If ever there was a cat that could be called a “survivor”, it is Norman.
The handsome black and white boy was found injured on the side of Interstate 275, a 60-mile major highway in Tampa, Florida on January 13th this year.
He was brought to a local animal services shelter, where unfortunately he would likely be euthanized. Just like the devastating other 187 felines that were put down in January 2018 ALONE in Pinellas County! Heartbreaking. =(
They guessed Norman had been thrown out of a moving vehicle as his injuries were mostly internal. Determining that Norman was suffering from a hip injury, they reported he would either require FHO Surgery or amputation. FHO, or a Femoral Head Ostectomy, is a radical and irreversible surgery intended to restore leg function to a debilitated or injured cat.
Luckily an adopter came forward and took Norman in with the intention of re-homing him to someone they knew in Arizona. But sadly, the adoption plans fell through.
While Norman was at the adopter’s house, he became very sick with a severe URI (Upper Respiratory Infection). He went down hill very quickly. George (his adopter) didn’t realize how sick he was until he was to the point where he was not eating and was lethargic.
He brought him to TBVES (Tampa Bay Veterinary Emergency Service) which is only an after hours emergency clinic. In the morning he transferred him to the HSTB (Humane Society of Tampa Bay) clinic. He did this for 3 days – TBVES at night, HSTB during the day.
Despite all these 2 clinics were doing, Norman was not getting better. Both clinics recommended George euthanize Norman because he was clearly suffering. George reached out to St Francis for help. They had been following his story as George had been posting updates and knew Norman’s condition was grave. They transferred him immediately to a Blue Pearl Vet – expensive, but the very best in the area, especially for critical cases like Norman’s.
Even having the best care possible, the diagnosis of Norman’s ailments just kept piling up.
Norman was suffering with a severe internal infection that caused him to be septic. He was still battling low blood pressure and sugar levels. He had some type of severe electrolyte disturbance which could be the result of his traumas of being thrown out of the car, or he could have had a condition that could have been brewing for awhile.
They put him in an incubator that both acted as a nebulizer and an oxygen tank. Norman remained on intensive IV therapy and was given a nasal tube, later an Esophagostomy tube or “e-tube”.
The nasal tube was to start getting a protein milkshake of sorts into him. The esophageal tube was to start getting real prescription cat food into him. He also got all his medications through the e-tube. Norman handled it all like a trooper!
The Blue Pearl team added an appetite stimulant and an anti-nausea medication to help jump start him taking food on his own. They also introduced B vitamin complex therapy to his IV treatments as a means to bolster his blood cell counts.
They explained that Norman had “off the charts sodium levels” and this required bringing them down very gradually or Norman could die.
After 3 more days in intensive care, Norman started responding to his IV therapy!
On February 11th, the St. Francis team shared some aMEOWzing news with Norman’s growing fan base following the story on Facebook.
Norman spent his first 24 hours at his foster home, aka Miss Nettie’s Finishing School & Rehab Center, making remarkable progress! His appetite and potassium/sodium levels were all steady and he showed no signs of high blood pressure.
10 days later and the willing fighter had happily gained a healthy 2 pounds back. The giddy shelter volunteers joked that “He’s able to groom himself more so he also gets handsomer every day! Norman’s ribs no longer stick out, and after a feeding he even has a little tummy. It’s too early to say he is completely out of the woods, but he sure looks and acts like he’s a-ok. Here he is asking, “do you have any kibble for me?”
On March 19th, Norman graduated to his next level of foster care with shelter heroine, Heidi, while working on repairing his luxated hip.
Spending his days focusing on growing stronger, Norman met a special friend at his foster home. Dwayne, yes as in Dwayne Johnson, was also saved from death row at PRC and the two boys hit it off immediately. They are very good friends and would love to be adopted together once Norman is all healed from his surgeries.
When fans received the long awaited update on his surgery, May 31st brought with it a roller coaster of emotions!
“Norman suffered a couple of set-backs that prevented us from keeping him on track with his hip repair. I think we know now that Norman will always be more susceptible to certain immune deficiency disorders. But our boy conquered his recent challenges and was finally cleared for his surgery. So today Norman got his hip repaired. And he came through it like the champion that he is!”
Unfortunately it looks as though Norman will require surgery on his other hip as well in the future. But with the amount of sheer determination and will to live that Norman shows everyone is possible, we are all confident he’ll conquer anything thrown at him.
Cheers to everyone that helped Norman survive and here’s to many more years to come!
If you would like to donate to Norman’s surgery and recover fundraiser, please visit https://www.youcaring.com/stfrancissocietyanimalrescue-1085140.