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Case of the Month

Martha and Angel Fund Save Tuminous, a Very Social Cat

Martha and Angel Fund Save Tuminous, a Very Social Cat

Some five years ago, Martha Slater was working in her garden, happily weeding and troweling.  Suddenly, she said, “here is this little black kitten. He came up and spent the entire day with me, sitting and watching me in a very companionable way. I brought him some food and water and, in the evening when I went in, he stayed, sleeping on the couch on our deck. Our two cats looked at him [through the window] and he looked at them.”

During the next week, the kitten continued to spend a lot of time with Martha. So she decided that she should find out where he had come from. “It turned out that he lived two houses away from us. I knocked on their door and introduced myself. One of the kids in the family came over and picked up Magic [the kitten’s name] and he seemed very happy to go home.

But, she said, Magic continued to spend a lot of time at her house. And she discovered that other people in the neighborhood also knew him, including her upstairs neighbors, Cameo and Misheda, who weren’t cat people until they met him.  “He did a lot of visiting. He loves children. He loves other cats.  But he doesn’t love dogs,” she said. “At 8 o’clock in the morning you’d see him with his tail high escorting kids to school. When the kids came home at the end of the day, there he’d be walking them back home.”

Martha started calling the kitten Bituminous and her husband Rob shortened it to Tuminous.

One day, the kitten appeared to have an eye infection and Martha alerted the family. “They said, ‘We don’t know what to do.’ So I went to the pharmacy and got some eye wash and irrigated his eyes. I didn’t mind because he is such a sweet compliant fellow.” 

Later, the cat showed up at her house and was unable to use one of his legs. “I thought he might have fallen but I didn’t think anything was broken. I suggested to the family that he needed to go to a veterinarian. They said they didn’t have the time for that. I suggested they keep him in because I didn’t think he could get away if a coyote came after him.” The family put the cat in a guest bathroom, Martha said – but he was back at her house in a couple of hours. He stayed with her for a couple of days until he was better.  

Last spring, Tuminous showed up at Martha’s house one morning clearly sick. “He was dribbling urine and it was bloody.  He was so uncomfortable and it seemed like a urinary blockage. We’ve had that with our cats before.  So I called his people.  I said he is suffering and he really needs to go to the vet. One of the children called the father and asked him could come take the cat. So I wrapped him in a blanket. When I talked to the father, he said: ‘I don’t want him bleeding all over my white leather [car] seats.’ They took him to the vet but they wouldn’t leave him overnight.  He came to my house soon after that and he was in such pain and so sick. I called the family but the father was ‘too busy’ to return my call.

“So I called Dr. [Gary] Gauthier and he said to throw him in the car and bring him in [to Arch Beach Veterinary Clinic in Laguna Beach]. It was 8 or 9 o’clock.  He needed hydrating and he needed surgery.  When the father found out, he called Dr. Gauthier and said: ‘Well, just put him to sleep. This is costing too much.’ I told the doctor that I didn’t care what it would cost.  We can pay over a period of time.” Her husband was running a tech startup, she said, and they did not have much money at the time. 

So Tuminous had his surgery. Several neighbors who knew the social black cat contributed money to help pay the bill.  And Dr. Gauthier suggested that help might be available from Angel Fund.  Martha filled out an application and her request was granted. Angel Fund and the clinic each contributed $500.

Today Tuminous is his old social self.  His former family is gone. He has many good human friends and he can sleep and eat with several of them. “He’s very healthy. He’s amazing.  He’s sleek and long.  And he’s spoiled rotten,” Martha said.

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