One busy morning, a client rushed into a veterinary hospital where I was working with an injured cat. He had seen the cat in the neighborhood for weeks and had tried unsuccessfully to befriend it. Following a trail of blood he found the injured and scared cat under his house. He carefully rescued and rushed him into the hospital. We assumed the cat was feral.
He was very thin, dirty, flea ridden and had a badly broken leg. Because he was in such terrible physical shape the decision was made to euthanize him. His rescuer and veterinary staff felt that it wouldn’t be fair to amputate the leg and release him to fend for himself. It was a sad moment and I was thinking about the horrible fate of homeless animals. I had just given Cassidy a tranquilizer and sat by his cage talking to him. Although we hardly knew him, it was important that he not leave this world unloved.Then he purred and licked my hand, hardly the actions of a feral cat.
This cat needed a second chance. I began to think that if he was euthanized, it might be the end of the story – that he would die a nameless stray cat, a victim of animal cruelty. Animals need us to be their advocates and that is why I decided to speak up on his behalf. I asked the doctors if they could reconsider, this was not a feral cat, but a loving and sweet cat and that deserved a second chance. We tested him for FeLV/FIV and Xrayed his leg. He had been shot several times.
When stable, the cat now known as Cassidy, had his leg amputated. The surgery was uneventful but afterwards Cassidy began to have seizures. Following the seizures, he was unable to hold his head up and had severe neurological issues. Round the clock monitoring was needed to make sure he got his medications, ate well and was kept clean. This was a project that the entire staff helped with. Often he could be found in the arms of staff members who just wanted to hold and love him. Slowly he began to have more control of his head and limbs and could eat without assistance, but he was still unable to walk. A remarkable cat, Cassidy remained cheerful and sweet throughout his ordeal, purring loudly. I decided to take him home to do physical therapy. In the weeks of rehabilitation at my home, we fell more in love and I decided to adopt him.
Cassidy’s loving and calm nature has made him many friends. He was inducted into the Oregon Animal Hall of Fame, an award given by the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association for his bravery and contributions to society. Later that year Cassidy was awarded a Diamond Collar award by the Oregon Humane Society! When not spreading joy in the community, Cassidy can be found snoozing happily with his human and cat family who clearly adore him!