When the temperatures reached a high of just 13 degrees on February 26th, 2019, one cat found a warm place to hide. In Baraboo, Wisconsin, the winter season is more often than not, brutal for ALL living creatures. Feral and stray cats are left to fend for themselves; not an easy thing to do! Many seek refuge in a secret place that provides warmth, protection from the elements and other predators trying to survive. With all these features, a car engine compartment is a spot chosen by many. Unbeknownst to vehicle’s owner, when the car engine is started, the cats are vulnerably tucked within. This “refuge” then turns into a terrifying chamber of horror and mutilation for the stowaways.
Poor Henry learned this the hard way, losing both ears and almost being decapitated from a car engine!
It’s sadly not uncommon for the Sauk County Humane Society to receive calls regarding cats injured in cars. So when they received the report on the 26th that a cat was found in a car engine, it wasn’t a surprise. When they finally laid eyes on Henry though, they knew it wasn’t going to be like any other rescue. At first, they believed it to be frostbite all over the poor boy, but upon closer inspection, what they found shocked them.
When we get a call for help we never know what we will find so we always brace ourselves. But in some cases, we are completely unprepared for how bad it is.
A chunk of his skull was missing and one of his ears was severed down to the ear canal. They immediately rushed the suffering boy to a local veterinarian. At the Veterinary Emergency Service & Veterinary Specialty Center in Middleton, the staff was just at startled.
In addition to mild head trauma, one ear is completely detached down to the ear canal and cannot be saved and must be removed. This will require extensive surgery down to his skull and he will need a flap of skin taken from somewhere else on his little body. Additionally, he has deep wounds all over his head that will require great care and vigilance to prevent infections from setting in.
Showing the amazing will to live that felines express, mangled Henry continued to prove nothing would get him “down”.
It was heartbreaking to see a cat that should have never been put in that position in the first place. They knew they were going to do everything they could for him.
Despite the extent of his injuries and the poking and prodding by the vet staff, through it all, this sweet cat, who we have named Henry, continued to purr and make air biscuits. How can we not try to save him?
But it would be costly, not guaranteeing he even survived and his recovery would be long. The vet estimated that his surgeries would cost around $2500, not including after-care!
Currently we have enough donations to cover about $500 of that [estimate]. Henry needs your help! No donation is too small…every dollar will help and will ensure this cat, who only wanted to stay warm, gets the medical care he needs.
He is resting comfortably and continues to charm the entire staff.
The Humane Society began raising funds to cover the costs. Sticking by their mission statement isn’t cheap, but Henry is lucky to have their support.
Mission Statement: We are an open admissions shelter and turn no animal away in its time of need, no matter what its age, condition, extent of injuries, or behavior. Adoption is the happy ending for these future pets.
Henry’s injuries were so severe from the car engine, surgery couldn’t wait for the donations to come in.
Late the next evening, they went ahead with Henry’s surgery regardless of the amount raised. His life was more important than money.
We have received word from the surgeon that he needs surgery very soon to remove his right ear. This will be extensive work and entails removing what remains of viable tissue to create a flap over the opening. As bad as that is, the news is even worse…upon closer examination at the back of his skull, this poor kitty was nearly decapitated!! There is a big chunk of his skull completely gone right down to the brain covering.
Because of the debris that is embedded in every nook and cranny, he will be at risk for meningitis. The staff is also working diligently to remove a build up of grease and other chemicals embedded in his fur to prevent any further contamination into his skin and wounds. He continues to purr and is eating well on his own.
Surgery took about two and a half hours, but Henry is now on his way to recovering.
He ended up getting a total of 34 stitches on his head; 20 exterior and 14 under the skin. The cost ended up around $3000 for his treatment, again before aftercare.
Seeing the extent of the injuries during surgery, another devastating reality came to light. It’s likely that Henry’s wounds were days old when he was found.
There was no microchip found on him and no reports of missing cats fitting his description. Henry’s loving disposition leads them to believe that he was once a happy, family cat. No one knows how long he’s been living as a stray. He is underweight though, meaning he’s not likely new to the streets. This was likely not his first time taking up residence in a car engine compartment.
The staff at the vet’s office are happy to report that he’s been sure to thank them with lots of purring–even in his condition!
They are closely monitoring him and now want to use his tragedy to spread an important message.
“Cats, although they love exploring, there’s so many enrichment things you can do in your home for them and there are even outdoor porch situations where they can still enjoy being outside but be safe. Clearly, the Wisconsin winter is not a time for a cat to be outside,” Dr. Alicia Sibley said.
It takes less than a minute to bang on your hood and arouse any sleeping kitties from your car engine. These few moments are worth saving a life right?! This doesn’t just pertain to people that have house cats, it’s for the strays, the ferals, the unloved. It’s up to us to look out for their fragile lives.
If you are interested in helping Henry, please go to our website www.saukhumane.org and select the Donate Now Button and follow the instructions. To donate specifically for Henry please write “Henry” in the Other category. OR you can always send a check to us at 618 Linn St., Baraboo, WI 53913. If we are lucky enough to receive more than enough funds (we can hope, right?) all money will go into Betsy’s Fund, which is earmarked for vet care for our neediest animals at the shelter. THANK YOU!!
At this time, the shelter is NOT taking applications for adopting Henry.
With the amount of unknown recovery time he’s facing, they can’t estimate when he’ll be ready to find a forever home–indoors! The risk of meningitis is still looming but thankfully, there have been no signs of it so far.
Be sure to follow Henry’s story on both organizations social media pages. They ALL need our support–emotionally, verbally and financially!
UPDATE MAY 2019 – Henry vs. the Car Engine
It’s been months in recovery, and Henry has proven to the world that he is a survivor. Nothing, not even a dangerous car engine, will keep this cat down!
This past week, Sauk County Humane Society shared a tear-jerker of a video of the boy. They were sure to remind everyone, he wouldn’t be here without their support.
Many of you are asking about Henry. We are so happy to report that he is nearly recovered and doing fantastic in his foster home! It has been a long three months for Henry and for all of us at the Sauk County Humane Society, holding our breaths in hopes he continued to progress. And we think we can all exhale now because it looks like Henry is really going to make it.
This could not have happened without all your support…his care was very expensive for us but we could not bear to turn our backs on this sweet cat. Because of YOU, we didn’t have to. So, to all of you who contributed and sent your good wishes, we say THANK YOU!!!
Below is a little video showing just how far sweet Henry has come. On behalf of the Sauk County Humane Society, and especially the animals we serve, we THANK the VCA Veterinary Emergency Service & Veterinary Specialty Center for their outstanding care and to all of YOU for donating to Henry’s care and for rooting for him during his long road to recovery! We could not have done it without you!
To see Henry’s success in action, grab some tissues, get ready for some warm feelings and hit play!
REMEMBER: ADOPT, DON’T SHOP, MICROCHIP YOUR PETS & SPAY AND NEUTER!