Back in San Felipe, we camped at Playa Bonita campground where we had stayed before on our ATV ride. Seemed like a good idea as the place is in town, on the beach and has wi-fi access for $25/night. Not bad. . France was walking Minnie around the campground, it was dark. Suddenly, she heard her munching on something so she pulled her off away from whatever it was… But it was already too late. When France bent down to take a closer look, she saw and heard a cat, in the last stages of agony, dying not far from a plate of who knows what. And Minnie had just eaten some of that shit. Problem is the manager here is getting tired of roaming animals (he pretends cats especially but we all know cats are normally welcomed as they get you rid of mice and rats) and so he decided to go ahead and lay plates of poison on the ground, next to palapas and pic nic tables. On the campground! And, he never thought it may have been a good idea to even let his paying customers know about it. It is the evening in the small town of San Felipe, Mexico and all three vet offices are closed until tomorrow. Anguished, we wonder: “What should we do???” The campground manager suggests giving Minnie a lot of milk as an anti-poison and, not having any better ideas we give her some. A couple of hours later, she still doesn’t show any signs of sickness and we begin to think she might not have eaten enough to cause a reaction. But we were wrong. About half an hour later, she needs to go out of the camper and gets sick, very sick. She repeatedly vomits, first her food and milk mixed with the green poison, then just a clear substance (bile?) and then pure blood. She also has severe diarrhea, pooping nothing but blood. It’s obvious she is in great pain as we can see her stomach having severe contractions. This goes on for over 1½ hour, she is sick all over the campground, all over the beach and now she even has problems getting up and walking. It looks like she is loosing control of her hind legs. The poison is beginning to affect her nervous system. We have to do something or she may not survive the night. I wake up the manager, ask to see what she actually ate and if he knows of a vet who has an emergency number. Asuntol is the shit he “feeds the cats” with. He looks for a phone number to a vet for what seems like hours but all in vain. He finally agrees to take us to vet offices in hopes we can find an emergency number there. Minnie on my lap, drooling long strings of sticky saliva, we run into nothing but locked doors and shut down offices. At least, she isn’t vomiting or pooping anymore. But she is in bad shape. We stop at an open convenience store to get some more milk hoping to get her to take some but, back at camp, she doesn’t want to hear about it. Of course. Her condition seemingly stabilizes and she even tries her luck at some water. Bad idea. The vomiting comes right back and with the amount of blood she regurgitates we seriously fear loosing her. But she is a strong girl and she makes it through a sleepless night Early in the morning, I call Jim and ask him who’s the best vet in town. We’re there by 7:30. The place opens at 9:00. We think our luck is turning as Dr. Solis shows up at 8:00. But that’s when he tells us the clinic is closed today as it is spaying and neutering day on thursday. Once we explain the situation to him though, he gladly accepts to see Minnie. Happiness. Hope. M:” Doc, can you save her? Do you have something for her?” I pull out a pouch of the poison I had “stolen” from the manager. Precious information here. In a mix of Spanish and English he reassures us. Atropine was specifically developed to counteract the effect of Asuntol. He immedately gives her a shot. With Asuntol, you have 24 hours to get anti-poison, no more. It’s been over 12 hours since Minnie ate some, so our chances of a complete recovery are still good. She will stay at the vet’s, under observation for 24 hours. They will get her on IV and get blood samples analyzed so, tomorrow morning, we will know if she will suffer permanent damage to her liver and kidneys. Needless to say, it was another looooong 24 hours… But the next morning she is feeling A LOT better already. We learn we need to keep her on some meds for a full month but that she should see a full recovery. She is slowly getting back to her regular food after having been on a zero fat diet of chicken and rice that Caren and France lovingly cooked for her. We look at her and realize that, if this would have happen on a weekend, she wouldn’t be with us anymore. 24 hours is all you have. If it had happened on a weekend, Minnie would have died after agonizing until her kidneys, liver and lungs finally failed. There must be some better ways to get rid of cats. Especially since the vet explained to us an organization, here in town, provides cages with which to catch unwanted animals so they can be either euthanized in a more humane way or maybe even adopted. Poisonning them is plainly cruel. Do I have to mention Playa Bonita is permanently banned of our campground list? Especially since the plate of poison was still laying down on the ground when we left in the morning. If you go there, please watch your pets. You may not be as lucky as we were.
A very special thank you goes out to Dr. Jesus Antonio Solis and his assistant, Marysa for the great care they took of Minnie. Marysa showed up when the office was supposed to be closed while Dr Solis personnaly looked after Minnie the night she stayed at his office. Hats off to you both! Thank you also to Jim and Caren for their good advice and for cooking for Minnie. Much appreciated.