Rescuing a cat with special needs is gratifying, but when you see their transformation to health and well being, there’s no better feeling.
I remember the night well. It was winter—another dark, cold, rainy and windy night. But this night was different. A new cat appeared at our back patio doorstep—a big orange tabby male was hungrily eating our feral’s food outside. When he lifted his head from the food bowl, he saw me, and quickly ran away. Or more accurately, hopped away. I could see something was terribly wrong. But he was gone. He returned the next night for more food, and again I came to the window to see him, and as he was hopping away I saw that he was missing one of his hind legs. The leg was completely deformed and twisted backwards, and he was severely handicapped.
Well, they say the third time is a charm—and sure enough on the third night I was prepared! Trap was set, tuna fish inside, and I waited! Bang—I got him! Thankfully, he was not a trap-savvy cat! So I took this big, heavy boy upstairs in the trap to our bathroom. I could quickly see that he was friendly. Very friendly! I was relieved that he wasn’t feral, which would mean I’d have to release him back outside, but there was just no way that I would do that with this injured back leg. The next morning, as I was driving him to the vet, I named him “Piev.” I have no idea where this name came from, I had never heard of it before—but it sounded beautiful when I said it, and it seemed to fit him. He was masculine but gentle, and the name was as unique as this special boy was.
Piev had been outside, abandoned for some time, possibly years. He was completely flea infested, dirty, and his hind leg had been badly broken—shattered (both bones) and not by a car—and they had developed badly from when he was a kitten into being completely deformed.
As it turned out, Piev had a lot of problems from living outside—he had a bad case of skin cancer and many “mast” cell tumors, or Mastocytoma, on his skin that had to be removed. His coat was largely white and white haired, calico and orange tabby cats are more prone to skin cancer from sun exposure. A full feline upper respiratory panel revealed he had Feline Bordetella, or Bordetellosis, a highly infectious upper respiratory disease that is more often associated with dogs (known as kennel cough). And is commonly found in cats with Feline Herpes Virus, which Piev was diagnosed with also. In addition to two X-rays for his back leg, and the upper respiratory panel test, Piev was given a skin/ear swab cytology, an FIV/FELV test for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus and Feline Leukemia Virus, and his FVRCP shot. He was also neutered the same day. Later, I deflead him with Advantage and started his deworming process. It was a BIG day for our big boy! His surgery to remove and biopsy his mast cells was made for three weeks later following his antibiotic treatments for Herpes and Bordetella.
So Piev started his long road to recovery and health. He revealed immediately what a special, loving, BIG personality he was, full of life, vigor, gentleness, sensitivity, and a mind of his own. Though he had been neglected, evidently abused, and uncomfortable fending outside for himself, he still came to immediately trust and share his big heart with us. He loved feeling safe inside, protected from all the dangers outside, for possibly the first time in his life. He could finally relax.
He adjusted quickly to his new home upstairs, sharing four rooms and a hallway with five other rescue cats. But Piev was a loner, he had no interest in the other cats, or in having cat friends, and only wanted his people friends. His tail area was extremely sensitive from his accident, and he would snip at us, warning us not to touch him there.
I’ll never forget coming to know this one special quality about Piev—where suddenly out of nowhere, Piev would start growling and tearing around the room at breakneck speed. Like a bee stung him, he would just take off—growl, run, growl, run, spinning around, growling, tearing into the next room, then growling more, tearing back into the room like he was running for his life— growling all the while. This would go on for 15 or 20 minutes, until he got whatever it was—out of his system. The “force” was with Piev in those moments, and he was possessed! Then exhausted, he would just crash, plop down on the floor, look up at us, like what just happened?
Piev absolutely loved looking out the windows and watching life go by—he would literally run downstairs at full speed (only he was allowed) to our library room at the foot of the stairs, where we created a bench for him, so he could study the street life outside. Every morning after his breakfast he would run downstairs yowling and jump up on his bench for hours. He was fascinated and enthralled with the street life. Of course, he wanted to be out there too, but there wasn’t a chance! He could sit for hours watching people walk by, people walk their dogs, children playing in the street, runners running by, and people coming to the door. These were his favorite moments in life, and every day (literally!) he ran downstairs to sit by this window.
Piev was like no other cat, he was exceptionally special, wise, sweet, loving, smart, and full of life as he possibly could be. He had a larger-than-life personality and he blessed us every day with his unique, beautiful, inquisitive being. Piev went on to have two mast cell skin surgeries to remove all of his skin cancer from which he has healed beautifully, and so far—there has been no sign of recurrence.
Here is the story of Piev’s amazing adoption. We miss him terribly, but we are so grateful for his new kitty mom and for how she honors his amazing specialness, showers him with love and treats (catnip!), and appreciates all of the unique qualities that make him the survivor and incredible cat that he is.