ROCKWALL, TX (Dec. 13, 2014) The best Christmas gifts are surprises. Sure, I’ve filled out my share of holiday wish lists. I used to compose thoughtful letters to Santa back in the Dark Ages. But my favorite gifts have been complete bolts out of the blue.
Mister K was a total surprise. Pam and I rescued him from the Rowlett shelter just before Thanksgiving last year. He was quite a sight. Huddled fearfully in the back of his shelter kennel, Mister K was little more than a walking skeleton covered in impossibly matted fur. His sloppy bathroom habits were a sign of intestinal problems. His front paws looked awkward as the result of a less-than-stellar declawing procedure. And we estimated that he was 12 years old.
Mister K clearly needed some help to get through the holiday season.
A few trips to the veterinarian didn’t help much. X-rays showed one of his kidneys was less than half its normal size and in the wrong location, probably a birth defect. Tests showed he had cancer or feline infectious peritonitis, which is a fatal, incurable disease for cats. And on top of everything else, Mister K had ringworm. In brief, this five-pound kitty was a bundle of health issues. We realized that we were his hospice foster home. Our vet told us Mister K had only two or three years left to live.
The dire outlook didn’t seem to faze him one bit. He slowly began to blossom. Once the ringworm cleared up and all the mats were cut away, Mister K developed a soft, luxurious coat. He proved to be a demanding, finicky eater, preferring less-than-nutritious downscale foods. Since he didn’t have long to live, we gladly watched him scarf down the equivalent of kitty junk food. On the upside, he began to put a little meat on his bony body.
And then it happened. I went to bed early one night with flu-like symptoms. Mister K didn’t wait long before he cuddled between my chest and my neck, with his purring face pressed to my nose. I read his signals clearly. He was trying to help me as much as we had been trying to help him. I was overcome with love for the little guy.
To our surprise, he’s our little Christmas buddy this season. We adopted him, making Mister K a full-fledged member of our family. He sleeps between us every night. And he wasted no time before curling up in front of the fire as if he had spent every holiday season with us. After all, there’s nothing like experiencing the warmth of love during Christmas.
And with what began as a little ragamuffin kitty, it’s a complete surprise. Mister K is the best Christmas gift of all. Here’s hoping your holiday season is filled with lots of happy surprises.
Story and photos by Blue Ribbon News guest columnist Michael Kitkoski, co-founder of Rockwall Pets and No Kill Solutions.