After being rescued by a group of friends and treated at a Dr. Phillips pet hospital, Lincoln, a 4-month-old kitten, has been given a second chance at life.
DR. PHILLIPS With only a few minutes left of her shift at Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming in ChampionsGate, Maddie Laustra was going about the closing process when she saw a small black cat dart by the window.
He was small, he was skinny and he was scared. His leg appeared broken in half and severely injured. So she did what any animal lover would do, calling out to her coworker to man the store as she darted outside to go help him.
A WILD CHASE
“He was obviously terrified and ran across the parking lot and me, this family and Sarah tried to corner him to a point where we could grab him,” Laustra said. “He ended up running under the cars and disappeared under black Mercedes.”
After another woman went from store to store trying to find the car’s owner, he gave permission for them to tap on the car and pop the hood to find the cat. The owner even turned on the engine and began moving the car slowly, but no sign of the cat.
They figured he must have run away, so they went back into the store to help finish the closing process. But a gut feeling that the cat was still out there motivated them to continue their search after work.
“A man walks in the store and was like, ‘Hey just so you know the kitten fell out of the Mercedes right before he got on the road,’” Laustra said. “We finished closing the store, grabbed towels and food, and it just so happened that he was cornered in a different parking lot. I say it’s fate.”
She and Sarah Raffel were able to corner the cat against a solid fence, where they threw the towel over him. He slipped through the towel and Laustra reached out to secure him — in return she received multiple scratches and bites.
“He was terrified and had no idea what was happening,” Laustra said. “Then we were able to sandwich him in the towel, and he’d given up at that point.”
They brought him back into the shop, where they made a makeshift crate out of towels and shopping baskets. It was a Saturday at 8 p.m. on Independence Day weekend, so they drove to the emergency veterinary clinic in Osceola County.
“We walked in and got a couple of weird looks, but we waited for about an hour and a half,” Raffel said. “The vet recommended euthanization right off the bat. He hadn’t had blood work done, and we didn’t know if he had disease or feline HIV.”
But that answer wasn’t going to do it for them — aside from his severely injured, left front leg, he seemed an otherwise healthy kitten, estimated to be about four months old.
After soliciting recommendations for veterinary clinics from friends and family, they brought the kitten to Grand Oaks Pet Hospital in Dr. Phillips. Friend Julie McPherson, also Raffel’s roommate, dropped him off that Monday to receive blood work, X-rays and a full exam.
“We had some people in the waiting room hear about the kitten and donated directly to the vet (for treatment),” Raffel said. “He came back negative for feline HIV and feline leukemia. She (the vet) said it didn’t look like there was any infection in the bone or leg, but we’re not super optimistic about avoiding amputation because his leg drags.”
Because of the threesome’s persistence the kitten not only received another shot at life; he now also has a home and a name. Lincoln is a patriotic, Independence Day-themed name for the spirited kitten who is proving to be a fighter.
A SECOND CHANCE
Although the veterinary staff has been gracious enough to treat Lincoln at rescue prices, his treatment plan is more extensive than originally thought.
He’s currently on medication twice a day for ear mites, oral pain medication once a day, and a dewormer once a day. He also was given a flea treatment and has to have his injured paw soaked in a medicated wash twice a day for 10 minutes.
“We were having a conversation about how when we rescue animals we never look for them, they always find us. The vast majority of my animals have been rescues, and it always comes back tenfold.” - Sarah Raffel
Lincoln’s injured leg doesn’t appear to be broken, but it is neurologically dead from the shoulder down and most likely will require amputation. It doesn’t cause him any pain, but it is an infection waiting to happen.
Amputations normally cost between $800 and $1,000, plus costs for sedation, X-rays and antibiotics. Although he’s doing well despite his circumstances, his journey is far from over — and it’s expensive.
“Other than that he was just super skinny,” Raffel said. “We’ve been feeding him and he eats like a horse. He’s just a great cat. I don’t know if he’s just grateful, if he knows, or if he’s just a good cat."
With vet bills adding up the threesome created a GoFundMe page to raise funds for Lincoln’s treatment. Although after each vet visit the funds deplete quickly, Raffel said they have been blown away by the support received thus far.
“We didn’t know people were going to be this open to sharing and donating,” she said. “We’re so grateful for that, but it goes in no time. It takes a week to raise this money and it’s gone in one vet visit.”
In addition to the GoFundMe page, anyone interested in donating can call Grand Oaks Pet Hospital and direct funds straight to Lincoln’s treatment there.
Despite his condition, he’s on the mend and lucky to be alive — had he not dropped out of the Mercedes when he did, he would have fallen out of it onto a busy road. But it’s the three friends who feel they’re the lucky ones that Lincoln “chose.”
“We were having a conversation about how when we rescue animals we never look for them, they always find us,” Raffel said. The vast majority of my animals have been rescues, and it always comes back tenfold.”
Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected].