Usually when Barb Zibrik goes to feed any of the feral cat colonies in Kamloops, the felines and any of their offspring disappear into a myriad of hiding places.
But last fall, the head of the Kamloops and District Humane Society was surprised when one black kitten stayed put on a chair as she neared the food and water dishes at one feeding spot she has set up on a property with the homeowner’s permission.
When she got close enough, she could see why the 12-week-old kitten wasn't taking off into the dark of the fall night like the others.
KITTEN COULDN'T RUN AWAY
His back right leg was caught in a V-shaped cutout on a white resin lawn chair he was perched on. It wasn't that he didn't want to run away. He couldn't.
“I walked right by. Normally they scatter. I was three or four feet from the chair and he still didn't scatter. I put down the food and he still didn't go,” she said.
She got a flashlight and saw the problem.
“There are cut outs in the chairs that are V-shaped. His leg was already badly mangled, there was blood on the chair. The homeowner came out. He said he'd gone by a few hours earlier and the kittens were out playing on the chair. It was just stupid bad luck for this kitten that he got his leg caught.”
Even a cat with a trapped leg is a challenge to capture, and it took Zibrik and the help of the man who owns the property to get the kitten’s leg released and put the wild animal into a carrier.
“I carry protective gloves. He (the kitten) was in pain,” Zibrik told The Animal Reporter.
She took the injured kitten straight to the after-hours veterinarian.
“I took him to the vet on call that night. The staff said he's feral and hurt, put him to sleep. I looked into his little eyes, I couldn't do it. He was young enough I thought I could turn him around.”
The bill for that night, splinting and call out and anesthesia was $600. Amputating the leg, which couldn’t be saved, was another $1,000.”
NOT 'TRIPOD' THIS TIME
Tripod seemed too obvious a name. Zibrik chose Tippy for the little black kitten she then took home.
“The day after the surgery, I took him home. I have big dog kennels set up on tables, with food and water. He cowered in the back for three or four days. The surgery had gone well, he recovered amazingly well,” she said.
“I began handling him. He came around. I even got him purring. After about a week, I started letting him out in the room with other cats. Within a week, he was at the top of a six-foot scratching post. Like a lot of three legged cats, he gets along amazingly well.”
Tippy was also neutered and vaccinated while at the vet. Zibrik has helped him get accustomed to people, although she expected he’ll always be on the shy side.
“He would make a great companion cat with someone with a quieter home. He's pure black, long and lean. There's a lot of Siamese lineage in that cat colony.”
Tippy is now living with three legs and waiting to be adopted into a permanent home.