Rescue Story: Sometimes It’s the Best You Can Do

injured cat
The injured kitty.

With a title like that you can probably guess the plot of this rescue story. There are no graphic photos but some written descriptions may be triggering. In brief, the kitty was actually walking well and eating and knew whose yard to show up in, was taken to a veterinarian but his injuries were extensive and not survivable, so he knew love and compassion until his last moment.

“Hey ladies! I have a severely injured cat that I need to trap ASAP. Does anyone in the area have a humane trap I can borrow? She looks pretty banged up but I can’t get her to come to me. Is eating the gravy topper type slurry food. Looks like lower jaw might be gone.” The photo above is the one she shared with her post. “I am fairly certain we could get her trapped today or tonight. I will transport and surrender for medical services.”

This came into our Cubbage Hill Cat Ladies group from a friend who once lived in the neighborhood. I have traps and all the things that go with them, and her place is just over the hill from me. I messaged her to let her know I had a trap and I’d get it to her a little later.

When I got to her house just after dark the cat was in her back yard right then. We went in with the goods and I took a look at him out the back door on a wall at the end of the yard, hunching a little, but looking alert and balanced and he made eye contact with both of us, even with the flashlight in his eyes, and didn’t shrink back into the shrubbery. But clearly around his mouth was injured and his fur disheveled.

She and her husband planned to set the trap and have dinner, and hope the cat would go into the trap, so I left. Very shortly she messaged that he was following the trail of tuna into the trap, and then he was in it!

She updated her post a little while later, after a veterinarian had seen him. The veterinarian had said his injuries were too extensive to treat, his lower jaw was gone and he had at least one fractured leg. He had maggots in his wounds which meant it had been within the week (that sounds horrible but it’s not unusual in warm weather with deep wounds that can’t be cleaned, and studies have shown that sometimes maggots actually help to keep deep wounds clean). The veterinarian said his care total would be about $30,000 but he would never be able to eat normally again with no lower jaw. The veterinary emergency hospital has a policy to accept injured animals in a humane surrender, and if they can treat the animal so that it has a good quality of life and is adoptable afterward, they will do it at their own cost and find a shelter to take it for adoption; that wasn’t possible for this cat. So they made the humane decision and released him from his suffering. He was not microchipped, but she took extra photos if anyone might recognize him as their cat.

No one takes this decision lightly or without sadness, not veterinarian nor rescuer nor anyone else involved, for a cat who had probably been someone’s pet, injured and without any treatment, and looking for the human he could trust to help him.

She said she’d been seeing him sporadically since she moved to that house a little over three years ago. “He would usually hang out on that back wall and kind of just observe us in my sunroom or if I had the cats out in the yard. Sometimes he would hang out around my shed—I feed all of the wildlife here, the deer and the birds and rabbits and stuff, so I don’t know if he was coming here thinking he could get food maybe?”

She saw him a couple of weeks ago and then didn’t see him again for about two weeks. “Then a couple nights ago I noticed that a cat had urinated outside of my patio room which has never happened before and so I looked on my security camera and it was him…I didn’t see him actually urinating but I saw him sitting next to my front door.” He sat there for a while but it was the middle of the night so she hadn’t seen him.

“And then yesterday (the day she trapped him) when I came home from running errands in the middle of the day he was sitting on that little half wall in the middle of my yard, and when I tried to approach him he let me get about halfway to him but then he, like, slowly ran up into the woods.” She brought some food out and he came down and ate two packets of puréed food she had for her senior cat. He later ate some of the tuna that was in the trap, her husband told her he could see the cat smashing his face against it to try to eat it.

He’s another whose story we’ll never know. She had said there were few outdoor cats in her neighborhood, not like this neighborhood where she fed several outdoor cats and we rescued a few too. He acted as if he had at least some socialization and had likely been someone’s pet. Was he a long-term lost kitty, or abandoned? Where did he go in between visits to her back yard? Was he someone’s indoor-outdoor cat who just enjoyed visiting her back yard now and then? It’s also one of the dangers indoor-outdoor cats face, and it’s something to think about every time a cat goes out the door.

It could have turned out like the cat I trapped in February who had been managing with both hind legs broken to survive by dragging herself through the snow and ice and was subsequently named Meowza. How had she survived so long with the pain and debility of having had both of her hind legs broken? And how could she live with it after she’d been rescued? She had no infections and a surgeon was able to surgically repair both of her hind legs. She had demonstrated a strong will to live, and that was part of the decision to do the surgery, and she did well afterward.

I’m just glad there are people in the world who will not question their role in situations like this, both my friend who rescued the cat, and the emergency hospital with the policy to accept humane surrenders of injured animals so they can get the care they need.

In the end, when cats and dogs, the domestic animals we hold closest in our lives, need help, they come to humans—even feral cats will do this. When people see a cat hanging around many see it as a pest, and someone who did not know cats may have done so with this cat and he would have continued suffering. But even when the situation is hard to look at and the decision is hard to make, we have to help them. That’s part of our role as humans in this world, to care for the animals with whom we have developed a mutual agreement over the millennia.


Read other stories in my Rescue Stories series.


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Cat Book Trio

I find my feline inspirations in my rescues. Here’s a trio of books of my artwork and also with some stories. Read more.



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All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


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Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life

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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.

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