Rescue Story: Toby Goes Home

Toby in his new home.
Toby in his new home.

We first met Toby in April 2016, a very lucky rescue who turned out to have a very rare and troubling condition, but full of purrs and love for everyone and as ready to go along with anything his rescuer, Amy Tadija, found to make him well or keep him comfortable.

This week he went to a loving forever home after healing up all four paws and tail and even his abdomen. After seeing the extent of his condition and the prolonged healing that was expected, which might have included surgery and even amputations, he is a walking miracle, but still the same purring and loving kitty Amy took home on Good Friday.

Toby when Amy found him.
Toby when Amy found him.

It all started with a message from one of our rescuers in a town about an hour south of Pittsburgh got a message from a friend about a cat who’d joined a feral colony and then taken up residence on her porch but who didn’t look entirely well. A photo of the cat made him look scruffy and dirty, and he was walking around but just barely, looking weak. It took several connections to find out exactly where the cat was and Amy went to pick him up and assess the situation and see what would be the best solution for the kitty. Amy is an attorney and is always working on a case or more and often goes out of town for a week at a time for a trial, but she will often take the time to run out and pick up a cat and get it the care it needs, or spend hours or days trapping cats in a colony and taking them for vetting, assessing them for adoptability and fostering or finding a foster, then a new home.

Toby in his carrier on the way to the vet.
Toby in his carrier on the way to the vet.

At first it looked as if he had an ear-tip but that turned out to be damage to his ear, and he was also intact. But it became clear he was an intact stray, and a very sweet and affectionate one at that. This creamsicle cat had belonged to someone, and held no fear or aggression. But the damage to the ear and the appearance of his paws and tail seemed that he might have suffered frostbite during a recent cold snap which, if bad enough, would mean amputations. If that happened to all four paws, he would have no quality of life.

Toby Saturday.
Toby Saturday.

“When I went to pick him up, the smell from the infection was overwhelming,” Amy said in a Facebook post. “I thought his legs were rotting off…they have started to, but the tissue is still alive.” Amy took him to Fix Ur Pet, the low-cost veterinary clinic in Canonsburg where she and many others take rescued cats to get the works. It was Dr. Kellie Frame’s day off but she met Amy there. Toby was diagnosed with vasculitis of all four legs and his tail, and was anemic with a raging infection. His paws were all raw, bare of most fur, ulcerated, bloodied, swollen and with skin dangling, a horrible sight and it had to be painful, yet he was mild-mannered and calm, even pleasant.

Toby Sunday.
Toby Sunday.

Some of the photos are somewhat graphic but there is no other way you can see what the condition looks like and see the change as he healed—and how remarkable it is that Toby is was only sweet and friendly, but that he could actually and knead blankets.

Vasculitis is an inflammation of the blood vessels and can have many causes including an autoimmune condition, pododermatitis, various cancers and also be related to FIV/FeLV. The symptoms can be treated with antibiotics, pain relief and soaking, but to truly treat the condition the underlying cause has to be found and that can be nearly impossible since the possibilities are so broad and difficult to diagnose on their own.

His feet and legs were so horrible Amy thought for sure he’d lose them all, and that would mean euthanasia. The diagnosis vasculitis didn’t bring much comfort for its dire consequences as he could end up losing all his limbs anyway. But even though his condition was extreme and would mean intensive care and possibly constant care, he purred, he kneaded even with those painful paws, he curled up and looked so happy. He was happy to be rescued. He wanted to live. She decided to try to save him.

Toby on Amy's lap.
Toby on Amy’s lap.

Toby had a full blood panel, FIV/FeLv testing and a tissue culture, and given antibiotics, pain medications and steroids. Amy would be out of town for a week so he would be admitted to the clinic for the week to receive care.

For the first month Toby was home with Amy when she was home, but often spent a day or more at the clinic for treatments. He had surgery initially to drain his abscesses and remove dead tissue, but was left with a lump of granulation tissue in one paw pad that would have to be surgically removed if it didn’t resolve with multiple antibiotics and the medication for vasculitis.

Toby's worst paw at the beginning.
Toby’s worst paw at the beginning.

Amy added foot soaks of all four paws and his tail in a special cleansing solution as well as an unusual wound dressing—Mānuka honey. Amy’s husband Roger is a surgeon and suggested it as a healing salve.

Toby put up with all the humans’ shenanigans without ever a discouraging meow or growl. He healed through May and June, as Amy trapped mothers and kittens on a college campus and in backyards and in the woods, and discovered the horrible abandoned hoarding house and trapped and brought as many of those ill and emaciated cats and kittens home as possible, Toby received his treatments and medications.

Toby actually plays!
Toby actually plays!

In the end, Toby did not need surgery to have the big clump of granulation tissue removed. “It healed on its own, which is a miracle to me,” Amy said.

And Toby got the home he’d always deserved, with a wonderful human who will love him forever. From abandoned and facing a certain and painful death living outdoors with no one to care for him to healed and loved and home forever, Toby’s rescue shows all the work is worth it, and every cat counts.

Amy wrote, “Toby came here on Good Friday….tonight he left for his forever home. Tonight he will get to sleep on a real bed with his human who will love him and care for him for the rest of his life. I kissed him on the nose and told him how much I loved him…and how glad I was that I got to have him in my life. He already knew. ♡ Love you Toby boy.”

Who could resist?
Who could resist?

Several Creative Cat readers responded to my “Donate for a Discount” offer and contributed to Toby’s care through Fix Ur Pet. I can’t thank you enough for your generosity, and Amy as well. Not just for Toby’s sake, but for the sake of the mother cats and kittens trapped here and there, and the over 30 cats and kittens she trapped in the hoarding house, many of whom did not survive, or are still slowly healing.

Thank you, Amy, and thanks to everyone who came to love Toby. We created a happy ending.

~~~

Amy has covered the costs for many cats she’s rescued and rehomed, and continues to. Right now she has 13 rescued cats from the hoarding house in her home along with her own 10 cats, and about two dozen more cats and kittens that others are fostering for her but she is covering costs. Her husband helps her when he’s home and a few dedicated friends come daily to help her with all the work, but the food and litter alone are expensive.

Right now one of the kittens she trapped around July 4 is not well at all and is in testing for a possible liver shunt, which would require surgery. If that comes to pass I will do another “Donate for a Discount”, but even if not the multiple blood tests and imaging alone have been expensive already.

Donations can be made directly to the Fix Ur Pet clinic, which has a 501(c)3 fund so your donation is tax-deductible. Visit http://www.fixurpet.org/, find the PayPal link that says “Have a Heart Fund”, select the option to leave a comment and write “Tadija cats” so that your donation goes directly to cover his bills.

Thank you.


Read more Rescue Stories on The Creative Cat.


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Weekly schedule of features:
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Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
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Bernadette

From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

4 thoughts on “Rescue Story: Toby Goes Home

  • July 14, 2016 at 5:04 pm
    Permalink

    toby !!!!!!!! we iz buzzed happee for ewe….ewe sew dee serve thiz…did we menshun we iz buzzed happee for ewe !!!!!!!!! a most happee gotcha day N heerz ta nothin but happee nezz for yeerz ta come ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ AWESUM ~~~~~~~~~

    Reply
    • July 14, 2016 at 6:02 pm
      Permalink

      Tabbies, it’s almost too good! He’s really a remarkable cat, and now he can live out his destiny.

      Reply
  • July 13, 2016 at 8:52 pm
    Permalink

    A perfect ending for this beautiful boy with a magical heart. Blessings to Toby, his new mama and of course…Amy!

    Reply
    • July 14, 2016 at 2:29 pm
      Permalink

      It’s a shame such a nice cat was so neglected, Chris, but so glad for Amy and all who helped him along.

      Reply

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