12 Saves of 2023 #5: Jitterbug
It was two days before Christmas 2022 when Jitterbug arrived at FieldHaven Feline Center. He was (and is) perfect in every way except for one thing… he has tremors, or jitters, constantly.
Jitterbug literally fell out of the undercarriage of a truck during a routine truck stop, likely having been up there to keep warm overnight. The truck driver, seemingly unaware, sped off, but thankfully, a kind couple saw the cat and rushed to help him, contacting the nearest animal agency, Gridley Animal Services.
He had the tremors when he arrived, and it didn’t get worse, but it also didn’t get better. Gridley didn’t have the resources to care for him but saw his sweet, loving personality and couldn’t consider any other options, so they reached out to us.
We picked him up, and his carrier literally vibrated the entire car ride home. We took him to Companion Veterinary Clinic right away to run blood tests to rule out any critical conditions requiring immediate care. While we were there, we contacted Dr. Vernau at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine because we knew she was the best for special neuro cases. The good news was that despite how terrible his tremors looked, he was happy, loved being snuggled, and had an instant purr.
Over time, Jitterbug had many, many tests done. The good news is that progressive or life-threatening illnesses and injuries were ruled out. The not-so-good news was that we were told Jitterbug’s condition is idiopathic, basically, a medical term loosely meaning “we have no idea what’s causing the tremors.”
So, we sent him to a foster home with one of our all-stars. He loved the TLC, his new place, and his person. Over time, we learned a lot about him—he sat m,ore easily than stood, and his tremors lessen when he is held. His desire to thrive was and is incredible. It was hard to watch him, but he was the one who gave us hope.
After several months, what we had hoped would happen did—Jitterbug’s foster decided to adopt him! His tremors never got any worse, nor did they get better—but his life sure did improve. He loves sitting on the couch next to her. He has no trouble jumping and even runs! He plays, he’s put on weight, and he is one of the happiest cats we know.
YOU helped us fight for Jitterbug. Two days before Christmas, YOU helped us say yes to giving him this chance at a normal life.
While we didn’t discover the cause of his tremors, we did learn a lot – and so did the staff at UC Davis, which can be used to help other cats in the future! That’s what makes us so proud. We have the dedication and skill to go the extra mile for kitties like Jitterbug and thanks to YOU, we have the resources to do it. Our gratitude runs deep this holiday season.
Happiest of PAWlidays,
– Joy Smith, executive director of FieldHaven
P.S. The simple fact that we can go above and beyond for cats like Jitterbug is what keeps us going. Your support allows us to say yes to the hard cases and allows us to keep our belief that all lives are valued. We’re sending merry and warm wishes your way this holiday because you deserve it.