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A.D.O.P.T. kitten survives near-death ordeal to thrive in ‘forever’ home

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TribLocal Naperville
By Linda Kane, A.D.O.P.T. volunteer
June 23, 2011
Quincy, the “miracle kitten” will soon celebrate his first birthday. He and littermate Pippen live happily in Linda Gates’s Willowbrook home (photo courtesy of L. Gates).

Linda Gates knows the anguish of losing a pet.

Last fall the Willowbrook mother of three had to put her sick 21-year-old cat, Mistletoe, to sleep; she had raised Mistletoe from a kitten.

“It broke my heart,” Linda said.

But a month later, the animal lover said her son, David, woke her at 2:30 a.m.

“He said, ‘Mom, you’ve got to get up and look at this [on the computer],” Linda said. “Look at these kittens–Quincy and Pippen. Mom, You have to call [A.D.O.P.T.].”

Linda would soon know the joy of finding a pet–correction–two pets.

David’s wee-hours-of-the-morning search was just the beginning for him, his mom and two baby kittens. And one of the kittens, Quincy, had already experienced more trauma than any kitten should.

When Quincy arrived at the shelter in early October, Dr. Linda Kopija, A.D.O.P.T.’s veterinarian, found “something hard, a lump” in his abdomen.

With the help of Rich Glessner, shelter director, and Donna Picard, shelter volunteer, Kopija performed a three-hour emergency surgery during which she removed several inches of deceased intestines, including the “lump,” fecal matter unable to pass from the tiny, two-pound body.

About midway through the surgery, as all was proceeding well, Quincy appeared to “flatline.” The heart monitor stopped beeping, and his gums went pale, Glessner said.

Kopija injected drugs intravenously to help Quincy’s heart rate, saving his life.

But although he survived the near-death ordeal, Quincy, as well as his brother Pippen, later contracted an upper respiratory infection (URI), postponing any possible adoptions.

The Birth of a New Family

Finally healthy several weeks later, Quincy and Pippen would meet Linda and David and become a family. “It’s the four of us,” Linda said. “Three with testosterone and one without.”

“I called the daylights out of that place [A.D.O.P.T.],” Linda said. “I asked, ‘Are they out of the medical unit yet? Can I come see them?’”

When the day finally arrived, Linda traveled from her Willowbrook condominium to the Naperville pet shelter.

“I spent three hours in the kitten room [at A.D.O.P.T.] when they first came out of the medical unit,” Linda said. “And right away both of them took to me. I knew it was fate.”

Undaunted by Quincy’s medical history, Linda, who works in the healthcare field, said she told Glessner she would adopt both cats.

“I can’t take one without the other,” Linda said. They are so close. [And] I want to get this kitten as healthy as I can get him. He’s been through so much.”

Life at Home

Now approaching their first birthday, Quincy and Pippen thrive in their “forever” home.

“They eat very healthy food,” Linda said. “I get them only the all-natural food from the vet. But when you look at their paws and skin, [you can see] it makes a big difference.”

Quincy and Pippen also enjoy a floor-to-ceiling-sized cat tower. Linda says the tower contains two kitty condos and four different layers on which they can rest, sleep, or play.

“I wanted them to have something to play with when I was at work,” Linda said. “I love to watch them [in the tower]. They make me so happy.

“Everybody always says that when [I] start talking about the kittens, [I] get this smile and sparkle in [my] eyes.”

In addition to eating well and playing in their tower, Quincy and Pippen enjoy playing games with Linda and David.

“They take all my stuff like my slippers, shoes and socks and move them all over,” said Linda about “her twins.”

During the night, Linda says it’s common for Quincy to bring her toys and “lay them right by me. And Pippen lays his favorite toys by my shoes!”

They also enjoy playing fetch, she said. “They retrieve balls,” Linda said. “They understand when my son says, ‘Get down there [in the hallway]. I’m going to throw the ball.

“And they know the word ‘cookie.’ I have them trained to sit a foot apart, and then I give each of them a cookie; they don’t take each other’s cookie. They know they both get the same amount. It’s really cute.

“I swear Quincy understands English.”

Unconditional Love

Linda says she watches the two brothers interact. “They love each other,” she said. “They’re inseparable; you won’t see one without the other.”

And they have plenty of love for Linda and David, too.

“At night, Quincy gives kisses,” Linda said. “If you say, ‘Give me a kiss,’ he’ll give you a lick on the face; sometimes during the night he kisses me about 15 times, and then he bites me. It’s like he loves me and is grooming me. I’ve seen him do the same to Pippen–lick him and then nip at him.”

As their first birthday approaches July 16, the “twins” will celebrate with family and friends.

“We’ll have our own special birthday party with a birthday cake,” Linda said. “I’d [also] love to bring them into the shelter [for a visit]. They’re so beautiful.

“Quincy and Pippen are my life now; they make my heart sing!”

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