Pet Tips 'n' Tales

A Long Journey Home
Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
Once Cottage Grove's Dr. Darby Valley, Acupuncturist and Doctor of Oriental Medicine, learned about Sydney, the starving cat, he immediately wanted to be part of her healing journey. While his patients are people, his kind heart still reached out to help.

During Sydney's acupuncture session, Dr. Valley's daughter, Noe, asked her father, "Daddy does it hurt the kitty?"
Dr. Valley explained to Noe, "Acupuncture helps keep the cat's qi (energy) moving properly so it can heal."  Curious, Myster E. watches the acupuncture appointment from a safe distance away!


A walk with my neighbor, Jeanna, suddenly evolved into a cat's lifesaving rescue. We discovered a starving terrified cat huddled three feet away from Highway 99 and Main Street.

The cat had three options; starve, get struck by traffic, or, by some miracle, be found and rescued.

Several things were obvious; she was starving, she had no muscle power, she could not walk, and she was soaking in her own urine. Whatever her tale was, it had to be long and sad. She had battle scars on her face and ear. She was defenseless because her weight was reduced to four pounds. We put the urine-soaked bag of bones into Jeanna's cloth grocery bag and rushed her to a veterinarian clinic for subcutaneous fluids and antibiotics for a raging bladder infection.

Once home, my daughter, Paramedic Ariel Schesser, filled a sink with warm water and used pet shampoo to make the water soapy. Ariel had named the cat Sydney. Each time we lifted Sydney out of a dirty sink of water and placed her in the next sink, it was like watching an octopus squirt black ink. The water instantly turned black! How could a little cat absorb more dirt than food!

In desperation, we gently held the cat like a black cob of corn and rinsed her under the water faucet to clean her.

The weak cat's head and body wobbled like a bobble-head doll. She was too weak to eat on her own. Her muscles were consumed in the starvation, and the pain of the massive urinary tract infection was crippling.

Finally, she was clean and sleeping soundly safe from harm.  She was warm, and she had food in her tummy. All these were impossible luxuries only a few days earlier.

Every few hours, we hand-fed Sydney with a plastic syringe filled with pedialyte, aloe vera juice, Cleavers tea, salmon oil, salted tuna fish water from the can, and wet cat food mashed in warm water. She received Chinese Six Flavor tea pills, herbs, and homeopathic medication for her bladder infection. We rubbed Rescue Remedy on her paws and ears and gave her arnica for pain, Belladonna for  incontinence, and Kal Carbonicum to help dissolve her kidney stones.
We wrapped her in heated towels from the dryer to hold in her meager body heat and clothed her in a neighbor's small dog's jacket to keep her warm.  She loved the addition of a hot water bottle to her bed/box.

Why would we help Sydney, an alley cat, fight for her life? In the first few minutes after we found her, she communicated great relief at being rescued.  Through the cloth sack, she happily kneaded her paws in gratitude.  She appreciated being safe in the hands of people who could finally help her.

When someone bent down to check on her, Sydney crawled up into their lap. Imagine the horrors this cat has suffered before dwindling to a mere stick covered in fur, and here she was seeking affection from humans.

When life places something/someone/or a situation in your path, what are you going to do? Walk on by?

There is a story of a boy walking on a beach tossing starfish after starfish into the ocean.  A man watching asked, "Why are you doing that? It is not going to make a difference."  Calmly, the boy bent over, picked up another starfish, and tossed it into the ocean.  "It's going to matter to this one," the boy answered.

Life is about choices, and our choice to save Sydney made a difference to her.

If someone dumped Sydney thinking she would survive on her own, think again. It was impossible. She is used to cat food, not mice on the run. Slowly starving, dying inch by inch, second by second is painful.

Because of poor quality pet food, many cats are developing urinary tract infections and are incontinent.  Families frustrated by their cats not being able to control their urinary habits are turning them out to survive on their own.  This only increases the cat's bladder pain. Saving Sydney's life was expensive and time consuming.  It was also painful to watch her suffer as she struggled emotionally and physically.

Sydney deserves to feel loved and to know that her life is worth fighting for, things every human wants.

Sydney was given a chance to not die nameless and homeless like so many pets in the world.  She was so frail; several times we thought she was dying.  Hope and her sweet spirit were the driving force to keep fighting for her.

After two weeks, Sydney gained two pounds.  Imagine being so starved you gain half your body weight in 14 days! Sydney is still a long way from healthy, but she is no longer lingering on the frayed thread of life.

Is Sydney a special representative sent to teach us the value of life? A nameless and homeless cat with a higher purr-pose? Her gift to the world may be teaching us how pets suffer so that other animals will not experience the same fate. Sydney's life is not useless; she has a purr-puss. So do we all.

It takes a village to save an abandoned cat! Thank you to Cottage Grove's Dr. Darby Valley's acupuncture skills for giving Sydney an extra healing advantage.  
And to Eugene's Chiropractor, Dr. Jerry Evans, for aligning a cat's very twisted spine. No matter if a spine is out of alignment for a person or pet, it causes pain and interference with healing,  
And to Herbalist Robert Neumann, for his herbal wisdom to help rejuvenate Sydney's kidneys.  
Just like people, cats and dogs benefit from acupuncture, chiropractic care, healthy food, and love.
A future Tips 'n' Tales will share the adorable things Sydney does that captured all our hearts. Sydney's life story is to be continued.


If you or a neighbor can no longer care for a pet, please surrender it to a humane shelter. It is the humane thing to do. Euthanasia is a better alternative than starving to death.
Read More on Sydney
Photos of Sydney, her healing journey,
and tips on how to care for a starving cat:

Also Pet communicator, Dr. Agnes Thomas,
had a "cat-chat" with Sydney
Read their conversation:
Mary Ellen and Miss Wings
Mary Ellen
Tips 'n' Tales Newspaper Columnist With Miss Wings
AngelScribe AT msn DOT com
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