Duncan was originally rescued from deplorable conditions – living outside, born to a frail feral cat who had to fight for every meal. Duncan and his siblings were saved by volunteers committed to a trap-neuter-return campaign. He was fostered and nursed back to health – then neutered before he came to us. He saw a lot of things in his first 12 weeks of life!
After all that, he was just a scrawny little thing – so we spent some extra time and money to put weight on him and get his fur looking beautiful and shiny. He was adopted and he continued to thrive in his new home.
Then one day, he had a little trouble with his balance. The next day; some more trouble. And the following day, Duncan was having trouble walking. Off to the veterinarian – x-rays didn’t show anything obvious. The doctor suggested Toxoplasmosis and prescribed antibiotics to see if they help.
No improvement after a few days (and a negative result on the Toxo blood test). The doctor didn’t have much else to offer and suggested euthanasia. At not even 5 months old! This was not an acceptable answer for us – after encouraging the adopters to find a new vet, we realized that Duncan needed a stronger advocate. Euthanasia has its place – for the truly suffering, irredeemably sick animals. Without knowing what was really wrong with Duncan, how could anyone make that choice?
Adoptions should be permanent – through the good, bad and ugly. But we saw that we were the ones fighting for Duncan, so we took him back. He didn’t just have trouble walking, he couldn’t use his back legs at all … not limping, not dragging … nothing. We got him comfortable in a large crate with lots of soft towels covered in wee-wee pads (for those times when we weren’t there to hold him up in his litter box). We spoon fed him – whatever happened to him had decreased his appetite.
We went to one of our veterinarians … more x-rays (still showing nothing), cold feet indicating some blood flow restriction, unresponsive to pinching his back feet, third-eyelids flicking up … not good signs. “Trauma” and/or “neurological issue(s)” were discussed … but more than likely, we were dealing with some kind of “trauma”.
Trauma is defined as “a body wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury, as from violence or accident.”
Trauma. To our sweet Duncan. Either on purpose or on accident (based on the tears of the adopters, whatever happened appeared to be an accident).
Ever wish an animal could talk?
But we didn’t really care HOW this happened, it’s in the past and it can’t be changed … we just wanted to FIX him. Now. We wanted to see Duncan walk and play … heck, we probably would have been happy if he could just use his litter box again (clearly he wanted to … he would stare at it, lean towards it, before relieving himself on his wee-wee pads). These particular moments were incredibly hard to watch.
So our veterinarian gave him a big steroid injection and prescribed lots of cage rest. If the steroid didn’t help, we’d be taking a trip to the specialist for an MRI.
We held our breath.
Twelve hours later – Duncan could use his litter box again! Twenty-four hours later – Duncan was able to take steps in his large crate. At his two week check-up appointment, our veterinarian was quite happy with his progress.
Four weeks later – Duncan is a gorgeous, happy and strong cat.
We will never know what happened to him but we are so glad he is back to normal. Duncan is now on our list of cats that need an super-duper-extra-special home … with someone that won’t mind us checking up on him (a lot). His face and spirit are engrained in our memories and hearts forever. Duncan is the kind of cat that will hug you when you pick him up – no joke, ask our Adoption Coordinator and Adoption Counselors.
I wanted to tell you his story for two reasons: 1. he needs a home! but more importantly, 2. without YOUR support we wouldn’t have been able to take him back so quickly, get him to our vet for whatever treatment he needed, and emotionally hold ourselves together. Volunteers offered to foster him, clean up after him, take him to the veterinarian. Several of you stepped up to say that if he needed a specialist, you would help financially. Just knowing that took a huge weight off of our minds.
So, again, I want to thank all our supporters – you enable Karma Cat + Zen Dog to go above and beyond for the animals we take in. Thank you for being there for us when we need you most.
Much love, from me (Christie) and the most beautiful & sweet grey cat (Duncan!)