The Tortie Kitten Who Became a Hare

Once upon an ordinary day, underneath the porch of a couple whom her kitty mama had never met, a tortoiseshell cat was born with coloring so asymmetrically wonderful that strangers would describe it as perfectly symmetrical. The lady of the porch (Miss E) posted photos of the litter online soon after she discovered them and, within hours, a woman she had met a few days prior (on a group scooter ride a few towns away) began begging to adopt the asymmetric beauty. “It’s been about a year since my last kitty passed. I just decided I was ready for a kitten and that I wanted to adopt a Tortie cat… and that one with the half black half orange face is so cute! Save him for me?”

Miss E kept in touch with her scooter acquaintance as she watched over the litter. Their kitten mama came to visit and nurse them for a few days, then disappeared. Miss E couldn’t move the kittens into her house because her husband is allergic, so, when the kittens ran off to search for their feline mama, she and a friend hunted down and re-rescued the kittens, and the litter’s co-rescuer became their foster mom. She took them to live with her family until they were eating solid food, using a litterbox, and fixed up by Fix Nation to ensure they wouldn’t create more homeless kittens themselves.

Miss E sent messages to let Scooter Girl know how the kitten was developing and, the more photos and videos she saw of the adorable Tortie kitten, the more she yearned to have the furbaby in her arms. Not yet realizing that 99.9% of tortoiseshell and calico cats are female, Scooter Girl continued to imagine her kitten would be a little prince called Harry. “If you would by any chance trust me to get him fixed when he’s a bit older, I’d love to get vaccinations and let him grow up a bit before he has to endure surgery… and start cuddling ASAP.” Wanting to be responsible foster parents, the rescuers initially declined her offer to take over care for the Tortie immediately.

However, by the time Scooter Girl had learned that her little Harry was likely a Harriet a few weeks later, the rescuers had a change of heart. “We just learned that it will be a few more weeks before we can take the kittens to get fixed,” Miss E said, “and their foster mom is a little worn out from caring for all of them. Do you still want yours now?”

“Of course!” Scooter Girl replied. “I work a lot the next few days though. I can drive up there and get her on my day off?” She was ecstatic when Miss E offered to deliver the kitten to her the next day instead.

Harry (Harriet) was resting calmly in Miss E’s hand as Scooter Girl approached them that fall afternoon on the sidewalk outside her home. The kitten was unscathed by the 2 hour car ride and the sounds of the street. She happily snuggled up to her new mama’s heart when Scooter Girl held her close for the first time. Miss E refused to accept any cash for costs incurred thus far when offered. “Just give her a good home,” she said. “I know you will. She’s a sweet one.”

From the moment they first touched, Scooter Girl felt Harry (Harriet) “The Hare” was everything she had dreamt of. Her five week old furbaby was as silky smooth as a rabbit and took to the harness and leash like a natural. Around 11 weeks old, one warm December day, Scooter Girl finally introduced Harry to her sister Pokey the box turtle and promptly took her “tortoise and hare” on a walk. It was a magical day which led her to believe her life was purrfect.

Then, one Saturday morning, as Scooter Girl prepared to go out and scout a route for a very important group scooter ride she was scheduled to lead the next day, she noticed that her (now five month old) kitten wasn’t acting like herself. Her concern grew to fear as she cruised the backroads thinking about how Harry hadn’t wanted to cuddle the moment she awoke (though they had every day prior), nor had she walked on her leash or shown interest in bird watching that morning. Scooter Girl turned home and drove as fast as she could when she realized it had been more than 48 hours since she’d last seen Harry go poo.

An urgent check up quickly confirmed her new mama’s suspicions were correct. An xray showed a stomach full of items she couldn’t digest, including something that looked sharp and metallic. Shattered by the mere thought of not living her tortoise and hare dreams another day, Scooter Girl pledged to pay a sum she knew she couldn’t afford to get her kitten the stomach surgery she needed at the most expensive hours (right away) and get her spayed at the same time if possible to keep the kitten from having to endure another surgery again soon.

Scooter Girl didn’t lay her head to rest that night until the wee hours of Sunday morning, after she learned that the surgery had been a success. The vet said Harry would no longer be able to have children and they’d successfully cleaned out her stomach and upper intestine. “It looks like she ate a lot of different things,” he explained, “but mainly a lot of hair.”

Scooter Girl didn’t realize he’d meant human hair until she saw gobs of her blonde strands in the bag of items removed from Harry’s digestive system the next morning. Her heart sank a bit knowing that, although she was now living her dream, she would now worry about where, why, and when Harriet had eaten so much hair… and if Harry “The Hare” would eat hair furever more.

Rachel and Harry
January 19, 2020

This story is based on real life events of the author. The name of the woman who originally discovered Harry under her porch has been changed to protect her identity, but the other details are true. We offer you this Go Fund Me page which a friend started on our behalf the day the above photo was taken as proof.

After surgery, to ensure she wasn’t too active, Harry slept in a cloth carrier at night and was confined to the restroom (aka her clean space) when mom wasn’t home. Toys with strings and feathers were (mostly) banned from the house to eliminate danger and extra care has been paid since to make sure Harry never spends too much time alone (because we suspect the anxiety of being alone caused her to eat the indigestible things). Harry is given COMPOSURE cat treats to calm down when she seems more high strung or anxious (and will be alone). She also eats a bit of Tomlyn HAIRBALL REMEDY GEL every few days for good measure.

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