Sunday, February 25, 2024
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Simon Says…

three legged cat
Simon Says...

What are you looking at?

Simon is another incredible rescue I met in the process of creating my art. He lives with the family of Cooper, one of the portrait subjects featured in Great Rescues, who have been rescuing cats for years.

straw filled outdoor cat shelter
One of the shelters the rescuers built from excess remodeling materials.

Animals are amazingly adaptive when it comes to changes in their bodies. Simon was a young stray being fed outside by this couple who live in a rural area next to a farm as they tried to determine if he belonged to someone. They feed a number of other stray and feral cats in various places on their property, giving them housing from the old equipment barn in the back yard, straw-filled shelters on the deck and their own garage.

Unfortunately the gray and white kitty came back one day dragging a trap on his leg.

“We were actually away at the time,” said Simon’s dad. “Our neighbor found him and ran him to our vet, figuring that’s what we’d want—he was right—but he would have done that for any animal, and we’re so glad he did.”

Simon spent a month in the veterinary hospital while the veterinarian valiantly tried to save the leg, but it just kept breaking again and again.

“Simon was in so much pain, though he never acted mean in any way, but we could tell, the last time the leg broke again, he was done with it,” his people agreed. “The veterinarian removed his leg the next day and Simon was awake and alert, eating and social just hours afterward. We could tell he was thanking us!”

cat with three legs
Simon waves his tail.

Cats or dogs missing a leg are not uncommon, even if they have not spent time outdoors. This happens with very young animals because their tiny limbs are so fragile, but injuries or cancer in adult animals often necessitate the removal of a limb to save the animal’s life.  People who’ve never experienced living with a pet who’s lost a limb are often uncertain about living with one but soon find they are no different from other animals in day to day life.

Simon came home the day after the amputation surgery and walked around as if nothing had happened except that he now had a slightly altered gait. He also had no problem being an indoor cat after that experience.

“We don’t know where Simon came from,” his mom said. “He just showed up and was eating with the outdoor cats. We were trying to track down an owner if there was one before we decided we’d get him neutered, then this happened. I think he was meant to be ours anyway.” They never determined who the trap belonged to either.

No one knows where Simon came from, and it’s sad to think what would have happened to him had he not felt comfortable enough with the couple giving him food and shelter outdoors to drag himself back. But he’s got a loving home now and a long life ahead of him.

gray and white cat on windowsill
Simon can get himself anywhere he wants in the house.

Unfortunately, this is not unusual for cats and other free-roaming animals who live in rural areas where trapping is legal and common. Simon may have been dropped off by someone but it’s also likely that, as an unneutered male cat, he roamed far and wide from one of the many farms in the area before deciding to stop at this home and join the other strays at the food bowl. He was far too friendly with humans from the beginning to have been a feral, but stray cats don’t come with an intinerary.

Other injured pets in need

Often people caring for cats in an outdoor colony encounter one who, like Simon, was injured badly enough to need fairly expensive medical treatment. But stray or feral, most people will find a way to provide care for their outdoor cats in need, often out of their own pocket. Sometimes these costs are borne by a small rescue organization as well, which can quickly clear out the coffers. And often veterinarians are very generous with the care they provide knowing the cat is a stray, but in a solo or small practice they can only reduce or waive fees so often before it starts to cost all their clients.

Below are opportunities to donate to three such cases that I’ve written about or am following in my area.

cat with injury on neck
Smudgie's neck and face injuries provided by Patti Bane.


I wrote about Smudgie a few weeks ago, and she is actually recovering well and the skin is beginning to heal over the bones on her back legs, but the process is slow and will take months. Smudgie’s person cares for a number of other cats outdoors as well.

There are various ways you can contribute to Smudgie’s care. Animal Care & Welfare has given assistance to Smudgie’s vet bills. You can donate directly to them in Smudgie’s name, or just to help replenish what’s in their available funds to help other animals.

Donations can be made directly to Chartiers Animal Hospital for “Smudgie Bane” by calling 412. 279.7300.

And of course there is a ChipIn, this managed by Animal Care and Welfare:

cat with injuries
Phoenix after treatment provided by Michelle Miller.


I haven’t written about Phoenix yet but will as his recovery progresses. In brief, Phoenix was being fed under a shed as a stray by people who said he was paralyzed in his hind legs. He was rescued by a chain of people in cat rescue and taken to a veterinarian where it was determined he’d been mauled by a dog on his hind end and was covered with festering, maggot-filled wounds. He is under the care of a veterinarian who regularly helps animal rescuers with stray and feral cats, his wounds are healing and he is gaining some movement in his hind legs, and the rest of his body seems to be functioning fine. He is also friendly and affectionate, and was owned by someone before this incident who abandoned him, possibly before the injuries.

You can help Phoenix and all those who are helping him by sending a donation to Frankie’s Friends, an organization formed to care for cats rescued from the Tiger Ranch raid, which you can read about at their site. Use the donate page, or send a check to: P.O. Box #161, Tarentum, Pennsylvania 15084.

sick kitten
Skylar provided by Indigo Tiger


Skylar was among a number of kittens rescued over several weeks in early September, all living outdoors in a perilous area, and all suffering from upper respiratory infections. Infested with fleas as well and too young for flea treatment, they all needed critical care from foster homes, and lots of medications for their infections.

Tiny little Skylar only weighs 0.5lbs. and is fighting for her life. She begins to recover as the others did, then slips again, developing a fever, losing weight and needing critical care with fluids and injectable antibiotics. She’s a fighter, though, and her littermates all pulled through. No one wants to give up on Skylar, and there are still the costs from all the other kittens.

Skylar was rescued by volunteers from Animals Against the Odds. You can call Banfield Ross directly 412.364-5669 for account # 412-736-5276 (Animals Against The Odds) or by clicking on the Chip-in link:

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile 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.


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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