Ark Animal Sanctuary – Week of March 15, 2023

1 year ago

Shamu was brought into the Ark a few weeks ago in critical condition. A lady in town had been feeding him. He was in deplorable shape. His tail was so matted he couldn’t even lift it. He was not neutered and his mouth — well, there are no words.

The vet said she had never seen a mouth so bad. His teeth were rotted and he had developed tumors. His nose was bloody. The fur on his chest had discharge from his mouth embedded in it.

He did not get that way overnight. To add insult to injury, he has tested positive for both feline acquired immunodeficiency disease and feline leukemia. I am hoping that is because he is so compromised.

(Contributed photo)

The lady who had been feeding him named him Shamu. She and her friend caught him and brought him to us. Thank you, Cheryl and Stephanie. Shamu was rushed to the Florenceville vet clinic. Thank you, Ros and Sue, for transport. 

Shamu was given fluids and pain medications to make him comfortable for the night and he was scheduled for surgery.

After discussing everything with Dr. Monteith I knew surgery was a long shot but I decided he deserved a chance and I needed to know that we have done everything we could to give him that chance.

I received the news that he is out of surgery and that it was a long one. The good news is that he survived the surgery and has plenty of pain medications and antibiotics on board.

The next step is to see if his bladder and bowels work. That will be another milestone passed. He is in good hands and will receive the best care.

It has been a roller coaster of emotions. Shamu is not feral. He is a very affectionate cat despite the amount of pain he has been in. He was someone’s pet, someone who didn’t bother to neuter him, someone who neglected the fact that he needed medical attention long ago. Why have a cat if you are going to let it get in this shape? Where are you tonight as we help your cat fight for his life? Why have a cat if you are going to ignore his pain and medical needs? That is not love. That is just plain neglect of the worst kind.

Shamu can use all of the prayers, love and good vibes you can send his way. While we know there is no guarantee he will survive, we do know that he is loved and that he is comfortable tonight and not in pain. We have given him a chance. There are no excuses or explanations that will ever make the condition he was found in right.

It took a village to get Shamu the help he needed and it all happened at the drop of a hat. Cheryl and Stephanie, Ros and Sue and Dr, Monteith and her entire staff, thank you. Our volunteers go above and beyond and we are so lucky to have them. Dr: Monteith, there are no words to express how grateful we are to you and your staff.

Weeks later: Shamu continues to improve and amaze each and every one of us. He defied the odds and we are so grateful we gave him that chance. This week Shamu goes back for a re-check and we are hoping for more good news. 

Shamu, the little cat with a heart the size of a whale — we all love you and you inspire us to do more.

Thank you for your continued support, and as always, thank you for reading our column.