Animal stories

Lieutenant Dan… A cat’s decision.

The latest news on the Lieutenant Dan saga

Claire Meade at The Cat Hospital oversaw Lt Dan’s treatment from the very beginning; first with the amputation of his seriously damaged leg, then with the lancing of the numerous abscesses that repeatedly formed on his head. Weeks passed when I had to clean the abscess every night to draw out  puss.

Necrotic flesh removed from Lt Dan Abscess

The  decision was made to operate to remove the dead skin around the wound in the hope that his head would finally heal.  This surgery was combined with Laser treatment from Emma Robertson,Veterinary Physiotherapist.

Lt Dan after his operation
Dan undergoing laser treatment

We hoped that Dan could finally be free from pain. Unfortunately this was not to be. Lieutenant Dan seemed determined not to get better. Lieutenant Dan’s abscesses started last October. He had numerous medical tests done, including a test for MRSA, but they all came back negative.  Although the laser treatment seemed to help Dan, he had a relapse in March. 

Lt Dan’s abscesses after his relapse

Claire Meade, however, did not give up hope. She had one last trick up her sleeve. After spending her own time to come up with an answer to Lt Dan’s problem, she treated him for Nocardiosis a form of bacteria that can be picked up from the soil.  Dan faced six weeks of antibiotics, twice daily, coupled with Emma’s Laser treatment.

Dan, all wrapped up and ready to receive his medication.

Within weeks of Dan receiving his new medication he was up and about like  a new cat.

Dan then decided to take the matter of his new life into his own hands. He figured out how to use the cat flap (something that he had never bothered to do before) and returned to his natural feral life. He spent eight months living with us in our house – without the need of a cage once his leg had healed – and played with our cats, but always suffered from his abscesses. He now spends his days in a feral box, or boxes, of his choosing, in our back yard.

Lt Dan peeking over the garden wall

Our cat flap is fixed to the window so I made a special ramp for Dan when he wants to come to visit. He comes in to the kitchen for his breakfast and dinner and, late at night, he sneaks in for a cuddle with Captain Underpants by the fire.

Lt Dan’s special stairs.

I miss him terribly, but I get the odd glimpse of his rear end disappearing around the corner of the house if he sees me.

Lieutenant Dan has made his decision to live his life the way he wants it and who am I to deprive him of this great joy?

Dan playing in the hedge.
Lieutenant Dan cuddling with Captain Underpants.
Animal Welfare In memory of

We are just normal people…

Sometimes, I think people believe we have super powers.  This is a misconception.  The people involved in animal welfare are just normal people, like you.  We are normal people, who care and have decided to act to make this world a little bit better.  We won’t completely change the world, but we might help to achieve a small progress and the animals who cross our path will be offered a chance at a better life.  Sometimes, this is not possible, so we relieve their pain.

We are like you.  Most of us have a job or other commitments and we have little money.  We can’t really accomplish miracles, we are not gods.  However, we believe that we can’t ignore what is going on around us and we are trying to take responsibility and care for our planet, which has been destroyed for centuries by human greed, and its fruits.  One can ignore or one can take responsibility.  It is not the easy path to take, but it is a choice we have made.

We are not the only ones.  There are other people out there who care and will get out of their way to improve this planet and it inhabitants.  They are not motivated by the cuteness, but are just compassionate.

These last few weeks have been particularly difficult for people involved in animal welfare.  Emails and calls about dumped animals have become banal.  We are either asked to take people’s pets or the public ring us about the poor souls that have been thrown on the side of the road.  Kitten season is upon us and we know well this is going to get tougher.

However, every so often, we meet people out of the ordinary, people who have decided to take responsibility.  These people could be you, they could be anybody.  Tonight, I would like to tell you about one of them.

Last week, we received the usual call about a feral cat in a garden; except that the call wasn’t that usual in the end.  Martina had been feeding a few cats (along with the many other animals she has rescued), but noticed that one of them had deteriorated rapidly, losing a lot of hair.  She wasn’t asking us to take her away, just to help her to trap her feral so that she could be seen by a vet.  Catching Pumpkin was very tricky and other cats were trapped before her.  Maggie spent two entire days using whatever inventive device could come to her mind, but Pumpkin would have none of it.  The chicken would tempt her, but a soon as she saw Maggie, she would go away.  Each time we saw Pumpkin, her condition was worse and she would break our hearts.  Martina managed to trap her though and she rang us this afternoon to announce the good news, or what had to become the fatal news.  Deep inside, we all knew that we might not be able to save Pumpkin, but we could help her…

Martina said good-bye to Pumpkin this evening, knowing that she might never see her again; she explained to Pumpkin that whatever would happen in the next few hours would be for her own good, that we would try to do what was best for her.  It was a difficult decision to make…

Pumpkin left us tonight; yet, she had been watched over by her guardian, a compassionate human being who had taken the responsibility of looking after her, feeding and caring for her and her companions.  Hadn’t Martina been there, she would have died alone and in pain.

I petted Pumpkin tonight, after she had been sedated – this was probably the first time she was touched by a human as she was so skittish.  She was looking around with her frightened, but beautiful eyes.  Inside, I thought that it could have been a lot worse if someone, Martina, hadn’t taken responsibility.  Tomorrow, Martina’s wish will be respected and Pumpkin will be buried in a beautiful spot facing the sea; she won’t be rotting on the side of the road or in a dark corner.  She will be given all the dignity she deserves because someone cared.

Martina is just a normal person; she is like you – and so are we…

Animal stories Animal Welfare

Questions??? (guest post)

After months of having lieutenant Dan in my care and after all the poor cat has been through – he is a true fighter, always scratching and biting at every chance – he stills hangs on to his feral background to the best of his ability.  This morning while having my coffee and smoke, Dan came to me and sat by my shoes.  For the first time in many months I could finally pick him up without him trying to run away, scratch or bite me, it was one of the most rewarding experiences that I could have ever been given.

As I set out to drive to work, just 500 yards from our house I found the mangled body of one of our oldest feral cats that was killed on the road.  Her poor body was just dumped there like it never had any meaning.  Its days like this that I find it very hard to see the reason in doing what we do.  MooMoo our feral was with us for more than 7 years, every morning she was waiting for her food and back again in the evening.  The numerous attempts at socialising her went in vain as she was a true spirit.  Only a few weeks ago she finally relinquished her pride and moved into one of our feral homes.  The only time I ever got to hold her was to carry her mangled body off the road.

RIP Moo Cat