Victoria, the Cat Who Almost Used Up Her Nine Lives
By Shireen Haynes
In September 2017, a tiny, flea-infested, four-week-old kitten who was brought in alone found herself in the care of Rochester Animal Services. At that time, Victoria weighed just eight ounces. A plea for a foster family went out to our volunteers and rescue partners, and Rochester Animal Services volunteer, Stephanie Coco, stepped up to the plate. Stephanie had never fostered kittens before and this little kitten would prove to be both a challenge and a miracle.
Shortly after Stephanie picked up Victoria from the shelter, Victoria developed diarrhea and had to return to the shelter for medical attention. Shelter Veterinarian, Dr. Andrew Newmark, intervened with de-wormer and treatment. A couple of days later, Victoria was rushed back to the shelter after Stephanie discovered blood in her stool. Dr. Newmark’s prognosis at that time was grim. He warned Stephanie that the outlook wasn’t good. Dr. Newmark kept Victoria at the shelter where she received continual fluids, antibiotics and other treatments. After two days of wonderful care by the shelter staff, Victoria was declared well enough to go home.
Stephanie kept her on a strict regime of wet food with added fluids and medications. She even had to syringe feed Victoria water as she was so young and small that she hadn’t learned how to drink from a bowl yet. After several weeks of being nursed back to health by Stephanie, Victoria finally started to gain weight!
Fortunately for Stephanie, she had a little helper at home. Stephanie’s dog, Oliver, stepped in to offer assistance. Oliver, a four-year-old Shih tzu was adopted from Rochester Animal Services in 2015. Oliver regularly groomed Victoria and she used his body for warmth. The pair soon became inseparable.
Stephanie credits Oliver with helping Victoria progress and recover. “My dog was such a huge help for her, acting as a parent and teaching her the ways of the world as she had no mother or siblings,” says Stephanie. “I don’t know if she would have made it without her canine buddy, Oliver.”
Just when Stephanie thought she had Victoria on the road to recovery, she discovered Victoria was losing her fur. After another consultation with Dr. Newmark, the diagnosis was ringworm. It was back to more medication and medicated baths for Victoria. In addition to Oliver, Stephanie has a cat, Natasha, who was also adopted from Rochester Animal Services. Both Oliver and Natasha required preventative baths.
Stephanie shared this about her experience fostering for Rochester Animal Services, “Fostering has been one of the most valuable experiences for me. I enjoyed bonding with and helping Victoria grow and reach milestones, knowing it would help shape her health and personality for life with her forever family. It is rewarding to be able to offer a safe place for kittens to grow and socialize.”
Fostering animals saves two lives – the animal you foster and one who gets to take its place in the shelter. If you are interested in becoming a foster, please contact us at AnimalServices@cityofrochester.gov.