By Linda Kane, A.D.O.P.T. volunteer
October 28, 2010
The surgical staff at Naperville’s A.D.O.P.T. saved at least six of this kitten’s lives.
You could hold him in the palm of your hand. After all, at two months, he weighed only about two pounds. Stroking his tiny neck as you cuddled him, he generously purred his approval. Newborn kitten, Quincy, had his entire life ahead of him — all nine lives, in fact.
But not so fast! Quincy’s story is not that of the typical, healthy kitty. In fact, Quincy probably lost about three of his nine lives during his first couple months of life.
But thanks to A.D.O.P.T. (Animals Deserving of Proper Treatment, a no-kill shelter in Naperville) and its staff, in partnership with Aurora Animal Control, Quincy today maintains six of his nine lives.
“It was kind of a win-win,” said Rich Glessner, director of operations at A.D.O.P.T.
The tiny fur ball’s story began when Aurora Animal Control (AAC) rescued Quincy (then named “Whiskey”) and his two brothers and one sister from an Aurora home hoarding 28 cats. Routinely, AAC brings its animals to A.D.O.P.T. on Fridays for spaying and neutering.
But when Dr. Linda Kopija, A.D.O.P.T.’s Monday-Wednesday-Friday veterinarian, took a good look at Quincy, she knew something wasn’t right.
“He was in line to be neutered,” Kopija said. “But he was depressed, dehydrated and really skinny. He just lay in his cage with his head down.
“I gave him fluids under his skin, and as I examined him, I could feel something hard, a lump, in his abdomen.”
Kopija said she warmed him up, gave him more fluids and decided to take him home with her that night, Friday, Oct.8, for observation. Quincy had a tough night, urinating where he was lying and refusing to drink or eat.
Not wanting to risk leaving him alone the next day, Kopija took the baby kitten with her to her Saturday job at Northlake Animal Hospital, where she also takes care of animals, usually performing surgeries such as spaying and neutering.
By mid-Saturday afternoon, the doctor knew Quincy was not improving; something had to be done immediately. Getting on the phone, Kopija called A.D.O.P.T.’s Donna Picard, a surgery center volunteer. Together, they and Glessner scheduled a late Saturday afternoon surgery at the A.D.O.P.T. shelter.
“If there’s something we can do, we will do it,” Kopija said. “We go above and beyond. We were committed to taking care of him.”
During the approximately three-hour operation, Kopija, Glessner and Picard discovered that Quincy’s intestines had, as Kopija said, “doubled in on themselves. The blood supply was cut off, and the intestines started to die.” The “lump” was fecal matter unable to pass from the little two-pound body.
Thus, lifesaving procedures had begun.
Kopija, Glessner and Picard removed all of Quincy’s intestines, deleted the deceased parts, cleaned and reconnected the healthy parts, then sutured them together and re-inserted them into the body.
But complications occurred.
Midway through the surgery, as all seemed to be going well, Quincy appeared to “flatline.” The heart monitor stopped beeping, and “his gums went pale,” Glessner said.
The surgery stopped.
Kopija injected drugs intravenously to help Quincy’s heart rate. Soon his color started to return. But the next 48 hours would be critical; now he was at an even greater risk for survival.
And so, once again Kopija took baby Quincy home with her that night because he was not eating or drinking. And once again, she took Quincy with her Sunday, Oct. 10, the day after the operation, when she went to her job at P.A.W.S. in Chicago.
“He [Quincy] had me all stressed out, ” she said.
Monday morning, Oct. 11, Kopija tried to get the kitten to eat a little boiled chicken that she had originally made for her own dogs. Quincy wasn’t having it. But by afternoon, “he [Quincy] was eating like a pig,” she said.
Glessner said Quincy also used the litter box without any complications, and when Quincy returned to A.D.O.P.T. Monday, he was meowing, rubbing up against his cage and loving. “We were pretty optimistic that it was uphill from there,” he said.
“He [Quincy] would not be alive today had he not come here,” Glessner said. “No other shelter would have gone to the extent to do that [the surgery] for him, let alone take on the responsibility.”
Kopija added, “I’ll never have anyone else like them [the A.D.O.P.T. surgical volunteers] — the dedication, the hours they put in “these people are amazing. It’s not easy to do what they do here.”
Picard said that sometimes medically, some pretty emotional things happen.
“When I have a day that’s overwhelming to me, I [later] go and sit in the kitten room because you don’t have to initiate anything; they [the kittens] come to you. They’re so happy just ‘to be,’” she said. “It makes it worthwhile that you know you’re helping...In the big picture, we help a lot of animals, and that gives us purpose. That’s what I feel good about.”
Kopija said that Quincy will have a “completely normal life, no ongoing care, [just] full recovery.”
Today, Quincy is a healthy, curious, friendly and loving buddle of buff and white fur. He weighs a little more, has aged a bit but still purrs when you cuddle him. “Now he’s a holy terror,” said Kopija, smiling.
Quincy has recently been reunited with his brother Pippen. A.D.O.P.T. also has the other brother and sister, Sammy and Rio. All four kittens will be available for adoption in the next week or two, Glessner said.
“He’s [Quincy] the kind of cat that you instantly love,” Glessner said. “He has a natural likeability, even if you didn’t know his story.”
A.D.O.P.T. is located at 420 Industrial Drive, Naperville; adoption hours are Tuesday-Thursday — noon to 2 p.m.; Monday, Friday — 6-8 p.m.; and Saturday, Sunday—noon to 3 p.m.
Back to Media Center