Age: 8 years old
Health: Spayed, vaccinated, no known health issues
Today I will talk about Puggy who was hit by a car. She survived and healed from the hit, but not without some remaining damage.
Puggy was originally named Pugnose, because the black spots on her nose causes her to look as though she has a short nose. Puggy has three litter mates (JR, PacMan, and Patches) and was one of the kittens thrown from the window of a moving vehicle on a day when we were expecting snow. She and her three litter mates and the queen (SnagglePuss) were all tossed out the window onto a vacant wooded lot. Though an attempt was made to stop the driver of the car, it was to no avail.
It snowed a lot that night and so began our rescue attempts for fear they would freeze. We provided them some food, water and a makeshift shelter near where they had decided to camp. For 2 days we frequently visited the location. We could not get near them to take them from the location so that we could provide heat for them. They would dart and hide. There was no catching them and we did not have a trap. Inclement weather prevented travel to purchase or borrow a trap from the veterinarian.
Finally, on one of the many walks to check on them, down a slippery, icy road, one little kitten, soon to be named Puggy, ran to me and then turned around and ran the opposite direction. She did this repeatedly and kept turning to see if I was following her. I followed her and she ran to an old tree stump, looked into it, ran back to me and then ran back to the stump again. As I approached the tree stump, she darted away, but what I saw in there was definitely what she was trying to show me. One of her litter mates had fallen into the decaying tree stump head first. He was completely submerged in snow and had gotten wedged between the decaying tree roots. All I could see was his two little back feet sticking out of the snow covered stump.
I carefully removed the kitten from its dilemma and tucked him inside my coat because he was so cold he was shivering and his little lips were beginning to turn blue. I took the kitten home and put him in a crate on a heating pad.
Attempts to capture the other ones failed, but that night, I looked out and the other kittens were surrounding the crate. Knowing they would stay if they found food, shelter and heat I put out warmed food and another crate with heat and left it open for them. Peeking out the window later I could see that the kittens were using the crate and we left them undisturbed.
A couple of days later we spotted the queen sitting in the edge of the woods. We began leaving food out for her in the spot she would always show up. Soon, she was coming to sit on top of the crates where her kittens slept to watch over them and protect them from unknown dangers.
Not long after that, we took the queen that we named SnagglePus and Puggy to be spayed and vaccinated. Little did we know that both the spays would show that SnagglePus and Puggy were both pregnant.
Puggy created a special bond with me. Where I would go, she would go. If I took a walk, she would follow. If I worked in the yard, she was always there helping me prune the gardenias, spread wheat or pine straw, and trim the hedges. If I walked near a tree, she would always climb it until she was level with my face so she could butt heads with me, or get a good back scratch.
Then one day she was hit by a car, and hid in one of the feral cat shelters. I found her hiding there when it was their dinner time and she didn’t come running for her food. It took me about an hour to find her and I had no idea she was hurt. I pulled her out of the cat shelter and took her to the building where she was used to being put up at night for protection. When I set her on the floor, her legs were weak and she couldn’t stand on her own. Of course, it was after hours on a weekend and so it was off to the ER for animals.
At the emergency clinic her x-rays showed a fractured pelvis and very bruised and swollen mammary glands. She would see her regular vet on Monday. Her regular vet examined her and looked at her x-rays. He informed me that the emergency room had missed a fractured hip bone. He informed me that her injuries were consistent with injuries sustained from being hit by a car. With her now unable to protect herself from other animals we had to confine her to a small space for several weeks while she healed. That small space turned out to be a small bathroom in our house. After her visit with her regular vet, we noticed that her head and one ear was badly bruised as well.
As it turned out, Puggy is still indoors. She no longer jumps more than just over a foot. To go to the bathroom counter it is by way of a jump to the toilet bowl seat, then to the toilet tank and then to the counter top. She climbs to get on the bed. Obviously she can no longer jump due to her injuries. She didn’t move around a whole lot at first, but when she did, I noticed that her tail hung abnormally limp, which was an indication that her tail had been under a tire when she was thrown, leaving her with nerve damage at the base of her tail.
After several weeks she was eventually able to lift her tail and therefore her balance improved. Eventually she even started jumping from floor to countertop, but that was short lived and when she would try the jump, she would slide back down to the floor. In addition to this, she licks her mammary glands frequently and still has pain at the lower back, because she no longer likes to be scratched there.
Needless to say, it looks like Puggy is no longer physically able to protect herself from outdoor dangers. Today, though, we have given her access to other parts of the house for the purpose of exercise, but it has to be closely supervised at first. The other indoor house cats weren’t as welcoming of her as we had hoped. She fits in now, though, and only has issues with one other cat.
Puggy was born in the wild and so she is at least semi-feral. She is fairly tame since she was exposed to human contact at an early age, but as with most of those born outdoors, they are very territorial. She has come to view the small bathroom, where we kept her while she was recovering, as her domain and she protects it as such no matter what pain she may be feeling. The other thing is that if one of the house cats growls or hisses at her, it is grounds for a fight as far as she is concerned.
Puggy finally made her way to the kitchen on the other side of the house after several months and found familiar scents from the great outdoors wafting through the backdoor each time it was opened. On one occasion she spotted her mama cat at the same time mama cat spotted her. Mama came running and they butted heads and sniffed each other’s face for a few moments before I had to close the door. Since then, Puggy comes to the backdoor looking for Mama daily. She really needs to be back outside with her colony; unfortunately, that isn’t an option for her.