As the temperature just barely registered double digits in Kalispell, Montana, people were sure to bundle up if they HAD to go outside. Only about 80 miles from the Canadian border, the northern town has been blanketed in snow for months. It’s heartbreaking to think of the animals trying to survive in these snowy conditions. For one semi-stray cat, the winter wonderland almost ended her life.
Poor Fluffy, was found buried in the snow frozen and near death.
Around 3-years-old, Fluffy’s life hasn’t been ideal.
When the homeowners who discovered her rushed her to their veterinarian, they provided a glimpse into her background. They had purchased their home a couple years ago. Whether they noticed it in the small print or not–their new house had come with an outside cat. A purr-manent resident so-to-speak. (Sorry, I had to!)
Fluffy was living near the home when they arrived and they accepted her as a bonus. But Fluffy was used to the outdoor lifestyle. She has her “warm spots” that have helped her survive the Montana winters in the past.
Finding poor Fluffy unresponsive and frozen in the snow with ice chunks clinging to her fur though was a shock.
Her owners think she may have been scared by something and not able to make it back to a safe spot. Upon arriving at the vet’s office with the frigid feline, Dr. Jevon Clark from the Animal Clinic of Kalispell, was just as surprised.
Fluffy’s temperature was so low that it didn’t register on their thermometers–which go as low as 90 degrees. And cats usually have a temperature of between 99-102 degrees! He admitted he’d not seen anything like it in his career. Frozen balls of ice literally covered her entire body.
The staff rushed into “thaw” mode, knowing their time was limited. They used warming blankets and heating pads, warm water and even heated cages. Over the next hour, her temperature slowly began to rise as the ice melted away.
Once Fluffy was snowflake free, she was transferred to the emergency room for a full exam. Surprisingly, she wasn’t more severely frostbitten or seriously injured.
She was released that same evening and brought home.
This time, Fluffy will be recovering indoors. Although her caregivers believe that by spring she’ll be ready to head back outdoors. We’re hoping that her scare will make her think twice about the benefits of being indoors.
Fluffy’s story is a reminder that animals should not be subjected to extreme conditions; hot or cold! They don’t “just survive through it” as many believe. If the cat in question is a stray and “refuses to live indoors”, there are other options and things we can do to give them a chance.
For example; here are the directions on how to make an outdoor feral cat shelter to protect them from chilly snow. =)
REMEMBER: ADOPT, DON’T SHOP; FOSTERING SAVES LIVES & SPAY AND NEUTER!