Tag: cat care

Utah Couple Drops $15k To Save Beloved Cat

There are so many stories about people surrendering their cats to shelters, abandoning them when they move house and generally treating them like disposable creatures that it’s refreshing to read about people who wouldn’t part with their cats unless someone pried them from their cold, dead hands.

The story of a Utah couple who didn’t balk at a massive vet bill to save their cat’s life isn’t just uplifting because of the cat’s amazing recovery, but also because of their commitment to the little guy.

Golden Gibson and Lianna Warden adopted Lilou two years ago. His kittenhood sounds a lot like Bud’s: He was the runtiest of his litter and the last to be adopted out, yet he’s got a huge personality and he’s well-loved by his humans.

Warden describes him as “the cutest, happiest soul.”

Unfortunately, three weeks ago Lilou was hit by a car. Gibson and Warden didn’t know what happened to their cat until they got a call from a veterinarian telling them a Good Samaritan brought the badly-injured Lilou in.

Things looked grim: Lilou suffered multiple fractures of the skull and jaw, his hip was shattered, and he had dozens of lesser injuries. The veterinarian, Dr. Jennifer Alterman, told Gibson and Warden she wasn’t sure if Lilou would live, or if he’d be able to walk again.

The couple told Alterman to do all she could anyway, and paid the initial $5,000 for the cat’s care, despite Gibson losing his job due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Since then the bill has climbed to $15,000, and Lilou’s not done: He will need “multiple surgeries and intensive home care” to continue his recovery, the veterinarian said.

Screenshot_2020-09-10 EXCLUSIVE Utah couple explains spending $15,000 to save their cat (1)

When Lilou came to at the veterinary hospital and saw Gibson beside him, Gibson put his hand nearby — careful not to touch Lilou’s broken body — and the badly injured cat reached out, touching Gibson’s hand with his paw.

After several surgeries at the veterinary hospital, Lilou went home with his people, but he’s still got many more vet visits to go, local CBS affiliate KUTV reported. Gibson and Warden have to feed him through a tube, which takes about 45 minutes per meal, and they have to administer timed dosages of antibiotics, painkillers and anti-nausea medication.

“We sleep in shifts,” Warden said. “It’s kind of like having a newborn.”

Asked why she believes Lilou has been able to pull through such serious injuries, Warden said it’s because he loves his family, and knows they love him.

“I believe in my heart of hearts that it’s the love we’ve been giving him,” she said.

Their veterinarian agrees.

“This is a pretty rare case,” Alterman said, “in terms of that kind of commitment from an owner.”

Screenshot_2020-09-10 EXCLUSIVE Utah couple explains spending $15,000 to save their cat (2)

Lilou’s recovery has also surprised Alterman.

“It’s pretty incredible to see,” she said, “considering I thought this cat was never going to be able to walk again.”

Three weeks later he was back for an appointment “walking around like he owned the place,” Alterman said. “He was like a totally different cat and I’m totally falling in love with him.”

As for Warden and Gibson, they say they’re overcome with gratitude for kind-hearted cat lovers who donated more than $6,000 to help cover Lilou’s veterinary bills, and the still-anonymous Good Samaritan who brought the ailing cat to the veterinary hospital.

“We would love to be able to find that person and show them how well [Lilou’s] doing,” Warden said, “and have them be part of this story, because they are a huge part of it.”

Note: Because we know the images might be upsetting to some of our readers, we did not include photos of Lilou after the accident and during recovery. You can help contribute to Lilou’s medical bills by visiting Lilou’s Lifesavers on Facebook, or the GoFundMe page.

Cats Suffer From Human Mental Illness Too

Having Google alerts set up for cat-related new can yield some pretty awesome and unique stories as fodder for this blog, but it can also be seriously depressing, with story after story about cats getting shot with arrows, pellets and bullets, cats poisoned with antifreeze, cats abused for online fame and even cats killed by psychotic ex-boyfriends or girlfriends.

There are, unfortunately, plenty of hoarding stories as well, and they’re a reminder that cats don’t just suffer physical abuse at the hands of humans, they suffer mental abuse and neglect by mentally ill people.

That’s the case in Park Township, Michigan, where authorities acting on a tip found more than 150 cats living in “deplorable conditions”. Even protective gear couldn’t entirely filter the smell inside the home, animal control officers said.

The town declared the house unfit for human habitation and the local animal authority, St. Joseph County Animal Control, needed help from nearby animal shelters and rescues to confiscate the cats, who will be given veterinary care and rehabbed before they’re offered for adoption.

The raid was “by far” the “biggest animal seizure we’ve done,” animal control supervisor Greg Musser told the local NBC affiliate.

The cats range in age from newborn kittens to adults. Two cats were euthanized. Taking in more than 150 cats is no small task, and the shelter is asking for help with cat/kitten food, litter and other supplies.

“We have been working tirelessly to take care of all these cats on top of the normal business,” the shelter’s Facebook page reads. “We are doing our best to answer the phone and return messages. We are in need of wet and dry kitten food, litter, pee pads, laundry detergent and bleach. We are also in need of gently used baby blankets.”

In an updated story, authorities in a nearby town found similar hoarding conditions in a second property owned by the same woman, who moved some of the cats between them after a natural gas leak at the first home.

Screenshot_2020-08-12 150 cats rescued from Toronto home

While the number of cats is unusual, the story is not: Rescuers confiscated 50 cats and 30 raccoons from a home in Ohio on Aug. 6, following the rescue of 97 cats from another Ohio home two weeks earlier. Less than two weeks ago, the SPCA pulled more than 30 dog and cats from a Pennsylvania home in which the inside temperature exceeded 100 degrees. Authorities found 150 cats in a Toronto home last month, including several kittens who were in seriously bad shape.

Those are just a sampling pulled from the first few results on Google News. Doubtless a lot of these people mean well when they start taking in cats, and the behavior is the result of untreated mental illness. But what can be done to protect cats from these situations?

Featured image credit Chamber of Hoarders. It depicts another hoarding situation, similar to the Michigan case.

Taking Care of Buddy: A Guide

Congratulations! You have been entrusted with the greatest responsibility of your life: Taking care of Buddy the cat!

Buddy is a stubborn young lord who likes things just so and is accustomed to many comforts, so it will be your job to anticipate his needs, see to his whims and keep him content in addition to serving his food, cleaning his litter box, playing with him and telling him he’s a good boy.

For simplicity and reference this guide will be broken down into sections outlining your responsibilities, with a short quiz and essay at the end which are due no later than two days before I depart for my trip.

I – Responsibilities

Section One: Meals

Buddy’s favorite food is turkey, and turkey comprises the main part of his diet. However, it’s important that His Grace consumes a well-rounded diet, so you will be responsible for rotating meals in a way that will meet his nutritional requirements while also providing enough variety to keep him interested.

Turkey will be your lead-off and go-to meal, but it must never be served twice in a row. It’s also imperative to strike a good balance between poultry, fish and beef. See the detailed Guide to Feeding for more information.

Section Two: Litter Box Maintenance

His Grace requires a clean box, and it is your responsibility to scoop at least once every two hours. After scooping you should use the poop spatula to make sure the litter is evenly distributed throughout the box and smooth out any imperfections. When you’re finished it should look like an undisturbed beach without any dunes or ripples. This is important.

When His Grace is ready to use the litter box, you must accompany him and station yourself outside while he disappears through the flap to do his business. If you hear him grunting with effort or suspect he’s dealing with constipatory issues, he may require words of encouragement.

Afterward when he emerges from the litter box, you’re expected to clap politely and tell him he’s a good boy.

Section Three: Play Time and Entertainment

As Buddy’s temporary guardian you are expected to provide at least three (3) play sessions of at least 45 minutes daily. These should be interactive play sessions involving wand toys or balls. Directing Buddy to a solo toy is not acceptable!

Buddy’s favorite games are swatting bouncy balls and playing Mighty Hunter. The latter will require you to manipulate the wand toy to mimic prey. It is extremely important that you allow Buddy to “capture” his prey and simulate disemboweling it! Again, upon success His Grace should be politely applauded and told he’s such a handsome, strong and good little boy.

Section Four: Meal Locations

In addition to his traditional dining nook, in the warm weather Buddy sometimes takes his meals in his solar, also known as the balcony.

In that event, you are to bring him his meal and beverage on a tray and set it before him. Be sure to clear it when he’s finished. He doesn’t like tardy service.

Section Five: Sleeping Arrangements

Buddy is accustomed to curling up with his Big Buddy for warmth and comfort. Often, he sleeps on top of Big Buddy. You will be required to snuggle with His Grace and act as a substitute Big Buddy. Nothing can compare to the real thing, of course, but it’s important for Buddy’s well being to have a human to burrow into or sleep on.

Locking His Grace out of the bedroom at night is cruel and is tantamount to animal abuse. Do not be an animal abuser. Do the right thing.

Section Six: Doors and Other Physical Impediments

Closed doors are unacceptable to His Grace. Do not place him in a room with a closed door, and make sure you keep the bathroom door open when you make use of the facilities so Buddy can stop in and supervise as needed.

Section Seven: Proper Petting Protocol (PPP)

Lord Buddy prefers a soft, rhythmic petting pattern and enjoys it when humans stroke his chin, his cheeks and the top of his head. Do not pet his belly under any circumstances. If he bites you, that means you’ve erred and should promptly apologize.

Always take care not to over-stimulate him. If you see his tail swishing that means he’s agitated and you should stop!

Section Eight: Well-Being Verification

You will be required to send a daily email with a photograph of Buddy next to that day’s edition of the newspaper, with the masthead and date clearly visible. Your daily correspondence should also include a record of His Grace’s bowel movements, meals and activities.



II – Personal essay

In no less than 500 words, describe how you would take care of Buddy in my absence. How would you spoil him? If he’s frightened by a garbage truck, how would you comfort him? What do you admire most about Buddy? Describe your reaction to the honor of being trusted with his care. Provide specifics.

III – Quiz

1) You awake at 2:45 a.m. and realize not only has His Grace relegated you to only 32 percent of the bed, but he’s claimed almost the entire blanket with the exception of a small corner. Do you:

a) Go back to sleep.

b) Carefully exit the bed so as not to disturb Buddy, walk to the closet and retrieve another blanket.

c) Retire to the couch and let Buddy sleep on the bed.

2) You’ve just returned home after running errands, but you’re more than an hour late because of heavy traffic. You’re famished, and so is Buddy. What is the appropriate course of action?

a) Ignore your hunger and immediately prepare and serve Buddy’s meal before making dinner for yourself.

b) Ignore your hunger and immediately prepare and serve Buddy’s meal, standing at a respectful distance as he eats because you know he feels safer eating when someone is watching his back.

c) Ignore your hunger, prepare and serve Buddy’s meal, attend him at his litter box and play with him for 45 minutes before making dinner for yourself.

3) Oh no! A natural disaster! You and Buddy are trapped in the house without access to the kitchen. You’re left with only a bottle of water, a can of tuna and two Slim Jims. How do you ration your supplies?

a) Reserve the entire can of tuna, half the water bottle and one Slim Jim for Buddy, leaving one Slim Jim for yourself.

b) Reserve all consumable food for Buddy, knowing that His Grace requires a considerable amount of protein.

4) You’ve invited several friends over to dinner, but one of them mentions she’s allergic to cats. Do you:

a) Rescind the invitation.

b) Tell her she’ll have to deal.

c) Offer to put her in a room while Buddy socializes with the other guests.

5) You’ve accidentally stepped on Buddy’s tail. How do you rectify the situation?

a) Prostrate yourself before His Grace and beg forgiveness.

b) Apologize profusely and tell Buddy he’s such a strong and fearless cat for enduring the pain.

c) Immediately retrieve delicious treats, make an offering of them to His Grace, and beg forgiveness.

6) You need to go to work, but Buddy is lonely and meows at you to stay with him. What is the proper solution?

a) Take a sick day and stay home with Buddy.

b) Take a vacation day and stay home with Buddy.

c) Bring Buddy into the office where people will lavish attention on him and tell him what a good boy he is.

7) You’re watching a movie and Buddy is napping on your lap, but you need to heed the call of nature. How do you proceed?

a) Resolve to hold off any bathroom trip until Buddy wakes and moves.

b) Cruelly wake His Grace and use the bathroom.

c) Wake Buddy, present him with turkey treats as an apology, and proceed to the bathroom.

8) Your friend texts you to say she’s won a pair of tickets to see Eric Clapton, one of your favorite musicians, and she wants you to go with her. What do you tell her?

a) “I’m sorry, I wish I could go but I have to take care of my son’s cat.”

b) “Do they allow cats at the concert venue?”

c) “I’m sorry, you know how much I love Eric Clapton, but I’m currently taking care of my son’s cat and he is absolutely delightful. Thanks for the offer, but I’m going to stay in and hang out with Buddy.”