By Gabriel Balcom: Director, CEO & Cat lover
At Stray Cat Strut Rescue Project in Savannah, Georgia, we specialize mainly in neonatal kitten care, focusing on orphaned young kittens which need to be bottle fed and/or pregnant or nursing mother cats. We incorporated in January of 2017 and as of March 2018, we have managed to save over 60 little lives. 40 of which we have cared for since they were under 2 weeks old!
Sadly, there is rampant cat over population here, and on most days you can’t walk more than a block without seeing a community cat. Many of these cats are unaltered and continue to overpopulate the area. Savannah does not have a community cat program so the population goes unchecked. We also work to to educate the community with outreach programs about the importance of altering animals. Especially community cats.
One story which really sticks out to me is the story of Dahlia.
She was born March 9th, 2017 to a cat we took in named Daffodil. Within 48 hours of being under our care, Daffodil gave birth to 5 kittens; Aster, Dandelion, Violet, Lilac, and Dahlia.
Dahlia was adopted at 9 weeks to what we thought was a great home. Unfortunately, 6 days later we received a call from her new owner informing us that she was meowing and not putting any weight on her back right leg. I scheduled an appointment for her to bring the kitten into the clinic where I worked at the time.
When she was able to bring Dahlia in the next day, we performed an exam and X-rays. The results showed that she had a dislocation. Upon further examination while being cleaned up, it was discovered she also had a wound on her leg. The doctor formed a splint for her out of cotton swabs and tape since she was too small for standard splints. The bandage was to be changed the next day due to the wound.
She left the clinic with her owner after the appointment. Later that night the clinic received a call that the kitten had been lost. An hour later she was brought in to the clinic by passerby’s who had found her outside of a bar four blocks from where the woman lived. I was contacted the next morning about the lost kitten.
It was difficult to learn this. I had to decide if I should tell the owner she was back in my care or not since the original injury was questionable and because she had been lost with a cast on. We changed her bandage the next day, and because she had been walking around on the leg, the dislocation had worsened and was infected. Dahlia was definitely staying with us where she could receive proper attention and treatment.
She spent 3 days on antibiotics with bandage changes twice a day. It only worsened, so we made the decision on the 4th day to do an emergency amputation. At the time, Dahlia was barely over 3 lbs, so it was a risky surgery. We launched a donation drive to help fund her operation, and she went into surgery that evening. She made it through and was awake and purring two hours post-op!
It took a few weeks for her to adjust to the tripod life. Her recovery took 3 months. At that time, I decided to adopt her myself, so I could ensure she would never go through such an ordeal again. It took a long time for her to trust people again and become the friendly kitten she had been before.
UPDATED PHOTOS & VIDEO:
She just had her first birthday, and Dahlia has adapted great to 3 legs! Other than the occasional mess stuck in her fur (since she has a hard time holding herself up in the litter box), Dahlia is lovely. She has become one of the sweetest cats I’ve ever met. She hasn’t let it stop her from anything. Dahlia is a real trooper and has overcome so much in her short life.
Dahlia is happily enjoying her new life with all her siblings, human and foster furiends!
Lounging at it’s finest!