TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Animal rescue organizations and pet foster families draw on inspirational success stories as motivation to continue their work. For Cat Haven, the tale of an orange tabby cat named Barnaby helps keep them going.
Barnaby was first found in January as part of a litter of feral kittens. Cat Haven, an all-volunteer organization that rescues stray cats in Pasco and Hillsborough counties, trapped the cat family, provided them with veterinary care, and returned them to the property where they were found, where they were cared for by the willing homeowner.
Not long after, however, the homeowner grew concerned about one of the kittens, who appeared injured. Once again Cat Haven came to the rescue and trapped the gravely ill cat. Through Facebook, the organization learned the kitten had been trapped in a car engine, was rescued by the fire department, but scampered off.
Cat Haven volunteer Sarah Clark consulted with the veterinarian at Friends of Strays in St. Petersburg about the kitten, now named Barnaby.
“His prognosis was very guarded,” Sarah said. “Our vet was very torn between euthanasia and surgery. Although feral, we wanted to give Barnaby a chance, so we opted for surgery.”
Barnaby had his injured arm amputated, a process involving two surgeries and multiple trips back to the veterinarian for care, including cold laser therapy to heal his wound.
“Due to the severity of his injuries, and because he was a feral cat, he had to be sedated each time,” said Sarah. “Barnaby was untouchable without gloves. He was not used to human interaction, let alone being touched and forced medications multiple times throughout the day.”
But, Sarah said, week after week, Barnaby began healing, and started to let his guard down.
“After four months of being handled and chauffeured from vet office to vet office, Barnaby learned to trust. He began prancing around the house and talking to anyone who walked by. And, he decided his favorite place to nap was your lap.”
Devon Cobb-Tappan followed Barnaby’s plight via Cat Haven’s Facebook page and became enamored with the three-legged orange tabby. She felt he’d fit right in with her family, which includes three other adopted cats and a bearded dragon.
In July, Barnaby became a member of the Cobb-Tappan family.
“He is differently-abled, not disabled in any way,” said Devon. “Every once in a while I’ll think maybe he’s walking a little slow, and then three seconds later he’s running across the house, he has full zoomies!”
Barnaby, now known as Bill Barnaby, sleeps on his owner’s bed with his new siblings and loves watching the bearded dragon enjoy his dinner. He even has his own Instagram feed.
For Sarah, seeing Barnaby doing so well encourages her to keep up her difficult work as a Cat Haven volunteer and foster.
“He is why we rescue,” Sarah said.
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