Tag: Veterinarian

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.

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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.”

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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.

A Cat Really Did Bring Her Kitten To An ER In Instanbul

Buddy and I were a bit skeptical when we first heard the story of a cat who padded into the emergency room of a hospital, carrying her kitten by the scruff of the neck, to plead for help for the little one.

The story first appeared on Reddit without any details, but we were able to track down some of the people involved to fill out the narrative and answer some questions.

A woman was waiting in the emergency room of Kucukcekmece Hospital in Istanbul at about 5 p.m. on April 27 when the cat dragged her baby through the open doors.

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A mom cat brings her sick baby into an ER in Istanbul. Credit: Merve Özcan

The witness, Merve Özcan, described the kitten as “a little bit mischievous” in Twitter posts about the incident.

An article in Sözcü, a daily newspaper whose name translates to “spokesperson,” said the mother cat brought her kitten right up to the blue-gowned hospital staff, meowing for attention.

Hospital staff immediately helped — more about that below — and the cat mom followed them, keeping her eyes on her baby as they brought the kitten into a room for treatment.

“While the kitten was being cared for, the mother cat was given milk and food,” the newspaper reported. “Hospital staff ensured full treatment by passing them onto a veterinarian after their intervention.”

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Staff take the kitten as the mother watches. Credit: Merve Özcan

The story doesn’t say exactly what was wrong with the kitten, and Özcan did not know either.

While this story would seem insane to most of us, it starts to make a lot more sense when you consider where it happened: Istanbul, a city famous for its massive cat population, and the humans who revere those felines.

From the Legal Nomads travel blog:

Cats are the most beloved animal in Istanbul and the living attraction of this huge city. They are extremely friendly, come in all sorts of cuddly colors and sizes, and always respond with a greedy “meow.” Stray cats usually take the best seats at cafes and restaurants in Istanbul without anyone even bothering moving them. They maneuver around tables and customers, inside and out of the buildings in search of the most comfortable spot.

Caring for the city’s hundreds of thousands of cats is a community effort: People feed them, pet them, bring them to veterinarians when they’re injured, and even build little dwellings for them.

With that in mind, it makes sense that a cat in Istanbul would know to approach humans for help, and to go to a hospital. If the mom cat lives in the area, undoubtedly she’s seen the sick and injured walk through those doors many times.

“Money is not an issue to some people when it comes to cats,” Ozan, a pet shop employee, told Reuters. “They take in cats with broken legs, blind ones or ones with stomach problems and bring them to the clinic. When they see that they are healed, they let them live on the street again.”

In an article titled “Istanbul: The City of Cats,” Goran Tomasevic of Reuters describes the relationship between the city’s inhabitants and their feline friends:

They are so ubiquitous that no one bats an eye at a cat padding across the lobby of a high-rise office building, or when one curls up to sleep on a nearby barstool. Shop owners and locals often know their neighbourhood cats by name and will tell tales about them, as if chatting about a friend.

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A cat house next to water and food bowls on an Istanbul street. Credit: Reuters

A 2017 documentary, Kedi (Turkish for cat), explores the world of Istanbul’s street cats and the people who love them. Pictured at the top of this post is Kedi director Ceyda Torun, posing with cats in Istanbul.

You can watch a trailer for the documentary here:

It’s Official: Cats Love Youtube

At first, Buddy wouldn’t look at the TV.

I’d pulled up a live feed of a nature cam on Youtube, hoping my cat would be drawn to it by the sounds of bird calls and the sight of vividly-plumed orioles and robins alighting on a feeder, but he just didn’t seem interested.

Leaving the stream on just in case, I went back to my writing, then checked on the little guy again 20 minutes later to find him glued to the TV, sitting close and staring up like a small child watching Saturday morning cartoons.

Buddy was watching a quintet of Bluejays pick seeds from a tray feeder in Ohio, his eyes following the quick movements of the birds while he chirped in excitement.

The channel, Bird Watching HQ, is one of dozens catering to a rapidly-growing segment of YouTube’s viewership: cats.

Kitty wants the remote

In retrospect it seems like it was inevitable that cats — the stars of innumerable YouTube videos viewed billions of times on the platform — would become viewers too.

Indoor cats get a visceral thrill from watching birds and small mammals the same way people do while watching thrillers, horror flicks or adventures: It’s a way to get adrenaline flowing in a safe environment.

For Scott Keller, the proprietor of Bird Watching HQ, cats weren’t his intended audience, and the fact that felines love his channel is a happy coincidence. It started as a blog “about how to attract wildlife to your backyard,” he said, prompted by how much he enjoyed taking his kids and his dog for walks near his home in Ohio.

“The live cameras were added in September 2018 to show the specific feeders and food that I was currently using,” Keller said. “I was certainly not thinking about entertaining videos for cats.”

Keller now has four live streams for viewers — human and feline alike — to get their nature fix: Two are set up in his backyard in Ohio, one in California is run by a partner whose feeders are frequented by hummingbirds, and the last is in an animal sanctuary in the Czech Republic. The operator of the California cam goes through between 50 and 100 pounds of sugar a week to keep her feathered guests happy,  Keller said, and the European bird cam often captures unexpected visitors.

“It has actually been a great way for me to learn the birds of Europe,” Keller told us. “We have even seen owls catching mice at night here.”

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“MUST…KILL…LARGE BIRD!” A cat is determined to break the magic glass and reach the bird inside.

Cats as couch potatoes

If you’re wondering whether it’s a good thing to introduce your cat to TV and Youtube streams, veterinarians say there’s little downside.

“It won’t hurt your kitty’s eyes, so you don’t have to tell Fluffy not to sit too close to the TV,” veterinarian Jillian Orlando told VetStreet.

The only real danger, Orlando said, is your cat getting a little too stimulated and potentially charging at the TV to go after the on-screen birds or rodents. Most cats won’t, but if yours is the type to charge head-first into a window screen after spotting a bird outside, then you might want to keep an eye on kitty as she gets her fix.

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“Not so fast, big guy!” An overexcited kitty attacks a bear on the National Geographic channel. Credit: Mandadadada/imgur

The topic’s been the subject of academic research as well, with a 2007 study concluding TV was effective in relieving the boredom of shelter cats who didn’t have windows to gaze out of. While cats don’t see colors as well as we do, videos featuring prey animals hold “enrichment potential” for indoor cats, the authors concluded.

Cat-centric TV is official

As for the phenomenon of bird-watching videos and channels created specifically for cats, Youtube is well aware of it. Content tagged “videos for cats” was viewed more than 55 million times on Youtube in 2019, Youtube trends and insights lead Earnest Pettie told Wired.

That actual number of feline viewers could be much higher, since it doesn’t count content like Keller’s, which isn’t created for cats but has nonetheless reached them as an audience.

“We now have this world where cats are an emerging audience,” Pettie said, “and movies for cats are an emerging trend.”

As for Keller, he believes indoor cats and humans enjoy the videos and cameras on his channel for many of the same reasons.

“I have also heard from a lot of people that can’t go outside anymore, such as in a retirement home, with disabilities, or special needs children that are using the cameras to get a glimpse of wildlife each day,” Keller said. “There are also many people that are sitting at their cubicles at work during the week that just need some natural sounds.

 

Some Jerk Stole the Baby Yoda Cat

Two weeks after a sickly stray named Joy was rescued off the streets, someone stole the still-ailing animal from the local Humane Society.

Thanks to her resemblance to the Internet-breaking Star Wars character, Joy and her story went viral, with kind donors opening up their wallets to help pay for the kitty’s veterinary bills. Per New York’s ABC affiliate:

A North Carolina woman found Joy with a large neck wound and an upper respiratory tract infection in mid-December. The woman asked Humane Society of Rowan County for help, and one of the non-profit’s veterinarians started treating Joy for her injuries. In the meantime, Joy captured the hearts of internet users for her resemblance to “The Child,” the breakout star from the “Star Wars: The Mandalorian” series.

In six days, Facebook users donated over $1,250 to help Humane Society of Rowan County pay for Joy’s medical bills.

But the story didn’t just attract the attention of the kind-hearted, and a few days ago someone made off with the viral feline after claiming Joy was their long-lost pet, according to the Humane Society of Rowan County.

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A Star Wars fan who couldn’t wait to hand his or her money to Disney for a Baby Yoda doll decided to steal a cat who bears a resemblance to the character instead.

Making matters worse, Joy wasn’t ready for her forever home yet, and was supposed to remain under veterinary care and supervision while the Humane Society took applications from potential adopters.

It is with heavy hearts that we announce that Joy is no longer in our care. Joy was released without our knowledge or consent to a person claiming ownership.

It is likely that HSRC will still be responsible for Joy’s vet bills.

We wish we could provide more details but are unable to at this time. We pray that Joy, still with unhealed wounds and not fully recovered, will be given proper medical care and make a full recovery.

Return the cat, nerd! And while you’re at it, consider switching your allegiance to a decidedly more feline-friendly science fiction franchise. You’ll live long and prosper! 🙂