“How’s Stormy?”

I’ve been asked that question so many times over the last couple of weeks that I’ve lost count. I really had no clue that so many people would care so much about our cat.

For anyone who missed my earlier column about Stormy, I’ll quickly catch you up. In a nutshell, I got a telephone call from our farming neighbor Ken who was picking up a dead cat from the roadway. I quickly threw on my shoes and ran outside to see Stormy lying in front of Ken, motionless in the grass.

To say Stormy is a living miracle is an understatement. When I saw her start to struggle to breathe my fervent hope was that she would die quickly so she didn’t suffer. She eventually gained consciousness, and we rushed her to the West Toledo Animal Hospital. The staff that treated her didn’t know if she would even survive.

She not only made it, she came home after eight days in the hospital and continues her steady improvement.

Stormy’s recovery has not been easy. It took her several days in Toledo before she sat up on her own, and another couple days after that to take her first steps. It was painful to watch her when we first got her home, as her balance was off and she would frequently wobble and fall. Using the litter box was particularly difficult at first, and we could tell she didn’t have full control of her paws when she scratched at the litter.

Bit by bit, though, she is improving. Her balance is better, especially walking in a straight line. She still wobbles a bit, though, when she quickly changes direction. Now she’s starting to climb on things, which is good for her but not so good for another resident of our household, our parrot Rusty.

Fortunately our old house has numerous small rooms and we can keep doors closed to keep Rusty and Stormy apart. The bird recognizes the cat as a threat, and a few days ago when Stormy was in the room Rusty cried out “Mommy! Daddy!”

Stormy always has been an outside cat, as have all our cats due to the bird. As the runt of the litter, though, Stormy was allowed inside at night over the winter so she is accustomed to indoor living.

When we took Stormy to the vet last week for her follow-up visit, the staff was amazed at her recovery thus far. Even so, the vet recommended that we consider keeping her inside permanently. She may never completely recover, and we want to give her the best life possible.

The wonderful thing is that Stormy has maintained her personality through it all. She is very affectionate and loves attention, and the animal hospital staff said she was one of the sweetest cats they’ve ever seen.

Even though she adapts to indoor life, she obviously still misses the outdoors and the companionship of the other cats. Stormy often stands on her hind legs at the front storm door and gazes intently outside, and meows to be let out whenever we approach the front door. We have brought one of the kittens inside from time to time to play with Stormy, and that has helped keep her happy and occupied.

A couple of days after she returned home she got away from us in the yard, showing shocking agility in scooting ahead and making her way to the barn where she could easily elude us. Because of her limited mobility we were afraid she would fall in a hole or become trapped, but we eventually lured her out with food and recaptured her.

We tried taking her out for walks with a harness and a leash, but that went over like a lead balloon. So for now, and perhaps for the rest of her life, she may have to content herself with watching nature through the window.

As for everyone who has asked about Stormy and shared their concern, thank you. It is more gratifying and heartwarming than you probably can imagine.

Don Allison is an author, historian and retired editor of The Bryan Times. He can be reached at www.fadedbanner.com.

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