Becca Gordon was awakened every night by the same thing: a dark, raspy breathing right next to her ear.
"It was like being woken by Darth Vader," Gordon said. "There would be this incredibly hard, breathy struggle going on."
But it wasn't Darth Vader at all. It was Becca's new foster cat, Mildred. She had gotten an upper respiratory infection, which is common among shelter cats.
"She got a cold, essentially," Gordon says.
But unlike people, cats can't knock back a couple Tylenol Cold & Flu pills to move on with their day. The only thing that made Mildred feel better was actually pretty simple: a steamy bathroom.
Whenever Mildred's breathing gets bad in the night, Becca Gordon gets up, turns on the shower, and sits in the bathroom with the cat, watching her savour the steam.
"We would sit in there and it would get really steamy," Gordon says. "I would just sit there and pet her and hold her. She came alive in the steam. I suppose being able to breathe helped."
It took anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes for the steam to help Mildred, and it was always extremely clear when she was ready to go back to bed.
"Usually, what would happen is she'd left off a really big sneeze," Gordon recalls. "A really big, gross sneeze. And I'd be like, 'OK, clearly things are moving around. I would bring her back into my room and she would proceed to sneeze all over my room."
Becca Gordon had never intended to be a foster parent. She works at the shelter where Mildred was surrendered and saw how fast the little cat was declining. But, having two cats of her own, Gordon didn't think she'd be able to take her. However, Gordon happened to be holding Mildred when the shelter made it clear she needed to be fostered immediately, and when you have a tiny trembling cat in your lap it's kinda hard to say no!
It took about a week for the respiratory infection to disappear (with the help of antibiotics, of course) and now Mildred's personality is shining through! She is up for adoption already and many people have applied to take this sneezing kitty home with them!
Bless you, Mildred! And bless the family that finds you a fur-ever home!