Happy cat on road to recoveryIt didn’t look like a recipe for happiness. The long-haired gray tabby, weighing barely 5 and a half pounds, had porcupine quills stuck in its nose, ticks studding its skin and a gunshot wound to its paw. But as staff at the Superior Animal Hospital and Boarding Suites worked on their feline patient last week, the cat radiated joy.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
It didn’t look like a recipe for happiness. The long-haired gray tabby, weighing barely 5 and a half pounds, had porcupine quills stuck in its nose, ticks studding its skin and a gunshot wound to its paw. But as staff at the Superior Animal Hospital and Boarding Suites worked on their feline patient last week, the cat radiated joy.
“I think he’s the happiest cat I’ve seen,” said Marcy Barby, the animal hospital’s bookkeeper. “Most of them are scared or annoyed. He was just happy.”
Wednesday, the cat – now named Rajah – ambled about on three legs. One day after surgery to remove the wounded leg, the animal rubbed against hands and legs, flopping to one side with contentment when someone petted it.
“He’s become quite the office ham; everyone loves him,” Barby said. “He’s just got such a good attitude.”
A 9-year-old child found the cat on his front porch last Thursday. He and his mother, who live along County Highway F in Lake Nebagamon, took the animal to the Douglas County Humane Society.
“He had porcupine quills and was so skinny,” said shelter manager Sheila Keup. “Even with the quills, he was so sweet.”
Staff there sent Rajah on to the animal hospital with barely 15 minutes warning.
Dr. Bob McClellan, with the Superior Animal Hospital, said the first thing they did was extract the porcupine quills, which came out easily.
While he sees dozens of cases of dogs with porcupine quills every spring, McClellan couldn’t remember a feline case. The fact that the cat was down to “skin and bones” may be the cause of the quills.
“I’m guessing at some point he’s been starved and he probably went after a porcupine,” the veterinarian said. “They’re slow-moving and he’s hungry.”
The veterinarian also discovered that Rajah was neutered, so he must have been a pet at one time.
After some lab work, the hospital staff took an x-ray of the leg the cat was favoring, which had a small scab on it. They discovered metal bullet fragments and shattered bone.
“He has a bunch of shrapnel in his elbow, his elbow is just blown apart,” McClellan said, estimating the wound was between two weeks and one month old.
That, said Barby, could explain “why he tried to eat a porcupine.”
Cats are very resilient, McClellan said. He expected Rajah to make a full recovery and scamper about just fine on three legs. And the experience hasn’t soured his attitude.
“He’s in there purring away,” Barby said Wednesday. “Everyone’s in love with him.”
McClellan, Keup and Barby, who also serves as treasurer for the humane society, said they appreciated the boy and his mother, who cared enough to bring Rajah to the shelter.
“It shows that anybody can help animals in their own way,” McClellan said.
The cost to care for Rajah, who McClellan estimated to be about three years old, will be steep. The humane society relies on donations to provide care for all its animals. While they had a successful fundraiser – Paws for Love – recently, Keup said, the shelter’s financial situation can change in the blink of an eye. Anyone wishing to help can send donations to the Humane Society of Douglas County, P.O. Box 891, Superior, WI, 54880.
Rajah is one of the 35 animals at the Humane Society of Douglas County’s shelter in need of a home. Each of them has a story, although few are as dramatic as the gray cat’s. To view the animals, stop by the shelter at 3302 S. Humane Society Road in South Range from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily or from 5-8 p.m. Wednesdays.