I mentioned last week that this past Saturday would be the first Yard Sale to benefit the shelter where my daughters work, Winnie’s Wish, and Wild Angels. It was very successful for the shelter. We had a crowd of people, and the shelter sold lots and lots of “stuff.” Their take was the biggest of all yard sales so far. Winnie’s Wish and Wild Angels does not have nearly the amount of “stuff” that the shelter has to sell, but both still brought in some dollars. The weather cooperated and folks came out on such a pretty day. It went great.
While I was busy bagging up purchases and collecting money, my daughters were working in the shelter. (These yard sales are on the shelter parking lot.) At some point they let me know that there had been a call about a cat lying in a parking lot across town. At first it was thought that the cat was dead, but then this person saw it lift its head. So Older went out to assess. She ended up bringing the cat back to the shelter, but the afternoon was so busy (at the yard sale) that I forgot to ask about it.
At the end of the day, I remembered about the call coming in. I asked about the cat and Older explained. When she got there, it wasn’t moving. The person who had called was still there and said he’d seen the cat lift its head. Older could see that the cat was breathing – but barely. Its gums were white, its nose was purple, and it was ice cold. It was a long-haired white cat, but its fur was stiff. Apparently it had been lying in muddy water at some point – all of that was now dried and the fur was caked and hard.
Older got the cat into a quarantine cubicle and started doing what she does. She discovered it was a he. She got him onto a warming pad and covered him with warmed blankets. His body temperature was dangerously low. She gave fluids and then rubbed syrup on his gums. He did not move. Older was pretty sure he must have been lying there for a very long time. And she was pretty sure she’d gotten there too late. But as we talked, we said what we always say. At least he would not die all alone and cold. He was warming now. And he was safe from other animals.
By the time I left that evening, the cat’s nose had gone from purple to white, which was actually good. The troubling thing was that there was neurological damage. Older brought me in and showed me that there was no response whatsoever in the right eye. Also, Older had seen his head draw back without any control on his part. She gave a steroid injection which would help with brain swelling. And of course, she would take him home and care for him all through the night.
I got a text from her late Saturday night that she was able to force-feed him and that he presented no struggle. In fact, he seemed to want the food. The next morning she got more food into this guy and more fluids. He couldn’t hold himself up, but some of his color was coming back and his body temperature was up.
Older has had so much experience with brain damage that she knew the signs that would give her hope. And she was getting some of those signs. On Monday, she got more medications from the vet clinic. The cat was continuing to improve. Older and the vet discussed how there were no outward signs of trauma, which one would expect if this was a case of being hit by a car. The vet suggested continuing everything Older had been doing. If the cat continued to improve, it was likely trauma. But if the cat went downhill again at any point, it could be toxoplasmosis. There are neurological symptoms with this disorder and it requires a particular medication. As long as he continued to slowly improve, the current protocol was advised.
On Monday evening Older texted me: This guy just sat sort of in a ball and ate some food on his own. We were both thrilled. Maybe he could come back from this horror. Recovering from brain damage is slow and unpredictable. We won’t know for a while if he can come back far enough to have a life. But we’re keeping our fingers crossed. And Older is doing her thing – day and night.