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An inspirational story for you all

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
My Vet nominated my little TC (you can see a pic of her in my welcome thread) in the companion catagory for the NJVF Animal Hall of Fame. Here's her story:

My Letter of Nomination for TC

August 19th, 2002. I woke up in Tuba City, AZ, and realizing that my summer trip was just about winding itself up, I began to pack my travel gear. I’ve been away from my home, Little York, NJ, all summer crossing this beautiful country of ours seeing places like Rocky Mt. National Park, Lassen Volcanic National Park and Yosemite just to name a few. This morning I was preparing to go to Monument Valley before crossing back across the Arizona desert to Phoenix where I was to spend the night before heading back east, back home. The night before there were two black and white cats that came to visit. Both enjoyed a nice can of tuna fish and a bowl of water. They looked a little underfed but were very friendly, affectionate, and provided me a little comfort from home that I lacked all summer. I have 3 cats that I missed during my time on the road so cuddling with these two made my night worthwhile.

As I was preparing my Wrangler both came by to say their farewells. They were rubbing my tires, watching me move back and forth as I loaded my gear and they finished the small bowl of water I put out that morning for them. With a nice rub between the ears I sent them off so they wouldn’t distract me as it was already about 10:30. About 15 minutes later I heard the rev of an engine and the squeal of some tires. Looking up, my expression changed from contentment to horror.

The burning rubber, squealing of the 35†tires and the smaller of the two cats being thrown over the front tire and landing forcefully on the ground greeted my eyes. I was shocked and amazed at what I saw. I couldn’t tell which one it was but I could tell the driver didn’t care; they had intentionally sped up and he or she didn’t even stop. I looked away for a few seconds and decided I needed to get up and see if it was ok.

I thought I saw it run off, shaken up though not hurt but after rounding the corner where the bushes separate the campground from the hotel, I realized I was terribly mistaken. There it was, trying to quickly drag itself off the pavement. At that point I realized it wasn’t the first cat that stopped by my site the night before, it was the little girl. She was crying a little and looked really bad. There was a large abrasion on her chin and she had no use of her back legs. I thought she had broken her back. I scooped her up trying to fight back tears and rushed inside the hotel. The lady from the night before who greeted me was still there and saw me with the cat. Now with tears streaming down my face, I asked her if there was a vet in the area where I could take her. I figured that it would be the easiest way to stop the suffering considering I believed the sooner she wasn’t suffering anymore the better she would be. What I was considering was tearing my heart out, but at that time I honestly thought it was the best route to take. The woman told me there wasn’t but when her associate came out she gave me directions to the vet. I asked permission to take the little girl and they granted it.

I remembered on the way out the front door I still had half my site to pack. I rushed back to it, put the little girl down under the table and started to rush around, trying to get everything on the Wrangler. I would glance back to see, basically, if she was still alive every 30 second or so. On the third look, she was dragging herself out from under the table and rapidly across the ground to a hole in the fence. I caught up with her, she yelped at me as I picked her up and then I think she realized she wasn’t going anywhere. I put her back under the table, told her to stay and it would be ok and went back to work.

About 10 minutes later I had my Wrangler packed and the little girl cleaned up (she had defecated on herself); I saw something astonishing. She had regained the use of her back left leg! She wasn’t standing but she was pushing herself around a little with it. At that point, I realized that she might have a better chance then I thought she did at first. Instantly I was hopeful that she was in better condition then I first thought. The bleeding had slowed some from her abrasion but it looked as if there was blood from the mouth too.

I had to figure out a way to carry her to the vet. I had a bag and with the help of a couple I was talking to the night before, we tried to get her in it. Well she had a lot of fight in her yet and that idea fell through. So I decided that the way the Jeep was packed by putting her on the passenger’s side floor, she’d be ok. She couldn’t get out; she’d have to scale the seats to make it to the windows or the next closest area that led out and in her condition that wouldn’t be possible.

With the directions in hand, I pulled out and went straight to the vet’s office. I pulled in just as the little girl decided to crawl under my front seat. For some reason I didn’t see her doing that and with the way it is shaped and that instinct for them to find a place to die, I pulled her out of that area quickly. With her in hand, I ran into the Vet’s helper. My heart sank again for the second time that day when he said that the vet was on a house call and wouldn’t be around for a while. I was over 3 hours from Phoenix and the very good cat clinic near my friend’s place. I decided I had to do it; I had to make Phoenix.

An hour in, I stopped for gas and the cat tried her first and only escape. While I was filling the tank, she lunged up onto the seat and out of the driver’s side window. Somehow I managed to catch her in mid-air before she hit the ground. It appeared she was getting more feeling back in that left leg as it was working pretty good at that point. I went into the store and told them my dilemma. I realized that if she’s getting more use of that left leg back, it would be a very large pain to try to keep her safe in the Jeep while it was moving. They were very understanding and provided me with a cardboard box. At that time I also called my friend in Phoenix. I told her what happened and to call the cat clinic to make an emergency appointment and to call me back in a half an hour.

For a while she was fine in the box and occasionally meowing at me or in general but that got less and less frequent. After silence for about 15 minutes, I looked in. She was still awake but panting. Then it dawned on me that she hadn’t had any water and that with it being 105 degrees out, her temperature had to be up. Reaching into my cooler, which I had just filled with ice at the gas station, I grabbed a few pieces. I reached into the box and rubbed her down with some of the pieces cooling her off and then holding a few pieces in my hand allowing for her to lick the drops off of my fingers as the ice melted. With me doing this every 10 minutes and adding ice to the box for just so that she could lay on it, she cooled down a bit, stopped panting and actually fell asleep for a time. Even on occasion she would purr a little bit and look at me.

At a rest stop about an hour out of Phoenix I called my dad to tell him what happened. I also understood that there was no way for me to pay for any treatment because I was hitting the red mark with my funds and still had to get home. After explaining what had happened and the current situation, he told me to call him when I got to the clinic and he’d pay for whatever the cat needed. After hanging up with him, I called my friend back and told her my dad was willing to pay for any medical attention the animal needs. She told me we were ready to go with an open-ended appointment. Basically as soon as I got to my friend’s place, we’d go straight to the clinic. Both these phone calls lifted a huge burden off my shoulders, now she just had to live long enough to get to the cat clinic.

Upon my arrival to my friend’s place in Phoenix, the little girl was doing a little better. I figure at this point, if she wasn’t dead then she’s got a really good chance at survival. She drank a lot of water off my fingers during the ride so she was somewhat hydrated and the ice kept her cool so that was a benefit. I basically got it in my head that this cat wasn’t going to die on my watch, and that watch was for as long as she was with me.

We switched vehicles and took her to the Larkspur Cat Clinic where Dr. Christina Branch was ready for us. She took her into the examination area and quickly looked her over. She saw the chin, noticed the right back leg and saw something else I had noticed the night before. There was a fresh “S†shaped laceration/penetrating wound under her chin on her neck, like something that had bit her. Some of the wound was still open, especially where it started and ended. Dr. Branch decided before we were to go any further that it would be wise to do Leukemia and Feline AIDS tests. I never once thought about that while I was driving her down. All of what I’ve done thus far could be null and void in about 15 minutes when the test results came back. If she had either of these conditions, it would be almost pointless to try to fix her up as at one point either Leukemia would kill her off and possibly infect our other cats here in NJ if I was to bring her home, or Feline AIDS would make her miserable as the virus became more evident. Testing her was the only humane thing to do at this point. Both my friend and Dr. Branch honestly didn’t believe the test would come back negative for either but I had hope. She survived this far with help; I never could believe that one of these illnesses would be the end of her. 15 minutes later, to their surprise, she was negative!

The x-rays showed that she wasn’t in an extremely critical condition as I thought she might have been. She had a broken pelvis and what appeared to be nerve damage in the right leg that wasn’t functioning. Worse case scenario with that leg was that it might have to be amputated in a few years if it didn’t heal right. She also believed that her muscles had separated from the sternum, and a problem with the diaphragm allowing the lower organs to push into the chest cavity may develop overnight, but she didn’t see anything at that moment that would indicate that occurring. She said she would contact a surgeon the next morning for the muscle separation so he could look over her and see if anything had changed. I left her with Dr. Branch overnight to get her fluid level back and pull her out of shock. I had to think of a name on a spur of the moment for her and all I could come up with was TC (i.e. Tuba City).

The next day came and I arrived at Larkspur in the morning. TC was awake and meowing when you would say something to her. She was receptive to being petted, purring some and licking my fingers. She hadn’t eaten or drunk anything that night but with all the fluid in her from the IV, that really didn’t surprise me. Dr. Branch then pulled out a second set of x-rays she had done before we had arrived. In her eyes it appeared that TC took a turn for the worse, as it seems she did have a problem with the diaphragm. She said that it looked as if the lower organs were pushing into the chest cavity.
I had an appointment to the surgeon’s office straight from the clinic and Dr. Branch made sure to tell me to have him look at the x-rays and get his opinion.

Arriving at the animal hospital, we met with the surgeon who took x-rays and looked her over once more. After looking at the new x-rays, he believed there was nothing wrong with the diaphragm or the organs pushing into the chest cavity. He did quote me a price for the surgery to repair the muscles, as he did seem to think there was a problem there. Visually her sides looked different, one bulging more than the other. We couldn’t do it though for a few days as she needed to get her strength up.

Seeing Dr. Branch again the day after meeting the surgeon, we noticed the nerves on the right leg beginning to work again. We could now pinch down between the toes and get a reaction out of her where before she would just look at you. TC was also getting stronger. She would move around a little better when I let her out of the cage we bought her, but she wasn’t drinking on her own yet. Actually she still wasn’t drinking period. Dr. Branch told me not to worry about it; she did have a lot of fluid her first night in Phoenix. She was eating the prescription food and energy paste plus taking the pain pills the surgeon gave us, which was good. She finally did go to the bathroom urinating on the 2nd night in Phoenix, which also made me very happy but she still didn’t pass anything solid since the 19th after the accident.

On the 3rd day, I got in contact with Dr. Branch about the fact TC still hadn’t passed anything solid. Her last real big meal was the tuna the night before the accident. I was planning on leaving that day for NJ but didn’t want to be on the road if she wasn’t going to pass anything and needed to get checked out again. She had made it this far; I didn’t want that to be her demise. The Dr. reassured me that this was common with stress such as what TC went through. After she calmed me down once again, I decided I was already running late that I’d give her that day and night to pass something solid before I got on the road. I also decided that day that I would put off the surgery until I got home and let my Vet, Dr. Suzanne Smith look her over.

TC appeared to be getting better as the hours went by. She was now hobbling around a little bit on the couch at my friend’s place, she liked to take her paws and hold my hand occasionally licking them and she would talk to you if you looked at or said something to her. She appeared to be comfortable in her new roomier travel pet box. It was big enough for a mini make shift litter box, a towel folded in half as a soft place to lay and her food dish attached to the cage front. It was big enough for her and small enough not to be a nuisance in the Jeep.

Well the next day arrived and I was ready to leave. I went to start the Jeep and nothing. Come to find out I needed a new battery. The 110 degrees in Phoenix the last few days tapped out my battery. By the time I got a new one, it was too late to get a good jump on making it to the campsite I had reserved in New Mexico. TC didn’t mind that though, she was being a little braver when I let her out of the cage. She tried to climb up the back of the couch or ease her way to the floor a number of times. Finally she ended up falling asleep on my lap for a few hours until I had to give her water. That’s one thing that was bothering me; she was finally drinking water but wouldn’t take it unless it was out of something in my hand. A little syringe Dr. Branch gave me was the only way she would drink or if it was ice that was melted by my hand. I guess it was like I was her mother all over again, my finger or the syringe was a nipple and she would suck it dry.

Finally the day came where TC and I said our goodbyes to AZ and made our way out. During the course of the next 6 days, she camped out with me, cuddling with me when the heavy rainstorms entered our area and reacted to the bugs and sounds that filled the night. The first day on the road she finally had a piece of solid waste in her litter pan and I knew then she’d be just fine. She was getting better everyday and in Ohio she finally got up enough nerve to fight the pill I had been giving her twice a day. That night we stayed at my best friend’s apartment and she was playing, talking to and licking everyone in the room. Her eyes looked so bright and looking in them, you could see an animal that was very thankful to me, even though she still was slightly freaked out by the Wrangler starting up in the morning. Towards the end, she was finally used to the Jeep to the point that she had wasn’t howling or meowing anymore like she was in the beginning.

Now it’s early January as I write this and so much has improved with her health and her personality. She has been leashed trained so that when I go camping, she can come with me and enjoy the outdoors she had grown to love while with me. She’s fully accustomed to the Jeep so when traveling it won’t be an issue. She has almost full use of the right leg that was injured so badly that we though it would never function well again. She’ll compensate when jumping or climbing things but her toes no longer curl under her foot like they did in the beginning and now there is only a slight swagger in her hips. Even as recently as the middle of December, I have noticed that she can spread the toes on that foot to clean them. It appears that there never was as serious of a tear as first believed and she’s breathing fine and using those muscles without any pain or further incident. Right now she’s being taught how to fetch and she already knows how to come when called and can hold a conversation with you.
Personality is another story. She acts just like a kitten though all of the vet’s believe she’s over a year old. She plays with anything and everything from string, to shoe laces and has even carried a sneaker from the family room to our computer room one day in her mouth! When she hears the shower start, she comes, rather quickly, in the bathroom and starts either playing with the foot towel or sits, talking to me or meowing along if I sing. On occasion she’ll stick her head in and play peek-a-boo between the shower curtain and the wall; all the while she’s got a cute little smirk on her face. When I come home, she follows me into my room and will sit on the foot of the bed, talking until I prop my feet up allowing her to come lay on my chest. She’ll proceed to lick one side of my face for close to a half an hour and then go to the other side. Sometimes if she really wants to play, she’ll attack my hand and nibble on all the fingers while I play rough with her a little. She’s a pretty independent girl but will get your attention when she wants it. Right now, she’s laying calmly on top of my computer tower but I assure you, when I’m about to go to bed and I’m under the sheets, she’ll start to attack my feet through the covers.

TC has been a blessing to me in many ways. I have found that a good deed can go a long way to help another person or thing, make life more enjoyable and giving one happiness in the things that they do. If it wasn’t for TC, I never would have had the opportunity to try to do something so right like this. We traveled the country together, which made my trip home a lot easier. She provided me with a companion that had me laughing and wooing all the way home. Out of the deal, she has an owner she can trust, a companion that will always be there for her and my love and affection for the rest of her life. Even if she doesn’t get this honor, she’ll always have me and I her which is the most important thing out of all of this.

I'll posts pics in a few.
post #2 of 15
Can't wait to see photos!
post #3 of 15
What an amazing cat!

Thanks for sharing her story!
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Here are the pics I sent in with the application:




Gimmie that toe....

Back straight, face up...

Comparison pics:

2 days after the hit and run:

Christmas Eve:

post #5 of 15
Aww this has touched my heart. I am so glad you were there! Bless your lovely kitty!
post #6 of 15
She's a beautiful cat, and that is such a touching story. I'm sure you two share an incredible bond.

Two of our members have a website that is collecting Rescue stories, and is dedicated to a cat who was rescued in Amarillo TX with the help of one of the founders of the site. (Read his whole story from the first time we hear of him to his adoption here - Samoa's Story ). Their site is www.savesamoa.org and I know they would love for you to submit your story of TC and her pictures too. Check it out and you can also read of other kitty rescues there.
post #7 of 15
What a great and wonderful story!

post #8 of 15
Great story, and great pics.
post #9 of 15
Oh Heidi - thank you so much for asking Wind Danzer to submit the story!!!!

It IS an inspiring story. Sad, happy - what a wonderful kitty! You're an angel for rescuing her!

And I have such a soft spot for black & white kitties! What a cutie - and those pics capture so much personality!!!!

May we have your permission to post the story to our site? We can just copy it from this thread!

Pretty please?


On behalf of Christy and me - Thanks!

post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Yea, go ahead. I was mailing you everything and had two pics left to send, feel free to just copy from here and post it. I'll keep everyone informed as the time gets closer for whether or not she got in the HOF.

I'm glad everyone has like it, I figured you all would.
post #11 of 15
Hi Wind Danzer...I'm going to move this to the pawz & reflect forum. thanks for posting it!
post #12 of 15
I got the e-mails! Thanks so much!!!!!!

post #13 of 15
That was a wonderful story about a brave and determined little kitty. I'm glad Laurie will be putting it on her site. Thanks for sharing it with us.
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by LDG
I got the e-mails! Thanks so much!!!!!!

Would you like for me to send the remaining pics or are you just going to use the ones posted above.

Thanks for the compliments, I just couldn't leave her behind after seeing that. I'm just happy the guy/girl didn't come back as I still had so much to pack. If they did come back, I really believe T.C. would be dead, I would be in jail and the truck wouldn't have a windshield and the person wouldn't be able to walk.

"Lug wrench, more than just a tool for changing a tire."
post #15 of 15
This was one great story. I cried most of the way through it. TC sounds like one courageous kitty. I am so glad that he has you to take care of him. He's a lucky cat. I too had a cat that got hit by a car that didn't even bother to stop. Unfortunately, my cat died on impact. I share your sorrow and understand how sad and stressful this can be. I am so glad that he is alright and you're together. Thanks for a lovely story.
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