Sometimes the Silver Lining Has Some Mildew

Greetings as summer winds down. Recently, I learned a lesson that sometimes joy comes with a price tag that’s not readily apparent!! The incident reminded me that “no good deed goes unpunished.” On a warm summer day Ken and I adopted a litter of 8 week old kittens. Our home front gang of cats had gotten so old that we joked that they were carrying around their AARP cards instead of hunting critters on our rural property. Ken was insistent that we adopt more cats.
Striking out at the shelters, I turned to Craigslist where I found three male Bengal kittens up for adoption. I made arrangements to meet them and perhaps adopt them. Ken and I met the kitty lady in a motel parking near Knott’s Berry Farm.
We parked in front of the motel, which had seen better days, where we were offered easy viewing of the woman loading the kittens into a personal metal shopping cart at the back of a fenced parking lot. Kittens on board, they were wheeled toward us.
We said our hellos, admired the strikingly beautiful young cats and quickly agreed to adopt them. We placed them into our cat carrier, thanked her, and headed home in the 5 pm. traffic.
I was over the moon!! Shangri La! I had never seen sweeter kittens, nor had we had any kittens in over a decade. As we made our way down the 405 Freeway Ken said, “Donna you do realize that the motel is a county reimbursed homeless shelter, right?”
Ken continued, “I saw four adult people going in and out of that room where the lady was organizing the kittens. Do you remember that she mentioned that they had a dog and the parents of the kittens with her?”
I didn’t say anything, but I thought that’s a lot of folk and animals in one room. We dropped the topic and discussed the kittens’ transition at our home. I did not think more about it. As the days unfolded we discovered that we had the most loving, happy kittens. They were used to be being handled, leaping into our laps for petting and love. We were smitten. The granddaughters and my mother came to meet them. We were all beyond delighted with the new additions. Our days were filled with fun as we played with them, especially after the vet gave them gold stars during their wellness visit as their vaccinations began.
A couple of weeks passed and my son and his family returned from a Lake Powell houseboat vacation. He casually mentioned that his youngest daughter had come down with ringworm on the boat. They used an antidote and the spots cleared up. I assured him that it could not have been from the kittens as they had passed the veterinary inspection. 
However, my son had planted a seed of doubt in my mind. I began to study what I thought were “poison oak” spots on me more closely. Oh no! I realized that I had not contracted poison oak during my horse ride, but that I had 12 ringworm lesions on my face and body. I looked like the Zombie Apocalypse! There were panicky calls. I managed an emergency dermatologist appointment; oral and topical medications were prescribed, and I frantically called the veterinarian, The vet immediately prescribed medicated baths for the kittens and oral medication. We cancelled all our plans and commitments for the next two weeks. I was contagious!
That was the turning point where the bliss had morphed into something else entirely. Conscientiously, our 12 year old granddaughter, Caroline, and I began our nursing duties. We played YouTube videos on how to bathe small kittens. We followed the directions. As we dried the kittens after the first round of baths, we could hear suspicious rasping sounds in their tiny lungs. They had inhaled water. Real worry began to set in. No longer was ringworm the focus but we were concerned that our “cure” had threatened the lives of the kittens. We tucked them in for the night and hoped for the best by morning.
I had a terrible time sleeping for concern over the kittens. The next day, their breathing was still rough and they had developed coughs. I sounded the alarm and the veterinarian worked us into her busy schedule. I worried. The doctor diagnosed pneumonia and prescribed morning and night administration of antibiotics on top of the oral anti-fungal medication. We began a ten day regime of administering three oral syringes of medication per day to each of the three kittens. I was a bit frantic. I spent my time vacuuming, running loads of laundry and disinfecting the kittens’ area.
Slowly, the babies recovered and my lesions and those on the granddaughters healed as well. I no longer looked like a Zombie and the kittens returned to their playful selves. We are all recovering. The kittens never did show any symptoms, the doctor described them as “asymptomatic” and told the story of being an intern in an animal shelter where all 30 of its cats had ringworm. She said it was a nightmare to resolve.
My dermatologist was more philosophical saying, “Well this is the price we pay for loving our critters.” I am still cleaning like a maniac, but we seem to have turned the corner. The lesson I have learned from all this is that sometimes the silver lining has a mildew beneath it. Would I do it all over again knowing what I know now? Hmmm... Of course I would!! They are precious and I know we will have years of enjoyment. Eventually they will be old enough to take over the hunting tasks our older cats have abandoned. 
Did your summer go okay? Are you staying healthy? I would love to hear how you have been doing. My best, donna