This is the story of Lucky, who inspired the Kittyloaf name. He was only with me for a little less then three years, but I remember him very fondly and always will. He brought a sense of humor into life everywhere he went, and made everyone who watched him laugh. He was never the brightest cat in the world, but he was my favorite. This page was taken from another of my websites, so some of the information is out of date, but his story remains the same. Please spay and neuter your pets. Their welfare, and the welfare of any resulting offspring is your responsibility.
Lucky met his end the last week of October 2007- just a month from his 3rd birthday. He escaped from the house (he never did like being a house cat) and became tangled in the same materials he did as a kitten. This time, no one found him in time to rescue him. After several years of struggling, my Mom has finally gotten control over the cat population, and all members are spayed and neutered, thanks to Angel Dogs Foundation.
A few short days before Christmas, a sad & plaintive mewing was heard from under our house- & at 5:30 that morning, my Mom was under the house with a flashlight, checking things out. What she found was a sad & heartbreaking site- one kitten, wrapped up in wire, & shredded black tarpaulin-type material, was dead & decomposing. And at his side was another kitten in the same fix, but alive & crying for rescue.
She quickly came inside, & waking my Dad, & myself, went back under the house to begin the rescue operation. Using wire cutters, the live kitten was slowly cut free from his prison, where he had been hanging by one rear leg. I waited just a few feet from where they worked, waiting to take the kitten into the house. He had been hanging for several days, & had not eaten. I placed him inside of a small kennel, after given him a very small amount of condensed milk- about a tablespoon. Although cats are lactose intolerant, it was decided that a tiny bit of rich food would be the best choice- & then we waited to see it he would live. He was cold, starving, & in shock.
After about four hours had passed, I reached in & removed him from the kennel. He was trying to walk, but his badly injured leg was causing him some problems. As the blood circulation had been shut off for some days, the paw had split open & ruptured in many placed when it was suddenly restored. Clear fluids & small amounts of bright fresh blood seeped from dozens of tiny openings in his paw & lower leg. While there were some positive things to be said about this, such as returned blood flow, there was also the question of how much permanent damage had been done to his leg because of the massive amount of swelling & the rupturing of his skin.
Working diligently, we kept his foot bathed, massaged it, & encouraging him to be active & monitoring his appetite, which was very good. He was put on antibiotics, & watched very carefully. After about a week & a half, he learned how to jump out of the large cardboard box he had graduated to- the box had its sides taped up, & was about 30” high. At this point our little boy was between 4 & 6 weeks of age.
Then on a Saturday, after nearly two weeks of treatment, the end of one toe fell off after we bathed his foot. This was not entirely unexpected, as a very large amount of necrotic tissue could be seen on the foot, but to have so much of the toe come off, including the entire nail bed was a bit of a shock. But there was new flesh & skin grown over the end, so no bone was visible. Ten minutes later he chewed the end of the toe up, leaving a bloody mess.
From that point on, we had to bandage him foot, & because it was no longer open to the air, it had to be changed & cleaned frequently, due to the seeping of the wounds. The bandage changes were very short term though, because on Sunday morning most of the side of his paw came off with the bandage, even though it was very gently soaked off to avoid pulling off too much tissue. Knowing the emergency clinic is on a cash only, paid in full up front basis, & we did not have the money to take him in (they do not treat animals there either, only make a diagnosis, or put them to sleep), we chose to re bandage his paw to keep it clean, & wait until Monday morning when we could call our vet’s office.
In the meantime, I had been posting his story on a few message boards, & in my frustration at not being able to save the little guy we had all grown so attached to, I simply stated that if the leg did not come off, he was going to die. Suddenly the people who did not respond two weeks previous to this when I asked if they would buy items to help raise money to do something for him were clawing at my throat, insisting he could not be allowed to die. Suddenly donations were being sent in, & it was all or nothing.
Monday morning I called the vet, & explained the situation to the receptionist. I am leaving out the names on the office & the vet because what they did was a wonderful & kind thing that we never expected, & its not fair to them to have less scrupulous people asking for highly discounted rates because they gave one to the little boy. I was told to bring him in as soon as possible, & the vet would see him. The office opens at 8:00 a.m., & we were there at about 8:45 a.m.. At about 10:00 a.m., Lucky, as my Mom had taken to calling him, was sent to an examining room. I recapped what treatment he had received, as well as the fact that his treatment would depend on cost- I did not have the money, & the kindness of strangers was paying for his care. If need be, a woman from several hours away would come down to get him.
After listening to my explanation of his condition, the vet gently pulled Lucky’s bandage off of his foot. He had spent the morning trying to get out of his box, & it was a mess of wet litter- in short, a ball of wet clay. The bandage slid right off of his, exposing what very much resembled a de gloving-type injury. But even with this horrible mess attached to his body, he still wanted to play & explore. He looked at the foot, & leg, then started to explain why it would be better to remove the leg, rather then try to save it. I stopped him, & explained I did not want to try to save the leg, because it would be faster & easier at his young age to remove it, & he would adapt very quickly. The vet concurred, & Lucky was scheduled for surgery that afternoon.
Later that afternoon, I called to check up on him & see how he did. I was told he was doing fine, & could go home the next afternoon. I made arrangements with my Mom to pick him up after she got off of work, since she would already be in town, & I had just started a new class at the local college. Mom picked him up, & made a payment towards his bill- $30.00 cash & a $40.00 check. The rest of the money brought in by fellow animal lovers was being transferred to my bank.
Lucky has not only lost his leg, but he had also been neutered, & gotten his first shots. He slept a lot that first night, & the next day, but was becoming more & more active very quickly. The next day we took the second photos of him. These were immediately posted for his friends to see. Constant updates were made until it was clear that he was doing well, & would continue to do so. I made & sent a thank you card to the vet’s office when I went in a few days later to pay the remainder of the bill- $294.10.
Two weeks later, he returned to have his stitched removed, & make an appearance at the vet’s. One of the technicians immediately recognized him, even without seeing his missing limb. He still has a few days of Clavamox drops before they run out, but he has been pretty good about taking them. He hates the bubble gum flavor.
Lucky might not be alive today if it were not for the people who helped him- he would have been put down or been picked up by the woman who volunteered to do so, & what happened then would be what her vet decided was best. Instead he is a new & much loved part of our family, & has bonded very well with my other cat, Cloud. They eat together, sleep together, & play together. That’s the happy ending.
The other ending is that after hundreds of phone calls, I quickly narrowed the list of possible low-cost spay & neuter clinics down to two. Most of the information on the internet is so badly out of date that one of my phone calls when to the home of a vet who has not had a surgery or a practice for over 10 years. The one remaining possibility has yet to return my phone calls.
Because of this lack of low-cost options in this area, many of us have a large number of feral or just unaltered cats living around our homes. We ourselves have a constantly fluctuating 15 year old community of outside cats that out of all of them, one has been altered. In the past, I have called every veterinary clinic I could reach, to determine their rates for spaying & neutering. Spaying runs about $40.00 for the actual operation, but no one will do it without a full range of blood tests, & if FLV negative, shots. While I understand the reasoning behind this, I don’t understand why many other areas do offer these services, but it is so hard to find one here that offers the full service for under $100.00 per cat.
The above is somewhat incorrect after getting in touch with Pet Assistance, who were able to put $15.00 towards the spaying of five of our females, & direct us to a vet who charges $51.00 per cat for spaying, & $40.00 per cat for neutering. They also do not require shots beforehand, so I will give them myself before they go in for their surgeries.
The money given to Lucky is foremost his, but with his costs taken care of, the excess is being put towards the spaying of our outside females. We have the only cats for several miles that reside outdoors, & if the females are spayed, it will eliminate more kittens from being born, & consequently the possibility of creating more “Luckys”, & give them a longer life through better care and attention. Please share Lucky’s story with your local vets & implore them to work out a plan to help limit the feral cats in the area. If each vet would offer one day per month, first come, first serve, where they offered up spay or neuter, & basic vaccines for $25.00 a cat, this would allow so many more to get their pets the proper care they deserve, as well as limiting the number of animals that may not have access to good food, clean water, or shelter in bad weather.
I intend to share this story with the vets in my area in hopes of establishing some sort of program which will allow low-cost spay & neuters to take place, & to encourage donations to groups such as Pet Assistance who have helped us.