3-legged tabby named Barnaby gives rescuers motivation to continue their mission

Clear the Shelters

"He is why we rescue"

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.

To learn more about adopting from Cat Haven, or becoming a foster family, contact the organization on Facebook or visit the website http://www.cathavenrescueinc.com/.

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Clear The Shelters

Shelters near you


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - Thousands of pets are looking for their forever homes and News Channel 8 is On Your Side helping to make that happen in the Tampa Bay area.

We are teaming up with hundreds of shelters across the country to host Clear the Shelters, a nationwide pet adoption drive from Aug. 1 through Aug. 31, featuring virtual pet adoptions to make it easy for people to donate online to participating shelters and rescues.

More than 150,000 pets found their forever homes since 2015 and we want to add to the number.

Find a shelter near you:

  • Pasco County Animal Services, 19640 Dogpatch Lane, Land O'Lakes
  • Paw Warriors, Inc., 355 Spring Time Street, Spring Hill
  • Pinellas County Animal Services, 12450 Ulmerton Road, Largo
  • Cat Haven Rescue, Inc, 1231 Bruce B. Downs Blvd, Wesley Chapel
  • Cat Haven Rescue, Inc - Pasco, 8529 Little Road, New Port Richey
  • SPCA Tampa Bay, 9099 130th Ave N, Largo
  • Bishop Animal Shelter SPCA of Manatee County, 5718 21st Ave West, Bradenton
  • Hernando County Animal Services, 19450 Oliver Street, Brooksville
  • SPCA Florida, 5850 Brannen Rd S, Lakeland
  • Barking Out Loud Rescues, Inc, 300 N Lake Drive, Lorida
  • Precious Paws Rescue, Inc., Citrus County Florida, 5164 S. Florida Avenue, Inverness
  • Humane Society of Pinellas, 3040 State Road 590, Clearwater
  • Hernando County SPCA, 9075 Grant St, Brooksville
  • St Francis Society, PO Box 261614, Tampa
  • Humane Society of Tampa Bay, 3607 N Armenia Avenue, Tampa
  • Rebels Rescue, Petco 136 S. West shore Blvd, Tampa
  • SPCA Suncoast, 7734 Congress Street, New Port Richey
  • Friends of Strays Animal Shelter, 2911 47th Avenue North, St. Petersburg
  • Florida English Bulldog Rescue, P.O. Box 754, Odessa
  • The Humane Society of Polk County, Inc, 3195 Dundee Rd, Winter Haven
  • The Humane Society of Sarasota County, 2331 15th Street, Sarasota
  • Hands Helping Paws Rescue Inc., 53 W Bay Blvd S, Lake Wales
  • Humane Society of Manatee County, 2515 14th Avenue W, Bradenton
  • Highlands County Sheriffs Animal Services, 7300 Haywood Taylor Blvd, Sebring
  • Manatee County Animal Services, 305 25th St W, Palmetto
  • SPCA Suncoast, 7734 Congress Street, New Port Richey
  • Citrus County Animal Services, 4030 S. Airport Rd, Inverness
  • St Francis Society, PO Box 261614, Tampa
  • FLUFF Animal Rescue, 9400 SEMINOLE BOULEVARD, SEMINOLE
  • SPCA Tampa Bay, 9099 130th Ave N, Largo
  • Polk County Sheriff's Office Animal Control, 7115 De Castro Rd, Winter Haven
  • The Greener Side Haven, Inc., 3892 N Lecanto Hwy, Beverly Hills
  • Humane Society at Lakewood Ranch, 26920 Gopher Hill Road, Myakka City

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