Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Healing Juniper

Some of you may remember Tsavo the blind kitten, and how the kind hearts on Etsy helped us raise enough money to allow him to see the world. If not, here's his story.  Now, two years later, we have another furry soul in need of aid. Her name is Juniper, and she is Deaf.

On April 15th I was woken in the wee hours of the morning to a text message- there was an abused cat, she'd been beaten and can't stay where she is. Her life is in danger, can you please help?

What else was there to do, but help?

Juniper came to us from four hours away, exchanged in a cold, rainy, windy parking lot. She had been hit over and over with a blunt object, her tiny fragile body bruised and in pain. One of her claws stuck up at a physically impossible angle and we feared her toe was broken; the sides of her eyes were red with broken blood vessels and she limped. Those were the things we could see, and we were fearful that there was more damage, worse damage, inside.

There wasn't even a carrier for her and she rode to our house on my lap, curled up and sleeping. Though she was 9 years old, she had the body of a kitten, scarcely weighing in at 6 pounds.

Juniper had never been to a vet, was not spayed, had never been vaccinated or tested for any sort of communicable disease. She passed her first night quarantined with her bed and a soft blanket in a downstairs bathroom in front of a heater to keep her diminutive frame warm.
Here's Juniper in the downstairs bathroom on her first night with us

We were able to take her to the vet the next morning, and the costs started to soar immediately. She needed a complete blood work profile, to be tested for FIV/FLV, a host of vaccinations, x-rays and a urine-analysis. Her toe was not broken, thankfully, but the entire claw had been all but torn off and it was badly infected. The vet had to remove what little remained of her claw, exposing the tender quick, cleaning it as best she could. The hope is that it will grow back, but its uncertain if it will or not.
Though it can't be seen in this picture, the blood vessels on the sides of her eyes are broken from being hit :(

There are pain medications and antibiotics to administer. We knew she needed a spay, but she also has dental disease and needs to have that addressed in a separate round of treatment, later on once she was more stable. We also had her micro-chipped, ensuring she'd be returned to us if she ever slipped outside.

On the 25th Juniper was spayed, the surgery so much harder to heal on her 9-year old body than it is for a kitten. We opted for the laser surgery to reduce the pain, swelling, bleeding and recovery time for her, but it increased her vet bill all the more.
Surprisingly her eyes are not blue, which is the most common for Deaf cats. Instead hers are a stunning hazel/blue/green.

There are many people who would have opted to just put her down, or dump her at a shelter and let them cover the costs of her recovery... but who would adopt a senior cat who is Deaf? She'd most likely have been euthanized on the spot. Juniper deserves so much more than that, and we are determined to heal her and give her a forever home.

We've researched how to best communicate with Deaf cats, including teaching them simple sign language (not real ASL, but just hand motions that she'll associate with things like "food," "come here," and "we love you." We'd like to get her a special vibrating collar to "call" to her when she's not in line of sight.

Now, she's home, recovering, and has to relearn her entire world. Progress is slow, but there, and we hope in time she'll be able to go out on supervised visits to the garden, to enjoy the sun and the flowers and the butterflies.
Though the day was rainy, Juniper does seem to love looking out at the garden.

This poised lady will have a loving retirement, but with taking her in so unexpectedly her vet bills are painfully high, easily clearing $1,500 inside of two weeks. We still have surgery costs left to cover, as well as prescriptions, after care, follow-ups and a dental once she's rested a bit; and so I come again to those with big hearts and a soft spot for a hard-luck story for help.

In my Etsy store you'll find a few Juniper items, all the proceeds of which will go to cover her outstanding vet bills. For a donation of $5 or $10 we will email you an 8x10 print of Juniper, without all the watermarks, complete with the Helen Keller quote: "The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart."

A donation of $25 will be rewarded with a pin-- silver lace-like metal leads to a dangle with a round of Russian Jade and a silver stamped leaf. Perfect for holding back bangs as they grow out, or as a unique accent piece to an updo.  A $50 donation will come with a stunning hair clip, delicate and flashing with a Russian Jade and silver leaf dangle.

If you would prefer to donate without an Etsy listing (which saves us from losing part of the donation to Etsy fees), you can PayPal your donation directly to  Please use the gift/donation option and mark it for Juniper. :)

The Juniper plant has long been known for it's healing properties, we thank you for helping our Juniper recover and enjoy her new home.  I'll keep posting updates on her and our fundraising process! Let's make this little Juniper grow!

Thank you all so much for taking the time to read though all of this. Please send this to any animal lovers you know! 


  1. To paraphrase the Mahatma: we as a people can be judged by how we treat the smallest and most helpless creatures.
    It's scary that someone could do such evil to such a sweet little kitty.
    It's a lucky thing that there are amazing people like you around to put things to rights.
    Bravo and the second my paycheck comes in, I'll send along some help for Juniper.

  2. That's a beautiful quote!

    Thank you so much for wanting to help with Juniper's care! I'm sure she'd thank you herself if she could!