Friday, April 19, 2024
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The Nature of Cat Rescue: Two Who Needed Help

Toby when Amy found him.

Toby when Amy found him.

Meet Toby, a very lucky rescue with a very rare and troubling condition, but full of purrs and love for everyone and as ready as we are to do whatever it takes to make him well or keep him comfortable. Below, you’ll meet Bentley, another rescued kitty who received the care she needed because lots of people cared what happened to her even though she’d been abandoned by her owner.

Rescue doesn’t just happen while we’re trapping for clinics, it happens every day. And because we are pulling cats right off the street the stories are often dramatic, and just as often heartbreaking. But leaving a cat or other animal to suffer is not an option.


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, but he was walking around, barely. It took several connections to find out exactly where the cat was and rescuer Amy Tadija went to pick him up and assess the situation and see what would be the best solution for the kitty.  Keep in mind, 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 it for vetting, in both cases assessing its adoptability and fostering or finding a foster, then a new home.

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. I have included a few somewhat graphic photos so you can see what the condition looks like—and how remarkable it is that Toby is not only sweet and friendly, but also that he walks and kneads the blankets.

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

“When I went to pick him up, the smell from the infection was overwhelming,” she 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. First thinking it was frostbite from the last cold weather, 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. Amy named him Toby.

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.

Toby Saturday.
Toby Saturday.

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 is on antibiotics, pain medications and steroids. He had a full blood panel, FIV/FeLv testing and a culture. “He’s a super sweet boy and deserves a chance,” she said. “I have to leave town Monday, so he will be admitted to the clinic for the week to receive care while I’m gone. He’s got a long recovery in front of him.

Toby Sunday.
Toby Sunday.

I want to share Toby’s story to share what cat rescue often means. I also want to put out the word that donations would be gratefully accepted for his care. Amy covers the costs for many cats. 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, find the PayPal link that says “Have a Heart Fund”, select the option to leave a comment and write “Toby” so that your donation goes directly to cover his bills. 

Toby's bill.
Toby’s bill.

Donate for a Discount

Many of you readers have often been generous in helping these rescuers with the costs associated with rescues, and when I set up my new website I included my favorite reward program as one of the pages, titled “Donate For a Discount”. I will give you a gift certificate toward shopping on my website in thanks—for every $25.00 you donate in goods or cash I’ll give you a gift certificate for $5.00 off a minimum $25.00 purchase.

  • $5.00 off $25,00 when you donate $25.00
  • $10.00 off $50.00 when you donate $50.00
  • $15.00 off $75.00 when you donate $75.00
  • $20.00 off $100 when you donate $100.00
  • and so on

Let me know you donated:

How to use it:

  • Each certificate is good for $5.00 off your order of $25.00 or more.
  • Use for individual shopping trips or all at once.
  • Use for your own shopping, give as a gift, or keep for later.
  • Certificates are good until December 31, 2016, and I can renew them if you haven’t used them by the end of the year.

Be the first one to use your discount for Toby!



Also last week someone shared photos in a Facebook group of an injured cat she’d found while walking her dog. The kitten had horribly injured legs and was dragging them over grass, clearly they were not usable.

Over a dozen rescuers and concerned people spent two hours trying to get in touch with her to find out where the cat was, and then finding people who knew her and determining where she’d been walking, going to search, and finding the cat, which had crawled away from where it was. By the time everyone arrived to capture the cat she had crawled up under dense thorny brambles and they had to get hedge trimmers and clippers to get to the kitty. Amy handed the kitty to a rescuer and sent them off to Fix Ur Pet. She turned out to be a kitten four to five months old. Her name became Bentley since she was found in Bentleyville.

Bentley's xray
Bentley’s xray

Bentley’s outcome was not so good, as you can see by the X-ray Amy shared. Not only were her legs destroyed, but her spine was severed and it was pretty clear she’d been hit by a car. The rescuer who’d taken her there cradled her while she was put to sleep.

Losing Bentley is indeed very sad, and I know I imagined the pain she must have been in for the day or more after she’d been hit, trying to find cover, food, water while infection developed. She was friendly, frightened, but trusting of people, and she had been someone’s pet. The area she came from is known for pets abandoned from rental properties, and that was likely how she ended up out there. She will never have the chance to live the rest of her life and it’s not fair for her, but she no longer suffers, and sometimes that’s the best thing we can do.

Amy has an outstanding balance of $90 for Bentley’s care at Fix Ur Pet. Any donations would be very welcome, and also qualify for my Donate for a Discount program.

Amazon Wish Lists

amazon wish list for kittens
The Amazon Wish List for our group’s foster kittens.

Many rescuers pay out of pocket for veterinary care and food but the costs of raising even the average litter of four healthy kittens is more than many people have, and many rescues have greater needs. Pittsburgh CAT has a number of wish lists that include foods for feeding neo-natal kittens like KMR, and other lists that include the best kitten foods, adult cat foods, food and materials for feral cats, and preferred toys and litter.

Pittsburgh CAT Wish List:

2015 Foster Cat/Kitten Wish List:

Winter Kitten Wish List!

Fall Wishlist for Fosters/Ferals!

Food For Foster Kittens:

Our Groups Foster Kittens!

Can’t adopt? Foster! Can’t foster? Donate or volunteer.

There are so many ways you can help cats who need homes and care. You may not have room to adopt another cat, but can foster a cat or kitten for a few weeks. If not that, you can volunteer at a shelter or with a rescue, or donate. You do this because you love your cat, and by doing so you help all cats. No matter which of these actions you take, you help to save a life, and make life better for all cats.

  • Adopt one of the cats I’ve posted here, or from any shelter or rescue near you, or from Petfinder, to open up a space for another cat to be rescued and fostered.
  • Offer to foster cats or kittens for a shelter or rescue near you.
  • Volunteer at a shelter or rescue.
  • Find a group of volunteers who work with homeless cats and help them with their efforts.
  • Donate to a shelter or rescue near you.

If you can foster kittens or adults cats to help prepare them for a forever home, please run to your nearest shelter and find a cat who needs you! Anyone can help with this effort at any level, even if all you do is donate to a shelter or rescue so they can help to pay for the food or medications needed for their foster, or the spay/neuter/veterinary care during a clinic.

Need to know more? Read Fostering for Your Shelter and Fostering Saves Lives

Browse some rescued cats and kittens—browse here or visit PittsburghCAT!

cats and kittens
Gallery view of Pittsburgh CAT cats for adoption.

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 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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© 2016 | | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
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
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!




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.

2 thoughts on “The Nature of Cat Rescue: Two Who Needed Help

  • Godspeed your journey Bentley; we are truly sorry; yet we know you are once again healthy and happy ♥♥♥

    St Francis’ blessings times hundred to you Toby, we truly hope a definite cure can be found to help you, so you’re on the roads of happiness & health ♥♥♥

    • A hopeful and sad day, both, Tabbies. Poor little Bentley, but at least we could do that. Toby is an amazing cat though!


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