See who won our extraordinary Rescue Me contest.
Were so proud of our readers for your response to the Rescue Me contest. The sheer volume of entries we received was astonishing. But out of the hundreds of letters, photos and emails, our winners all had something in common. They went through extraordinary lengths, spending whatever time and money was needed, to save their feline friends.
FIRST PLACE: $200
The phrase the will to live usually applies to a person who has been through a catastrophic situation and has come out on top. Our story is about a cat with that same will to live.
Last spring a small, thin, white cat appeared on our porch. Not knowing who the cat belonged to, we began to leave food and water on the porch. After months of this routine, we found out that the cat belonged to a neighbor who wasn't able to keep it contained inside. From then on she slept on the front porch or in our swing many hours each day.
One Sunday when we opened the front door we noticed the cat was not there. Looking around the yard we found her laying among the hostas with a cross bow arrow through her neck, still alive. We called the sheriff. When he came, he called the Humane Society for assistance. He tried to arouse the neighbors but was unsuccessful. The cat was transported to an emergency clinic. We told the sheriff that if she could be saved to call us.
The clinic called and asked if we would take financial responsibility. Since we were unable to contact the owners, we said that we would. Because of the location of the arrow, the clinic referred the cat to another hospital. This hospital asked if we would be wiling to pay $2500 to $4500 depending on what had to be done. What could we say? Yes! Arrow, (her name now) after at least 18 hours with the arrow, survived the surgery. After weeks of recuperation she fully recovered and was considered a miracle. She lives in our house now with Socks, our other cat who is partially blind. She truly had a will to live.
SECOND PLACE: $150
Mt. Pleasant, Pa.
Uno was found alone near an air conditioning unit, only a few days old, with his umbilical cord still attached. His lifeless siblings were beside him. Momma kitty must have met an ill fate.
Around-the-clock bottle feeding and caring for cats is not new for me, but I was NOT prepared for this little guy. After a few weeks, Uno seemed to thrive but did not appear suck on the bottle quite right. His nose sometimes bubbled, and the milk drained out. One day I looked in his mouth and panicked. Uno had a big hole in the roof of his moutha cleft palate!
A rush trip to the veterinarian confirmed Unos severe birth defect to be the worst case he had ever seen. His cleft pallet went all the way back toward his throat like a zipper. He cautioned me that his condition could either exasperate or turn into pneumonia. Uno could not receive an operation to correct his pallet until he was 4 months old. (He was then only a few weeks old.) How would he survive?
This precious little kitten had a strong will to survive. My whole life revolved around him. He had to somehow begin eating solid foods for proper nourishment. He ate sitting up, head held high; first from my fingers, then a spoon. The texture had to be perfect so the food did not stick to the roof of his mouth, causing it to get into his sinuses and out his nose! Many times, his head was clear down to the floor in choking spasms that left me shaking! Every day I prayed that he would eat well. This went on five times a day, with bottle feedings in between, for three long, stressful months! Uno loved his ba-ba (bottle). I would call him saying, Uno, time for ba-ba, and he would come running. He was growing, and I felt very proud of this brave baby.
Little Uno came through his surgery. When I brought him home, he went right to a food dish and ate like a normal cat for the first time! A miracle?Not just yet.
We faced another disappointment at six months old. When his cleft palate opened up again, he had to have a second surgery! He pulled through the surgery, and his wonderful spirit rose up again to meet his strong will to survive. Now, if he could only get to the age of 10 months, his mouth would stop growing. It wasn't easy, but he made it!
He is now a strong and healthy 16-month-old cat. The journey for all of us has been long and hard. The Spirit of Uno is remarkable! I feel truly blessed to have him in my life.
THIRD PLACE: $100
Glen Ellyn, Ill.
Who would have thought that a vacation to Mexico would bring us a new member of the family? My husband Mani and I were scuba diving in Cozumel, Mexico.
One afternoon, there was a knock on our door and Evelyna, the caretakers daughter, was standing there with a tiny bundle in her arms. She asked me in Spanish if I could help and handed it to me. Inside this bundle was a scrawny, bony snow-white kitten with big frightened eyes. Luis, the caretaker, told me that it was hiding by a construction site and the workers would give it potato chips to eat. It was so thin and pitiful and could not have been more than 3 weeks old. I immediately gave her some food.
The next day I took the kitten to a veterinarian recommended by a friend on the island. He gave her an examination and one vaccination. I asked him for proof that she was vaccinated, and he wrote one out for me.
We soon discovered that Lolita, as I named her, was deaf. She never would have survived in Mexico. After discussing it with Mani, we agreed to bring her home with us, provided the airlines would allow it. My friend Paula, who is also a cat lover, agreed to lend us one of her cat carriers, as they are hard to find in Mexico. Armed with the vaccination papers, our airline tickets, luggage and precious Lolita, Luis took us to the airport and stayed with us while we checked in. The airline wanted proof of her vaccinations, which we had, and we had to pay $50 per flight to carry her on the plane with us.
Lolita was good on the plane. She slept all the way to Charlotte, N.C. Waiting in the line for customs, the passengers tried to see her and talk about her. When Mani and I passed through customs, we went down the escalator to the baggage claim area. I was holding Lolita in the carrier and as we descended, most of the plane passengers were standing at the bottom and applauding when they saw us. They said, Congratulations! She's an American citizen now! It was one of those golden moments that well never forget.
Now, Lolita is healthy and very happy. She has grown into a real beauty and is a light in my life.
**For photos of our winners, see the July issue of CAT FANCY**
**Go here: https://center.atomz.com/center/publish/edit/content.tk/sp_id=0012e854-pb00002d3b/cat/contest/cat_rescue.aspx to see more submissions to our Rescue Contest.
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