Ed is a new member of our family of furry babies! When we lost Loki to a tumor, Dr. Melanie, our vet, asked me if I would consider adopting a special needs cat. Budge and I had already decided not to adopt any more kittens because kittens generally are easily adoptable, but older cats often don’t find good homes. With that in mind, I met Ed.
He began life as a contented farm cat living outside all the time. Back at the beginning of summer, he disappeared from his home for seven straight days. When he finally managed to drag — literally drag — himself home, he was in bad shape.
Exactly what happened is one of those unanswerable questions. He might have run into a dog, a particularly vicious cat, or some wild animal. Whatever had attacked him left a wound the size of a half-dollar in the left hand side of his neck. By the time he made it home, the wound had become infested with maggots, which actually might have saved him. Since many maggots only eat dead tissue, they kept the wound cleaner and freer of infection than it would have been otherwise. He was still in serious trouble, though.
His owner brought him to Cedar Lake Animal Hospital and told Dr. Melanie to euthanize him. Dr. Melanie is an awesome vet and something about Ed’s demeanor and the look in his eyes made her refuse to kill him. She told the owner Ed was savable and, even though he’d likely have some neurological damage, he’d likely recover. The owner was adamant that she wanted Ed “put down” because she said she, “DIDN’T WANT A RETARDED CAT.” Well, Dr. Melanie is a pretty imposing figure (she’s over 6′ tall and broad-shouldered) and she loves animals so she managed to “persuade” the owner to sign over Ed’s rights to the hospital.
She treated Ed immediately. The major wound was left open to heal from the inside out, which it did quite nicely after about a month. The first week, though, Dr. Melanie thought she might have made a mistake. Ed could scarcely stand up. When he tried to walk, he would wander in circles, and he drooled constantly. After doing all she could do for him, she turned him over to Mrs. Donita, a local lady who does an awesome job fostering injured animals and getting them up and going again. She spent a month working with Ed and he gradually stopped drooling and managed to get around, even if he did have a tendency to “pull to the left” a bit as a car alignment tech might say.
The Monday after Budge returned from her month in Hawaii, we went to get Ed. We brought him home and set him up in the spare bedroom with his own litter box, food, and water station. We wanted him to be able to acclimate to his new settings gradually. He was able to eat, groom, and use his litter box, so I was hopeful. I was really pulling for him anyway since I know what it feels like to be unwanted because of some differences.
Three weeks later, Ed is doing tremendously! His eyes once had markedly different sized pupils, but they have come closer and closer to normal since we took him. He can walk perfectly straight and even run when the mood hits him. He does have a tendency to fall over on his side when he shakes his head, but he pops right back up and keeps on. He’s started playing with the other cats and they have accepted him very well. I still feed him alone, however, because I have one little one who is a serious piggy and will gently move anyone out of the way to take over a food bowl. Also, Ed eats soft food instead of dry and feeding all my boys soft food would quickly deplete our meager budget. Finally, Ed’s a really messy eater. I don’t mind, but it helps keeping the mess confined to one room. He also maintains his own litter box in his room because he is VERY particular about his box.
He’s doing extremely well, but he does have some reminders of his ordeal. His meow and purr are extremely deep and rough because of the damage to his throat. He walks somewhat stiffly with his back legs and even though he can get DOWN from the bed, couch, table, ect, quite easily, he doesn’t yet have the coordination to jump UP to surfaces yet. Then there’s his head tilt. As you can tell in the picture, he has a more or less permanent tilt to his head. It’s always turned about thirty degrees to his left, giving him a somewhat eternally quizzical expression. I find it endearing.
Ed has been through A LOT. What he’s endured would have killed many lesser beings, but he’s still trucking and we are delighted and blessed to have him as part of the family. He’s a survivor and hopefully, he’ll just keep improving more and more each day! Whenever he’s lying on my chest or lap, he has that purr rumbling that Mrs. Donita said sounded like, “a hot rod ’57 Chevy sitting at a stoplight,” I think about all he’s been through and I’m so glad Dr. Melanie thought of us when she needed a permanent home for him. He’s our little special ed Ed.
Love you, and don’t forget those feet, y’all!