was professional, caring help one could turn to at a time of real need.
So in the past few months we have had contact with three different volunteer vets at Te Are Manu. All have been a godsend. All have made a real difference to the wellbeing of our dearest furry friend.
Meitaki ma’ata ma’ata to Debbie and all of the team at Te Are Manu. Thank you so much for being there and for doing your best to take care of our island’s animals.
Congratulations on your two years of service. For the wellbeing of all our animals (and our community as a whole) we hope you may continue for many more years to come.