When Amanda Kruczynski became a foster volunteer five years ago, she was told about one thing in fostering - "there's good in goodbye. Goodbye is the goal."
"You're responsible for taking these pets into your home until they're healthy enough, confident enough, big enough to go onto their forever homes," Amanda told Love Meow. "So, it's true, there is good in goodbye…until goodbye isn't an option, until the pet chooses you."
About a year ago, a curly haired kitten came into Amanda's life and changed her in a way that she'd never expected.
Meeseeks was found in cardboard box outside in the rain along with his feline family. They were rescued and brought in to Broward County Animal Care and set up to be fostered.
Amanda arrived at the shelter the next morning and was immediately told about the little family. "His mother was an FIV positive, long haired diluted tortie and three of his siblings were long haired as well but not Meeseeks," Amanda said. "He was what appeared to be a Devon Rex Mix."
The kitties desperately needed a foster home. Amanda didn't hesitate and offered to help.
Meeseeks was much smaller than his siblings and weighed less than half a pound. For the first few days, he wanted to be cuddled constantly and would curl up in a ball that was small enough to fit in the palm of his foster mom's hand.
He quickly became very attached to Amanda and would follow her everywhere like her shadow. "He took to watching me. There wasn't a closed door I could go behind without opening it to find him waiting for me."
A couple of weeks later, Amanda received devastating news when she got the test result back for the kittens. "They tested positive for panleukopenia, an ailment that is nearly always fatal in kittens his size."
She was not willing to give up and would fight to the end alongside the kitties.
"After one full week of round the clock treatment, Meeseeks and all of his siblings miraculously survived," Amanda told Love Meow.
Being the runt of the litter, Meeseeks had so much stacked up against him but he pulled through like a champ. He often latched onto Amanda for comfort and love. Perhaps, that had given him a purpose to keep fighting.
When the kitties were ready for adoption, Amanda brought them to the shelter, thinking that was when they parted ways as forever homes were waiting for them.
"I'd never hesitated before. Meeseeks looked up at me from the mass of fluffy siblings in his carrier and basically signed the adoption papers himself."
Turns out, Meeseeks needs Amanda for another special reason. He has a health condition that went undetected during the early months of his life.
"After multiple visits to the vet, it was clear that he was an anomaly and without a diagnosis, things went downhill very quickly," Amanda added. "After three bouts of aspiration pneumonia, exploratory laparotomy, and a misdiagnosis of cancer, Meeseeks was finally diagnosed with Feline Gastrointestinal Eosinophilic Sclerosing Fibroplasia."
"FGESF is a fairly new inflammatory disease which impacts his ability to properly keep food in his system. There's no way to predict his life expectancy and his vet has to constantly check for new studies to make sure he's on the latest treatment," Amanda told Love Meow.
"It's something he will live with for the rest of his life. But for now we manage it with daily steroids, weekly B12 injections and anti nausea medication as needed. Meeseeks has been a fighter since day one and we have no doubt he'll keep fighting for a long time to come."
Amanda celebrates each day with her beloved kitty who is always in good spirits despite it all. "He likes to spend perched on a window or chasing the elusive red dot of a laser pointer. He is a never ending source of joy for our family," she said.
His attachment to his human mom has never wavered. "I still can't go into a separate room without him following and when I go to sleep at night it's never long before he's scratching my pillow to join me under the blankets. He is an absolute cuddle bug and I wouldn't trade him or our journey together for anything."
Mr. Meeseeks just turned one last month (Oct 1st). "We celebrated his first birthday — a birthday he was never supposed to have. But somehow, I think he knew how important our bond would be for his future. How important I would be for him but also how important he would be for me," Amanda told Love Meow.
"He forced me to take a new approach to the way I view life. And above all else, he taught me that love is a four letter word that sometimes comes with four little paws attached."
Some things never change :)
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