Helping a cat in desperate need

Penny

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Oct 13, 2012
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#1
Over the past few days, a friend of mine and I have been trying to help a stray cat which we found in a very distressed state on Monday. The cat is a stray that's been hanging around in our neighbourhood for quite some time, disappearing from time to time and then reappearing. Unfortunately, when we approached it on Monday, it ran away.

As some of you know, I volunteer at my local RSPCA charity shop once a week but when I rang the helpline for help, they simply told me that they couldn't do anything if it wasn't confined or coming regularly to one place. Even when I said that the cat was injured, bleeding and clearly in distress they repeated that they couldn't help.

I started looking on the internet and came across a small local charity Anim-Mates http://www.anim-mates.org.uk/ and got in touch with them. What a different response, the lady in charge of cat trapping came out the next day and walk around the neighbourhood with me. Talking to residents, we were able to establish that several of them had seen the cat and were feeding him, albeit intermittently. By chance, I spoke to one lady that I know and when I showed her a photo she told me that she had not only been feeding the cat but he'd been coming into her house.

That night, we left a cat trap set but yesterday morning it was empty. I continued making enquiries and speaking to people throughout the day and was told by one person that they thought the cat had a home but that the people had thrown him out. I was literally just about to go and knock on their door when the lady I'd spoken to the previous evening came round to see me and told me that they had coaxed the cat into their house! :)

Things moved pretty fast after that, we got him into a cat box and off to the vets. He has a broken jaw and a deep seated infection and the vet's initial reaction was to put him to sleep but.....Anim-Mates has a no kill policy unless the animal is in extreme distress and, apart from his injury, the cat was active, very affectionate and purring. Anim-Mates decided that he should be given a chance and asked the vet to go ahead and treat him (it's a him and yes he's unneutered). The cost is expected to be in excess of £700, he may need a skin graft as the infection has eaten away at his lip. Anim-Mates are running an appeal for donations towards the cost of his treatment and so far they tell me they have been inundated :)

The latest update I had was that he had had a comfortable night, is on painkillers and antibiotics and has had several xrays. These reveal no other injuries but the sticking point will be if they cannot get rid of the infection or if once they wire his jaw, it doesn't bond as he will then be unable to eat. This cat, now named Oliver (by me, because of how my Oliver survived a terrible accident) needs all our positive thoughts for a successful recovery.

I am attaching a couple of photos, the first was taken on Monday, the second yesterday at the vets. They are graphic and upsetting so apologies if anyone is really upset by these.

How anyone can abandon an animal to this sort of fate is totally beyond me. I am now seriously considering whether to continue volunteering with the RSPCA who, by the way, told me that they would take him once he was captured. I firmly believe he has a better chance in the care of Anim-Mates and that's why I handed him into their care instead.

Sorry this is a bit long everyone but I thought it was a story that the cat lovers among us would like to hear. It gives me hope that there are at least some good people in this world that have the best interests of animals at heart :)

cat300315.jpg oliver2.jpg
 
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Linda

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#2
He is going to be one gorgeous boy!
What a lucky lad!

It is heartbreaking to see animals in such a condition and sadly there is a lot more of it today than there used to be.

Oliver is one of the lucky ones. I do hope and pray that he does recover and that his jaw bonds.

I always feel so angry that an animal is left like this..even seen by so many and nothing is done.... until people like yourself come along and take action.

Do let us know how he gets on... :)
 

Penny

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Oct 13, 2012
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#3
I have just seen an update from Anim-Mates, Linda.

Oliver has now had his jaw wired and a drain put in to drain the pus from the wound. When the lady went to see him, he was very bright, purring and rolled over for a belly rub. That was the first time she'd met him and she said how lovely he is.

I'm just relieved that I didn't just sit back and leave it and it was pure chance that I found Anim-Mates online and contacted them for advice.

Last night was the first night that I slept properly since I saw him on Monday; on Monday and Tuesday nights I could hear a cat making a terrible noise in the street and I went out to look but couldn't see it. Coincidentally, I didn't hear the noise last night.....

These are the latest photos of Oliver, taken by the lady from Anim-Mates when she visited him today. He looks like a different cat already :) and bears more than a passing resemblance to my Oliver and Cheryl's cat Juniper, both of whom were dumped in this area.

Oliver1020415.jpg Oliver2020415.jpg
 
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GillB

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Oct 18, 2012
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#4
What a miracle it is being able to find Oliver at all after the injuries he has. What a lovely little cat he is too and I am wishing him all the luck in the world to get well andmove on to his new caring home. One very lucky little cat who has so many people looking out for him at last. Wonderful work there Penny!
Yes I must say I agree with you in respect of the RSPCA as I know that they do not respond to all requests to injured animals. I also support animal charity that have a no kill policy.
 

Penny

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#5
Thank you Gill. I do have a feeling though that I may be asked to explain why I didn't hand him over to the RSPCA as the manager at the shop was quite insistent that I do so if I caught him. I'm afraid that I didn't feel inclined to given that they offered me no help at all, not even the loan of a trap. Our vet says quite openly that they only show an interest if there's a chance of publicity. I am now questioning whether I want to continue as a volunteer.

A friend of mine who helped me to look for Oliver and who took us to the vets has offered him a home and Anim-Mates are happy with that.
 

GillB

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#6
Wonderful news Oliver has also found a home as well as being rescued from such an awful fate.

Penny you certainly made the right choice when contacting Anim - Mates to help Oliver. There was no obligation for you to hand him over to the RSPCA despite your manager insisting you should. It was not his decision as your main concern was for this very sick and needy little cat. Wishing Oliver well every single day.
 

Linda

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#7
He is certainly looking brighter and cleaner!
His third eye lid shows he is still a long way to go...but if that jaw can heal and in majority of cases they do..cats are very good at this even though it breaks our heart to see it. He does remind you of Oliver and Juniper... he sounds lovely and Anim-mates sound brilliant!!
I too have reservations about RSPCA and SSPCA..although I also know with the latter that donations are down significantly and thus they dont have the resources to care for all that they come across. (Not that I am excusing them!)

Even better is that he has a home to look forward to !!!! That is often the hardest bit!

Well done and thank you for caring! and going that extra mile..so many dont...maybe you should volunteer for Anim-Mates instead?? :)
 

Penny

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Oct 13, 2012
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#8
I was told that by the manager of the shop that I volunteer at Linda but...
A friend of mine phoned an RSPCA inspector that he's had past dealings with and, while he was told the same thing, he was also told (and I quote) 'a couple of cold nights and nature will take its course'. Resources may be stretched but that attitude certainly doesn't tally with their tv ad where they say they don't intend to let any animal down.Perhaps they need to manage expectations better but I'm afraid I've now made my decision and I'm going to stop volunteering for them. It's a shame that Anim-Mates are quite a,way from me because I would volunteer with them but I can donate stuff to them for their various sales and events and I'll be doing that.

The latest on Oliver is that he's doing well, is very bright and active. He's adapted well to the feeding tube and the vet thinks this is helping his general recovery.

I'm hoping, having persuaded Mum that we can manage another cat, that if he makes a good recovery, I will be able to rehome him. What I'll do with 2 cats called Oliver I'm not sure but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it!
 

Linda

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funny you mention that re RSPCA, I was watching the advert this morning and thought exactly the same thing...but mine was more how dare they advertise like that when they dont do anything!....my Dad was on call 24 hours a day and seven days a week...Inspectors today dont know they are born...and animals certainly are suffering far more!

I did think will Penny take him..and I am really so happy that he is coming to you!! See how easily and quickly they start to add up in numbers! ;) He will be such a lucky boy ..have you seen the cat on Facebook that is being fed via feeding tube and he is doing so well.... http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=935984756452295&set=gm.10153556225021549&type=1&theater
I so keep my fingers crossed that Oliver is doing well... brilliant...shame you cant volunteer for them but as you say you can do things for them in other ways...

Wonderful!!!
 

GillB

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#10
So pleased Oliver will be living in your home Penny when he is well again. I had hoped this would happen but then you have been so caring for this little cat he would already feel that he belongs with you.

I once volunteered at an RSPCA charity shop but left soon after.
 

Penny

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#11
I have told Anim-Mates that I am happy to give him a home so now I guess we wait and see how he gets on, then I expect they will make a decision about whether I can rehome him.

Gill, I never knew you'd volunteered at an RSPCA charity shop. I have been thinking of giving it up for a while now, don't know if you found the same but there is quite a hierarchy amongst the more long serving volunteers. That's ok if you need to feel important but I just find it all a bit tedious, for me it should be about working together for the same cause.
 

Linda

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Gill, Why may i ask did you give it up? Was it similar to Penny's thoughts.

Guess it will be somewhile before he can come to you Penny as his jaw will need to heal first and begin eating again? Will you be able to go and see him?
 

Penny

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#13
I've spoken to the lady this evening Linda. Their plan is to place him in a foster home once he's able to leave the vets. They have no idea when that will be yet; I think it all depends on how his jaw heals and they will likely have to do a skin graft on his lip as one side has been badly damaged by the infection.

Whether I rehome him all depends on whether he wants to go out. As you know, my cats are house cats and I couldn't stand the worry of him going out especially with all the building works going on on the land at the back of us. Plus, having spoken to the vet, they are now wondering whether it was a car accident or if someone did this to him deliberately; the lack of other injuries is I think making them think this. On that basis, if he wants to go out and is able to, they don't want to rehome him in this area and I can't say that I blame them, if he's going to be an outdoor cat, he needs to be somewhere safer than here.

However, if the jaw doesn't heal completely and he is frail, he,will need to stay in. They know that I have had experience of something similar with Oliver so that would stand me in good stead.

So I guess we just wait and see but ultimately the most important thing is that he has a good home and is safe.
 
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GillB

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#14
A waiting game with Oliver. I am wishing him well and hoping his jaw will heal quickly and he will soon be able to leave the vets. Whether to a foster home or to you Penny will soon become clear. I do hope he will be an indoor cat and live with you although I can understand the fear you will have if he ventures outside. Also it is understandable the sanctuary will be wary of him being rehomed in the same area as if he has been deliberately harmed as it will be too much of a risk.

The manager at the RSPCA shop where I volunteered was abrupt and as the work was unpaid and I didn't claim travelling expenses I thought his attitude was a bit off. My stint with the RSPCA lasted about about ten weeks and yes Penny there is a pecking order amongst volunteers which shouldn't happen when working for a cause. I then volunteered with a local charity shop helping out for six years. For me personally I would not take on this form of volunteering again due to the experiences I have had.
 

Linda

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That's such a shame Gill. Volunteers are valuable assets.

Absolutely Penny. It's always in the cats best interests - not what we want. That is awful if that's whats happened to him..just terrible. Like us with Doctors ..Vets can usually tell what happened...just awful and of course wherever he goes will be for his sake and whats best. Just keeping my fingers crossed for his continued recovery and return to good health. Poor little mite more surgery work. Do let us know how it goes with him..He looks such a handsome boy!! and even if he wasn't he still a beautiful soul ..a cat!
 

Penny

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#16
Yes Linda, the most important thing is that he has a home where he is safe. You know that we always had a suspicion that Oliver's broken pelvis wasn't caused by an RTA, more that he'd been hurt deliberately. There are some truly sick people around, that's partly why my cats don't go out. Someone said to me the other day that they have no life because I don't let them out. Well, I think they have a pretty good life and in any event with all the building works on the site at the back of us they just wouldn't be safe.

Anyway, the good news is that there is a video on the Anim-Mates Facebook page showing Oliver eating! This is such good news and only 5 days after his operation. They are planning to remove the drain today so he's doing really well.

Gill, that is my perception too, that there is a hierarchy and my experience is that some volunteers place far too much importance on their role. At Sainsburys, I have to cash up my own till and it's never been wrong, it always balances. Last week, I was on the till in the RSPCA shop and was told by one of the other volunteers that I couldn't put the afternoon float in the till! It's this sort of thing that I just do not understand, but then perhaps some people need to feel that level of importance, whereas I don't.
 

GillB

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#17
What a joy to see Oliver tucking heartedly into his food? What a miracle too in such a short space of time due to the excellent care he is receiving at the vets. So delighted to see him Penny doing so well.
We all want to believe that no one could possibly be so very cruel to such lovely creatures but there is so much evil out there that our faith is shattered.
I would behave exactly the same as you Penny and would not let my cats out either especially after what had happened to your Oliver. Thankfully Katy just sits in the garden but I am watching her all the time.

I experienced many incidents over my years as a volunteer that caused me upset but I still kept plodding on doing the best I could. I finally left the shop due to going into hospital for an major operation. I received no letter of gratitude for the six years service. This spoke volumes as it portrayed just how unimportant volunteers can be within certain situations.
 

Linda

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Gill thats terrible!!!
When I took over I wrote a letter to the outgoing Coordinator and I put a notice in the local paper thanking her for her 25 years of work etc!
Volunteers are what these places are built on!

Just looked at the page..and he is one gorgeous boy! He is going to be ok.

As for people saying your cats dont have a life... you know my thoughts on such...what a load of ****....your cats a very happy indeed! Many cats are indoor cats....in fact we have two here! So much safer for them and they adapt! Very adaptable are cats!

Marvellous job they are doing... and he is changing all the time isnt he...

If I was still living at my old house in Shoreham..I was at the time contemplating having the whole garden fenced in to keep my cats in. If I was still there I wold have done so. Even then I would still be worrying about what could happen so so agree about indoors! :)
 

Cheryl

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Oct 14, 2012
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#19
I also get the same said to me as both my two are indoor cats,they seem contented though and I don't really give a shite about negative opinions either
 

GillB

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Oct 18, 2012
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#20
Yes I have had similar remarks like I ought to let Katy have a life stay out at night if she wishes and roam just where she chooses. Out at night? Never or roam around streets where there are far too many cars. When in the past she has been missing it has been so very stressful so I am most grateful that she now just wanders out of the door and sit till she is ready to come back inside. I am forever at the window making sure she is ok! I suppose Katy is an indoor cat allowed outside under supervision.