“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.” ― Jean Cocteau

Friday, 20 June 2014

A Happy Ending

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Several years ago, a young woman began feeding a family of feral cats that she discovered near her office, just outside of Los Angeles, California. Each morning, as she would walk up to feed the cats, they would rush out to greet her, excited and hungry. One morning, she noticed something different about one of them. A young black and white male cat was missing his whiskers. They looked like they had been burned off. His fur looked a little strange, as well. Upon closer inspection, she noticed that there was a chunk missing from his right rear leg, as if something had taken a bite out of it.

Stubbs_amazing cat story

The next morning, when the cat showed up to eat, she noticed that his left paw was missing. It was at this point she figured out that the cat was gnawing off parts of his body that had been injured. She knew she had to get this cat some help so she contacted C.A.R.E who, in turn, rallied other members of the rescue community together.

It was a long, concerted effort to save this poor kitten. Although the rescue volunteers were equipped with traps, nets, and all the tricks that their experience with feral cats had taught them over the years, this little kitten wasn’t going for any of it. It was heartbreaking to see him every day, getting worse and worse. He kept gnawing at his feet until he had chewed off his front leg almost to the shoulder and his right rear leg to the knee. And, yet, every day he kept coming to breakfast, hobbling along to the food dish, with a survival instinct like no one had ever seen before. It was completely heartbreaking, yet truly inspiring at the same time.

This cat wanted to live!

The rescue group had named the cat “Stubbs”. They were determined to save him before his infection from his injuries spread. His mother, “Scarlet”, tried to protect him by standing guard at his hiding place when he was sleeping or hiding- and this is how everyone figured out where Stubbs disappeared to after he ate. When rescuers tried to catch Stubbs or grab him, Scarlet put herself in between him and everything else and would hiss and spit in an effort to keep anyone from hurting her kitten.

For three days, the rescue group stayed on site, sleeping in their cars at night, trying desperately to find an opening to rescue the injured kitten. Finally (with a little help from KFC Original Recipe chicken used for bait) they were able to catch Stubbs.

He was immediately taken to an animal hospital. The diagnosis was shocking: someone had set this cat on fire! All four of Stubbs feet and lower legs were badly burned. As the days had passed, the pain and dying tissue had motivated him to gnaw off parts of his own body. The vets did what they could to save Stubbs limbs but one of the back legs was gone (up to the knee) as well as his left front leg (up to the elbow).

Through much nurturing and care, Stubbs recovered enough to be placed in to a foster home. There he received the love and attention he deserved and he blossomed in to the most delightful cat one could imagine. It wasn’t long before he found a permanent home of his own with a happy couple and their cat Eliza.

If anybody deserved a happy ending, it was Stubbs. What a strong and amazing little cat!
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Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Cat Stories: Mario, the “Miracle” Cat

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In July 2013, in the town of Lac-Megantic Canada, an unattended 74-car freight train carrying crude oil ran away and derailed, resulting in the fire and explosion of multiple tank cards. Forty-two people were killed and five more were missing and presumed dead. More than 30 buildings in the town’s center, roughly half of the downtown area, were destroyed. A hundred and fifteen businesses were destroyed, displaced, or rendered inaccessible.

The municipal water supply for Lac-Megantic was shut down because of a leak inside the blast zone, requiring trucks carrying drinking water to be utilized during clean-up efforts. Residents were evacuated from their homes and many businesses had to operate from temporary locations outside the downtown area.

It was the fourth deadliest rail accident in Canadian history. The tragedy crippled the town and brought its residents to their knees.

Amidst the chaos and devastation, no one heard the soft cries of a cat left helpless and alone. No one was there to tend to its needs as it sat trapped and alone inside one of the abandoned homes.

Mario_Blog5On September 22, an incredibe 79 days after the disaster struck, the poor feline was finally found. A worker named Mario spotted the male tabby cat’s silhouette in the window of the house. He called Francoise Belle-Isle, of the local animal refuge, who helped lure the cat out of the house with a cage trap.

Francoise herself is a heroine. She worked 14-hour days following the derailment helping displaced families with pets and those looking for their missing pets. So, she was thrilled to be able to add this poor cat to her list of survivors.

The cat had been holed up without food, water or companionship for more than seven weeks. No one has determined how he managed to survive for so long on his own. He was suffering from such extreme dehydration when he was brought in to the veterinarian that there was some discussion about putting him down.

But Francoise would have none of that. This cat was a survivor!

She gave the cat a new name (Mario) and, in the days after his rescue, she was by his side as he showed remarkable improvement thanks to a protein-rich diet supplemented with iron-enhanced baby cereal. The vet expressed surprise at the remarkable results, considering his long time spent in seclusion.

Mario proved he had a fighting spirit when his energy continued to increase. Day by day his health improved until, finally, he was acting like a normal happy cat.

Today, no one would recognize the scrawny sad cat that was found in that abandoned home. His body and spirit have made a full recovery thanks to the help of a true angel. Francoise still keeps in touch with the hearty tabby. He has a new home now and enjoys sunning himself in the patch of sunlight that streams through his favorite window.

Just as the town of Lac-Megantic stayed strong to re-build itself from such a tragedy, so has Mario, the “Miracle” cat.
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