She was huddled up on the steps, so thin you could see every bone in her body. Ants and parasites were swarming all over her, but she had no strength to shake or brush them off. Her eyes, sticky with crusts, were swollen shut: from infection or insect bites, I don’t know.

Barely alive.

She couldn’t have been more than three months old.

We took her inside the office and washed her off as best as we could, and she struggled a bit then, but weakly. The parasites would not come off. She had lost a lot of blood, I noticed. Her color was faded. Laying her down in a warm corner of the office, we tried to feed her, but she was too weak to even lift her head. Fed a small morsel, she chewed at it pitifully, but she was too feeble to take another bite after that. The ticks swarmed over her body, so many I wondered how she could still be alive, how she could have any blood left in her at all.

She would not eat. I decided she needed to be brought to the doctor. Carefully bundling her up — how thin she was! — I went downstairs and hailed a taxi. It took about 10 minutes to get to the clinic. I wondered if she would make it.

So still, so limp, as she was lifted onto the table. She was hardly breathing, her leg giving an occasional twitch. I could see her heart, her tiny heart, a pulsing lump beneath the painfully visible rib cage.

The doctor sighed and told me the best thing would be to put her to sleep. I agreed. She was still breathing. She didn’t even struggle, didn’t even make a sound, when the syringe went into her vein, and the clear violet liquid mixed with what was left of her blood.

It took less than five seconds for her heart, her tiny, tiny heart, to stop.

The doctor sprayed some alcohol, and wrapped the feeble corpse up in newspaper. She would be buried later on, he told me.

Poor, poor kitten. So little blood left in her that even her nose was no longer pink. Parasites crawling through her fur. We knew her only two and a half hours, from 6:30am to 9am, and she was dying the whole time. Tiff and I were glad to be able to do something, even if the only thing that we could do was end it.

We named her Fleecy. Just two and a half hours, but we’ll remember her.