Every cat that is rescued and finds a loving, forever home is a success story. The cats you see here are “beyond” success stories. When they came to us, they needed a lot of extra care and time to overcome what had occurred in their life before finding their way to us. They are cats that would otherwise have most likely been euthanized rather than go through the diagnostics, medical procedures, time, recovery and prayers that they receive with us. The stories you see here are just some of the many extra special cats that we have been blessed to have been able to help. We hope you enjoy their stories of bravery, perseverance and triumph.
While doing TNR (trap, neuter, return) in a colony of feral cats, a Rescue House volunteer trapped a very pregnant cat and took her home to care for her. She named her Regina and was delighted to find out that she turned out to be very friendly. Several days later, after a very long labor, Regina gave birth to one kitten that was not living – and then stopped! Regina wanted nothing to do with the baby though so the volunteer took over taking care of the baby and began bottle feeding it.
Before dawn the following morning, Regina and baby went to the vets’ office. Baby was put in an incubator and lived for four days with round-the-clock care but was too immature to survive. Meanwhile an ultrasound on Regina revealed four babies still in utero. For the next week and a half, Regina and the babies were monitored carefully, and on day ten, the doctor said the babies’ heart rates were lowering so he would give it overnight to see if she delivered naturally and, if not, would need to do a Caesarian section delivery the next day .
Morning came and no kittens so a surgical team was assembled and Regina went into surgery. Two volunteers came over to meet the foster mom and give support to her and Regina. The babies were born and everyone made it through the operation. The volunteers had been up for hours and were told to go home and get some sleep. However, as soon as they were a few blocks away, the veterinarian called the foster mom and asked her to return because once Regina awoke from anesthesia, she would not accept the babies. The Doctor felt if the foster mom stayed with Regina and comforted her and tried to get her to accept the babies, that she might come around. Thirteen exhausting hours later of lying with her on a blanket on the floor of the vet’s office, she finally did start to accept her babies. Once she started to care for them, she was a wonderful and very devoted mother. The four little ones and mom grew stronger and healthier every day, into the family you see here in the photos.
Three of the Regina’s kittens were adopted by two families who both report that they’re the best kittens ever; complete snuggle bugs; and all are being appropriately spoiled rotten. Regina and one of her sons, Rocco (who looks exactly like her) were adopted together and both Mom’s (adoptive human Mom and Regina) and her son are very, very happy.
Scotty had been found badly dragging his rear left leg—probably the result of having been hit by a car. Since he had a microchip, his owner was called. She said she wanted him back until she found out it was going to cost her around $80 to have him returned to her. She then changed her mind. So Scotty then came to The Rescue House at the request of the Feral Cat Coalition.
When we first took Scotty to the veterinarian, she suspected spinal cord damage. We then took him to a specialty vet for an MRI. This revealed no spinal cord issues and no broken bones; the damage was entirely to the nerves. Nerve damage like this is most often irreversible and his leg was basically unusable at that point. Amputation of the leg was the next plan but the orthopedic surgeon suggested trying some alternative therapy first. Scotty received regular acupuncture, laser therapy and massage treatments for a number of months. His foot was initially cold to the touch and the specialists weren’t sure how much he could really be helped. However, many treatments later, he began to use his leg more effectively and walk on the foot pad rather than dragging the curled toe. While his leg will never fully recover, the alternative medical treatments helped him improve enough to get around quite well – and save his leg.
And then he found a wonderful home! A family who had previously adopted from The Rescue House had just lost their senior kitty and were looking for a companion for their other cat, who was clearly grieving and confused. Scotty went from his foster home to his new home, which included one cat, one anxious-to-play dog and thirteen year old triplets (who adore him). They say “Scotty is the sweetest boy and cuddles right up with Alex [son] and purrs like crazy. And their other cat is reported to be “all hyper and young again with Scotty around.”
We just love win-win-win’s!
Stuart, Gadget and Gidget
In a shelter in the Central Valley of California, three little kittens were slated to be euthanized at the end of the day. All three had eye issues and the shelter had too many kittens and no funding to help. A caring volunteer who lived nearby started a chain of events that went through Boston and then came back to The Rescue House in San Diego. We agreed to rescue these three kittens, get them the eye surgeries they needed and find them wonderful homes. The volunteer drove them several hundred miles to California Veterinary Specialty in Carlsbad.
All of the kittens had eyelashes that grew inward and were scraping their corneas and causing abrasions. They all had to have an eyelash removal technique (cryotherapy) to alleviate this painful condition. Additionally, Gidget had one eye that wasn’t viable and needed to be surgically removed and Gadget has some scar tissue on his right eye from an ulcer. Stewart has a retinal detachment and is blind but that doesn’t stop him one bit. From the kittens’ standpoint, none of this gets in the way even slightly. They are happy, healthy, bouncing kitties who have great personalities and love to play, play, play.
Each of these lucky cats were adopted in to loving homes where their adoptive parents continue to be delighted by their antics and amazed at their abilities. Stuart’s Mom says “The ophthalmologist says he’s blind – but we have a tough time believing it’s true! He climbs to the top of the cat tree, he leaps after the mouse, he bats his other toys around, he runs around the house, he chases that little skinny thing that follows him everywhere (his tail) and also the tails of the other cats in our home when they hang over the edge of the chair or cat tree. If this is blind, cats don’t need eyes! And friendly – he’s such a sweet heart – he loves everyone who comes into the house.”
Gracie & Sylvester
Gracie and Sylvester were living next to a Carl’s Jr. in a colony of homeless cats. At some point while they were kittens or teenagers, both of them had been injured (hit by cars most likely) and as a result, both had a great deal of difficulty walking. A caring cat lover took them in and asked if The Rescue House could help as the surgeries they need to restore their ability to walk and ease of doing so were going to be quite costly. We took them in. We knew they would have long, wonderful lives ahead of them if they could receive the medical care they needed.
Gracie was lame in both legs and showed stiffness and discomfort in both hips. X-rays revealed that she had fluid and stiffness in her left knee, an old fracture in her pelvis and the left femoral head had fractured through the pelvis. Since some healing had occurred and the bones were now misaligned, the best solution was to a surgical procedure known as FHO (femoral head ostectomy) to remove the ball of the hip and regain best use of her leg and freedom from pain. With this surgery, scar tissue will then form in the joint to prevent rubbing of bone on bone. A “false joint” is thus formed, which is pain free, and the surrounding muscles hold the hip in place.
Sylvester’s left front leg was badly broken. When he was found, his left front paw was deformed. It was bending backwards so he was walking on the top of it and this in turn was causing elbow and shoulder pain. With flexion, he had bone overlap and thus severe arthritis; after much examination, discussion, analysis and X-rays, the surgeon and his team told Rescue House that amputation was the only alternative.
The pair recuperated beautifully in foster care and became were ready for adoption. A wonderful family who had previously adopted two three-legged kitties from The Rescue House decided to adopt Sylvester. Once he was in their home, the family realized they just couldn’t leave Gracie behind and returned to adopt her too. They are happy to share that both cats are doing wonderfully. Gracie runs with a slight limp she doesn’t even seem to notice, and Sylvester dashes through the house and up the cat tree as fast as any four-legged cat. Sylvester and Gracie are part of a very happy family that now includes “three 3-legged cats, three 4-legged cats, two 4-legged doggies and three 2-legged daughters.”
Luanna had been missing from her home for nearly a month when she dragged herself back in very poor condition with obvious injuries. Her guardian took her to the shelter seeking help but was told euthanasia was the only option. In an effort to prevent this, she called every rescue in the area. The Rescue House was the only one to respond and Luanna was pulled from the shelter mere minutes before she was scheduled to be put down. We moved her to an emergency vet and it was confirmed that her problems were indeed severe: she had a cracked vertebra, two pelvic fractures, a broken hip socket ball, a hind leg not very useable with a foot that turned under, and a tail that was broken and 90% necrotic. But it was all treatable once she was stabilized. And that was then the challenge because she was anemic and so emaciated that the vets rated her body condition score of only 1-2 on a scale up to 10.
After being seen by the orthopedic surgeon, Luanna was stabilized and put on pain medication until she could gain enough strength to be safely operated on. Her tail needed to be amputated and it was recommended that her right hind leg be amputated at the same time due to pelvic fractures, broken hip socket ball and most likely nerve damage, giving a large likelihood that her leg would not regain usage and be viable. We wanted to give her the chance to find out though. There was a small chance that an FHO (femoral head ostectomy) surgery could be successful for her leg, given time and if the nerve signals to her leg could return to make it useable again. We felt amputation would be a last resort and wanted to give her a chance to regain some use of her leg. So her tail was amputated and the FHO surgery was done to stabilize the tendons and ligaments and hopefully create a working hip and usable leg.
And then it was cage rest to keep her from jumping and running until she was healed from the surgery, and more cage rest and therapy to help her regain use of her leg. The happy news was that, little by little, she began using her leg properly! Little by little, she regained use of her leg and, although she still has a slight limp – she has all her legs! Luanna now runs, jumps, plays and climbs with the best of them. When she’s not playing, she loves to be petted and cuddled and especially enjoys a good brushing of her fluffy silky fur (who can resist??) and after that some more snuggles if you wouldn’t mind. And she has now found all that, and more, in her forever home.
Luanna is a super sweet miracle kitty who was given a second chance at life and its wonders. We are so happy we could give that to her.
Madrid & Ringo
Ringo and Madrid represent just a few of many blind kittens and cats taken in by The Rescue House each year. Madrid was found wandering on the streets and a Good Samaritan picked her up and dropped this little girl off at a local veterinarians’ office. Upon examination, it was found that the kitten was completely blind from a congenital defect. Her right eye was sealed shut. It turned out she actually had a little nugget of an eye there but it was not functional and was continually bothering her so it was removed by the veterinary ophthalmologist. Although her left eye had no sight, it was fine otherwise and was left alone.
Ringo was found in Tijuana and, when we took him in, it was thought he had chemical burns on his face. The veterinarian exam revealed that Ringo had running tear ducts but no eyes to absorb the tears; he was born without eyes. And the eye sockets were badly infected. After being on several antibiotics to make him strong again, Ringo eventually had both eye sockets cleaned and closed so there would be no further concern about infection or keeping the sockets clean.
Both kittens are happy bouncing babies and have amazing quality of life. Since sight is not the primary sense cats use, blind kittens and cats adjust completely and require no special handling nor attention. They play with wand toys, trackballs and balls and will chase flies and catch them. They climb on furniture, go up and down stairs, have no problem finding food, water and the litterbox and will still easily find these things when they’re moved.
Madrid’s adopter says “she is coping with lack of sight remarkably well. Her other senses have compensated to the point that it is hard to believe she can’t see at all. She’s very social and playful and gets around without running in to things and she loves our other cat. He says “She’s so sweet!””
Ringo now lives happily with a couple and their Boston Terrier dog. Ringo has learned the layout of the entire home and has no problems navigating around. He is doing much better with the dog that either of his human parents had expected; much to their delight.
Angus was one of six little kittens found in a shed by the home of a local dog trainer. The babies were about five weeks old and when no mother could be found, The Rescue House was asked to help save their lives. Although the babies were all healthy, Angus alone contracted a very severe case of mange, and over the course of many weeks he lost all of his long fur. As a precaution, the entire litter received regular ongoing treatment for mange and Angus received both wound and skin care. He finally banished the mites that were causing all the trouble and his fur slowly grew back in.
Angus is now a loving and gutsy boy who is always ready to tumble with his siblings and to cuddle with you after vigorous play. He is a heat-seeker and likes to burrow in close; a holdover from when he didn’t have much fur, no doubt.
Angus’s new family raved about what a great little kitten he was (though he is certainly bigger now). He adjusted to his new environment almost immediately. He quickly got along very well with the other two cats in the household and established himself as the King of the Castle (aka the cat tree). His family comments: “He’s as wild as can be—a fast monkey who loves to run around the house—but loves cuddles in the morning. He allows our older female cat to ‘mama’ him but he loves to jump on her back and play with her as well. We love him so much.” A very happy ending for a once sick little kitten.