Little Guy in the Basement: A lucky kitty gets a second chance

By Marc-Yves Tumin

We regret to announce that Little Guy passed away the weekend of August 1, 2003. Although Little Guy is no longer with us, you can still help many of our other kitties in need of food, medical care and good homes. If you wish to make a donation in Little Guy's name, please send your check or money order to NYC Rescued Kitties; P.O. Box 614; New York, NY; 10002.

    At the sound of the cleaning men opening the freight elevator gate, Little Guy squinted and stirred, but he didn't have the strength to stand up and run away. The old cat usually slept in a box of painters rags near the boiler room of an apartment building on the Lower East Side, and was timid and preferred to stay out of sight.
    However, that morning, he felt weak and dizzy, and even though he sensed that the maintenance crew didn't like animals, and he wanted to hide, Little Guy decided to remain where he was. Later, the other cat that lived in the basement with him came around to see what was wrong but there was nothing he could do, so he sat next to Little Guy and waited.

    Little Guy was used to the dark, dank basement. He had turned up there 10 years ago in wintertime and stayed there ever since. They called him Little Guy because was there once was a larger tomcat named Big Guy that also lived there, but Big Guy subsequently died.

    Meanwhile, Little Guy clung to life. He was always dusty and hungry. And he could never manage to keep himself clean. He'd lap up water from a dirty bowl under the broken pipe of the basement sink. And he ate some stale kibble that the recycling lady left him. And he passed the time in the darkness, playing with a scrap of wood, a piece of cardboard or a rusty bolt, until the recycling lady appeared.

    Little Guy was always extremely pleased when she arrived, and he'd follow her around, rubbing against her legs, purring and meowing in a small voice. And he was forlorn when it was time for her to depart, and he'd stand by the freight elevator and watch her ascend to the unknown world outside.

    One time, Little Guy suffered an asthma attack from some chemicals that he breathed. And another time, some of his fur fell out, after he was splashed with some paint. But, in general, he made the best of the miserable conditions. He had no choice. And he didn't complain, even when age started to catch up with him, and one by one the other cats perished, and only a single companion remained to keep him company.

    That day, when Little Guy failed to greet the recycling lady, she went around the basement calling his name. When she found him in the box of rags, she could tell that he was ill. His eyes were dull and he mewed pitifully as he looked up at her. And so she gently lifted him from the box and brought him upstairs to her apartment, and fed him some table scraps and a big bowl of milk.

    Little Guy was grateful for the good meal and purred loudly as he curled up in a corner on an old shirt. However, that night, his breathing grew labored, and toward the morning, he had a violent seizure.

    The next day, the recycling lady brought him to a veterinarian, who told her that Little Guy had diabetes and prescribed insulin and special food for life. However, the recycling lady didn't have much money, so she gave Little Guy to NYC Rescued Kitties. They cleaned him up and brushed him, and told him what a handsome fellow he was, and they brought him to another veterinarian.

    After taking an x-ray, the second vet said that Little Guy was suffering from heart disease, gave him Lasix to reduce the water around his lungs, and said that he needed to take an echogram and further x-rays for a conclusive diagnosis.

    Now, at long last, after 10 years in the basement, Little Guy has a real home. He's finally getting some sunlight, fresh air, clean water and nourishing food. And the vet says that he has a few good years left, though he needs special care. Won't you help?

    If you can spare anything, even the smallest amount will ensure that Little Guy gets his proper nutrition, tests and medicine, and perhaps a taste of the full life and happiness that he was deprived of when he grew up and grew old in the night city underground.

No comments:

Post a Comment