If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. Mark Twain

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Broken Radar

Someone had alerted us about a badly injured kitten amongst a colony of cats at the Marine Parade area. She had wanted us to help trap the injured kitten and take it to the vet. We agreed to help her and went down to take a look. In that housing estate, there must have been at least twenty cats, some sterilized, some not. Like many strays, there will always be some that are extremely friendly with humans and those that despite feeding them for years, will never trust you. They will watch from a distance till you have walked away, before they move closer to eat. Obviously these are the ones that are the hardest to help, most difficult to trap and will keep reproducing each time they are in season.

 An old heavily pregnant cat

Look at her tummy. She would be due any day now. Imagine having to give birth on the streets, on the cold, hard pavement or in the bushes with ants biting her kittens.

We spent some time scouring the HDB estate but could not find the injured kitten that we had wanted to help. Like most animals, when they are unwell, injured or weak, they will usually hide in a dark, quiet place, away from humans and other animals, so we figured that we would not have been able to spot her. Sometimes, they just hide and wait for death to overcome them; suffering and dying a slow painful death. Apart from the person who has been responsible for feeding him, no one else would have noticed or even missed his absence.
Looking at her tongue sticking out, it is likely that she suffers from gingivitis

While we were standing under the block of flats talking, some cats came and hovered around, obviously waiting to be fed. We saw an old pregnant cat. We felt so sorry for her. She looked sickly and was very heavily pregnant. Her tongue was also sticking out of her mouth, which meant that perhaps she had a gum disease and her mouth was inflamed and in pain.

An abandoned Persian cat living in the same colony

A lonely life...

A black male cat approached us and as he walked, we noticed he walked in a funny way. It seemed his right hind leg was injured, perhaps broken. Fortunately he was friendly and we managed to catch him and put him into our carrier, initially meant for the injured kitten.

Putting Radar into the carrier to take him to the vet

At the vet, x-rays were done on his leg and Dr Ang said that it was badly fractured. His bone was cracked in six places! Our guess is that he might have fallen from the block of HDB flats. To amputate or not? That is always a tough call for us when we deal with rescued strays. If we chose to try to save the leg, it would be bandaged to hold the bones together and this process would be rather slow. Recovery might also not be complete. The cat might return to the HDB estate pain free but it may have to drag its injured limb. In case of fights or trying to escape, the injured limb might prove to be a hindrance to the cat.

If we chose to amputate the hind limb, it would be a painful procedure and the cat might be emotionally traumatized after the surgery but it would be easier living back on the streets, running and walking, albeit with three legs, once it had gotten over its emotional and physical loss. If the person responsible for feeding the cat could make a few trips to visit the cat at the vet, it might help him overcome his initial fears, his trauma and also assure him that he was alright, in good hands and would soon be discharged and returned to familiar grounds.

Radar at the vet after his amputation, feeling sorry for himself.

The following day, after a discussion with the vet, we decided to go ahead with amputation. If it was a pet, the decision would have been different, obviously. A pet would live in a rather comfortable surrounding and even if he had to drag his hind limb, it would be in the safety of his own home.

The cat’s name is Radar, so says the person who feeds him. Radar will also be sterilized during his stay at the vet and hopefully in a week or so, when his wound is fully recovered, we will take him back to be with his colony of friends. Hopefully the little Radar would be up and running again in no time.

Would you like to adopt little Radar? He is sweet, friendly and could do with some love.

Photographs courtesy of Lynette and Aruna.

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