We call her Stormy, but perhaps we should rename her Lazarus.
It was a phone call you never wish to receive while starting your morning of work — actually the sort of call you never want to receive.
Our friend and neighbor Farmer Ken was outside near the road, phoning to let us know one of our cats was hit by a car and was lying on the road. He said he heard the thud, and was moving the cat into the yard so it wouldn’t be struck again.
When I asked the color of the cat his answer told me it was one of our tortoise shells, either Steffy or Stormy. So I quickly threw on my shoes to see which of the cats was dead.
As I walked out the door I was greeted by Steffy, so I knew it was Stormy.
Stormy is a beautiful cat. She is just over a year old, and very spoiled. Out cats cannot stay indoors because of our bird, but Stormy has spent as much time inside as any of them. She was the runt of her litter and was treated for a respiratory infection when she was young, so during the winter she and another of the younger cats stayed indoors overnight in a cage for protection from the cold.
Every morning when we open the door to feed the cats Stormy runs inside. She loves to stretch on the area rugs in the dining room and the kitchen, then will dash outside to get her share of the food. Stormy loves to be held and petted, but also values her freedom outdoors with the other cats.
When I got outside I saw Ken standing in the yard over a motionless cat. When I got closer I was surprised to see Stormy occasionally struggling to take a breath. Other than that, she was motionless. It appeared there was blood coming from her ear and mouth, and my fervent hope was that she would die quickly so she didn’t suffer.
“That’s Stormy,” I told Ken. “She’s Diane’s favorite cat.” I picked her up carefully and cradled her in my arms, and my heart sank as she continued to struggle to breath. “She isn’t long for this world,” I told Ken, and he agreed. I thanked him for calling me and removing her from the road, and carefully carried her over to the front porch to hold her until she passed.
I expected every breath to be her last, but shockingly her breathing went from slow, irregular and deep to rapid and regular. I kept cradling her, surprised she still was alive, and after about fifteen minutes she opened her eyes and started to move. Stormy started to cry, then tried to get up and lurched to the side, so I held her down and petted her to calm her. She started to shiver, so I carried her inside, sat down with her and covered her with a sweatshirt.
I looked her over carefully, and realized the blood near her ear was from a cut, not inside the ear. The blood on her face, also fortunately, was from a cut in her mouth, not internal.
Diane was with a friend and returned shortly. She was upset at Stormy’s condition, and neither one of us expected her to make it. But we needed to get her treatment, so we got in the car, Diane holding Stormy, and drove to a local veterinarian.
To make a long story short, we called every vet within a half hour’s drive and were told none of them would see her – that there is no local emergency care for animals still leaves me in shock. So we called the West Toledo Animal Hospital, and they agreed to see her so we drove there directly.
As soon as we walked in the door a young woman immediately took Stormy back to a veterinarian, and the vet soon updated us. She didn’t know if Stormy would make it, but they were treating her and the next 24 hours would be critical. She was being x-rayed and receiving IV’s for pain and to reduce her brain swelling.
It was two days before they felt Stormy was out of the woods, and she spent eight days at the hospital before she was well enough to come home. She still has equilibrium problems, but she is improving each day.
In fact, on Sunday she got away from us in the yard and scooted into the barn. We could not catch her, she could keep away from us and hide, but eventually we lured her out with food. We have since purchased a cat harness and leash, so we can take her out and not lose her. We still don’t know if she will ever be able to walk again normally, but the way she keeps improving bodes well for her recovery.
This is an amazing story for us, to say the least. I believe Ken will be surprised to learn he didn’t just remove a dying cat from the roadway, he actually saved a life. We can’t thank him enough for his good deed.
Don Allison is an author, historian and retire editor of The Bryan Times. He can be reached at www.fadedbanner.com.