Assisting free-roaming and unwanted animals, and providing you resources to help the animals in your families and communities

Special Needs Animals

Rest In Peace Sweet Willie, 8/26/10

March, 2010:

March 2, 2010 - Feeding time at one of our feral cat colonies. There lay a new cat, near the food, skin and bones! As soon as the caretaker arrived, he trotted toward the bowls, meowing with a hoarse voice. "Hurry and feed me, I'm starving!" Without thinking, she reached her hand out to pet him as he approached. He was unfazed. The caretaker knew at once he was not feral, though he had the classic large head and jowls, very narrow hips, and scratches and scars on his head and ears. It was also very obvious that this cat had never been neutered! But she knew by looking at him that he was not healthy, and could barely see out of his goopy, crusted eyes. To prevent the spread of disease to the resident cats at the colony, he was fed separately a few bushes away.

She returned the next day with a trap. Easiest trap ever! This cat wouldn't stay out of the trap long enough for her to bait it. He was trying to eat the sardines out of the can while in the trapper's hands. The eyes looked a little bit better, his coat looked pretty good, and he wasn't too badly beaten up. Is he ever a talker!!! Not too hoarse today, just his own funny voice. He's been named Willie (for Willie Nelson).

March 4, 2010 - Willie saw the vet. It's believed he's too healthy looking - with a good clean coat and voracious appetite - to be infected with FeLV or FIV. She thinks it's viral, perhaps calici. He was given an antibiotic for the infection in the eyes, which in combination with the change in diet (as in, he finally has one!), resulted in bad watery diarrhea. We stopped the antibiotic.

March 9, 2010 - We took him to our full-service vet for a thorough exam and tests. He was severely dehydrated, so was given subcutaneous fluids. He does not have FeLV (Leukemia), but unforunately, he's positive for FIV, known as "Kitty AIDS". He was given antibiotic eye ointment for the upper respiratory infection, and placed on a bland diet, Prescription I/D. A fecal sample was sent off to the lab. It was all negative! No intestinal parasites. The stools became firm in just a couple of days.

It took a little longer for the eyes to clear. We used a saline drop to moisten them, gently dabbed some of the thick discharge away, then applied the ointment. Willie was so good with all of this handling by his new-found acquaintances! A rescue partner agreed to try him as their "clinic cat", but it proved to be too much activity and commotion for Willie. He became stressed and stopped eating, so he came back to ALF.

Willie has been receiving medical care for the past month, and has proven himself to be as starved for human affection as he is for food. How could anyone have left such a loving cat to fend for himself? Did they know how he would end up? Did they care?

Thankfully for Willie, ALF cared! His health may be compromised, but his heart is still filled with promise and hope. After years of abandonment, Willie's finally getting what he's craved for so long - LOVE!

Willie is now in a loving foster home, and requires a lifetime of highly nutritious food, and supportive care for the immune system.
His first year costs will be approximately $950.

We don't know how many of his nine lives he's already used up.
Please help us see to it that the remainder will be filled with quality and dignity.

April 24, 2010 - Willie has been welcomed to Casa de los Gatos in Tucson, where he enjoys the company of several other cats with similar conditions. Upon his arrival, Willie immediately head-butted the alpha male, making fast friends with everyone in the room, and then began exploring. It didn't take him long to climb one of the specially-made cat trees. True to his nature, Willie is very affectionate with all of his human caretakers and visitors.

Casa de los Gatos is a no-kill cat shelter with a cage-free sanctuary for special-needs cats. As with most animal rescues and shelters, they have seen a sharp increase in the number of cats in need, while experiencing a decrease in funding. Visit them on the web at www.casadelosgatos.org, and stop in to say hello or volunteer for a day, the next time you're in Tucson.

August 26, 2010 - Willie has peacefully crossed over the bridge. The vet suspected he had cancer. He spent his last 6 months inside, safe, well-fed, given medical care, LOTs of love, and had many feline and human friends surrounding him. Willie was able to do all the things cats love to do, in the safety of a cat sanctuary. We're thankful to Casa de los Gatos in Tucson for providing this sanctuary and keeping him happy and comfortable to the end. Donations will be accepted in his memory. Rest well, dear sweet Willie.

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Got Milk?

Pirate, a feral cat found with a horrible eye injury, is completely recovered. You may recall we found him with a large, black eye that had begun to prolapse and rupture. The vet couldn't save it, so the eye was removed, and he later developed an infection on the incision. Finally, after a long period of recovery, Pirate was returned to his colony, neutered, of course! Since there are some dairy farms in the area, we think he may have been kicked by a cow.

Pictured at right is the real Pirate.

April 3, 2010 - Pirate was seen during TNR for other ferals in his colony. Everything looks exactly as it should. He's doing great!

If you'd like to sponsor all, or a part of, Pirate's medical bill,
your donation will be tax-deductible.

Read Pirate's story in the News Archives.

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Cassidy Hops Along

November, 2009:

November 30, 2009 - This gorgeous kitten was seen hopping along on 3 legs at a local shopping center. At first we couldn't tell if she even had all of her legs, it almost looked like something had been wound tightly around her back legs and tail. We tried to capture her for nearly two weeks before we were successful! It was really painful to watch her movement as she tried to run in a panic. We desperately wanted to get her off the concrete and gravel, and provide her a safe place to heal. Each night as we'd head home without her, we would hang our heads, shed a few tears, and say lots and lots of prayers.

December, 2009:

December 15, 2009 - Finally we caught her, and could see that her left rear leg stuck out in front of her, straight from the hip. She's also missing about half of her tail. She's a feral kitten, maybe six months old. We put her on pain medication and tried to calm her enough to be handled for an examination that could include pain response, but she was having none of that! We decided her name should be Cassidy.

January, 2010:

January 19, 2010 - A month has passed, and Cassidy still is not able to be handled, so the vet sedated her so that he could take X-rays, to help us decide how to proceed with her treatment options, which may include amputation. The x-rays show that the leg was broken long ago, while she was a small kitten. She was likely hit by a car, damaging her left leg and tail. The upper and lower leg bones are only connected by soft tissue at this point. The smaller bones stopped growing, resulting in a shorter, deformed leg. Since no wounds or abrasions exist, and the leg is non-weight bearing, the vet determined that amputation isn't necessary at this time! She is no longer painful. Though Cassidy is feral, she will never be released, and we'll be able to monitor her for any future changes.

January 30, 2010 - Cassidy is embracing her opportunity to play like a kitten! She loves her mousie and turbo ball chaser. She's moved to a large dog cage, so now she can see what's going on in her foster home. She appreciates having more room to roam and play.

February, 2010:

February 8, 2010 - Cassidy was spayed, and did extremely well with recovery. Her foster mom, and one visitor, have been able to touch her briefly, and witness her silly kitten antics, but she still hides when anyone else comes in her home.

March, 2010:

Cassidy Pretty Cassidy is still in foster, and will probably remain with ALF for life. Her leg is unusable, but she is in no pain, and has learned how to compensate. Occasionally she does scratch with that leg, which isn't connected by any bones at the knee joint. We don't quite know how she does it.

She doesn't seem to be growing much, but isn't unhealthy, and has a great appetite. She prefers Fancy Feast Appetizers, of course, Queen that she is! In addition, she also gets a high-quality, natural dry food, and seems to be flourishing. She's still living in a large wire dog crate, but really thinks of it as her own "bedroom". One day she escaped past her foster mom, and explored the house. She wasn't at all scared, just curious. Before long, Cassidy returned to her room on her own, where she really prefers to stay. She's had other opportunities to come out if she chose to, but at this time she really doesn't have any desire to roam. She's a playful, nosey kitten, but still a shy, feral kitten, and may remain so for the most part.

July, 2010:

Cassidy finally looks like she's begun to grow. She's been cage-free now for a few months. She really had the option for quite some time, but liked her own "bedroom" for a quiet nap or private dining room. She's very happy now "running" around the house with the other cats, and loves her dogs as well. Cassidy doesn't back down from anyone in the house, and can be a little pushy. She wants what she wants when she wants it! She even sticks pretty close to her foster mom, lying on the end table or arm of the easy chair next to her human, but has not yet allowed petting. She's still a shy kitty, but visible at all times, not a concealed feral.

February, 2011:

Cassidy has been accepted by Casa de los Gatos in Tucson.

Casa de los Gatos is a no-kill cat shelter with a cage-free sanctuary for special-needs cats. As with most animal rescues and shelters, they have seen a sharp increase in the number of cats in need, while experiencing a decrease in funding. Visit them on the web at www.casadelosgatos.org, and stop in to say hello or volunteer for a day, the next time you're in Tucson.

Please consider sponsoring Cassidy by making a monthly $25 donation for her care, or a one-time $300 sponsorship for an entire year. Visit this page for donation options. Remember to specify that your sponsorship is for Cassidy.

February, 2012:

Casa de los Gatos has disbanded and transferred Cassidy and the other animals to Pawsitively Cats in Tucson. They will continue to care for her and the other disabled and unadoptable animals, while continuing to rescue and adopt others. We're sure they would also appreciate visits and volunteers, as well as sponsorships for the special needs animals. Visit them at Pawsitively Cats.

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Why Does Willow Weep?

[Jump to Sponsor a Treatment]

December, 2008:

December, 2008 - Out the window, I saw a dark shadow at the back of the feral feeding shelter, and then out of nowhere appeared two beautiful, large yellow eyes, looking directly my way. Out wandered a new, all-black cat. Beautiful! Time to make another appointment for TNR! On December 29, this lovely kitty was trapped and spayed, then returned to her outdoor colony a few days later.

Over the next three months, "Willow", as we named her, began to stay out during the day in plain sight, and ultimately became quite a talker with the on-site staff. But she never got close enough for anyone to touch. Occasionally Willow would enter the warehouse, and was spending more and more time in the parking lot, under cars, even darting across their paths. We began trapping again in hopes of catching Willow and evaluating her for potential adoption.

March, 2009:

March 16, 2009 - Our worst fears were realized when we received a call from one of the staff that Willow was under a car crying loudly, and they were concerned. When I saw her dragging the entire back half of her body, I was horrified! Willow had been hit by a car!

At the vet's office, there was no response, not even in her eyes, when a hemostat clamp was applied to the tail. It fell lifelessly when lifted and released. No feeling or movement in the toes or pads of the left foot and leg. The vet looked at me and shook his head. These were not good signs. Willow felt a teeny, tiny bit on the other foot. She has a very painful, sensitive area in the mid-back, where she flinches and shudders with the slightest touch. Her bladder was quite large. We feared the worst, and I felt my heart drop into the pit of my stomach. X-rays revealed no fractures, and only the tiniest compression on one disc. But the size of the bladder gave us another one of those looks. The vet was definitely concerned. We decided to give Willow some time with some pain meds and bed-rest, to see if the damage was going to be permanent. She was going to need someone to manually empty her bladder several times a day, and we didn't even know her temperament!

By the end of the day, we had found a caretaker who could spend the time, and knew the technique for emptying a cat's bladder. She was willing to take on the care of this precious cat for the remainder of the week. We're happy to report that Willow has responded beautifully to TLC. She loves being inside where it's safe, and having a human pet her and talk to her. She purrs, and kneads, and has proven to be a wonderful, loving companion animal.

However, Willow was not eating or drinking. Her foster mom began to syringe-feed her. We were worried that she could have more issues contributing to her paralysis, or that she had lost her will. That sinking feeling was starting to return to the pit of my stomach. If she didn't eat soon, we were going to be facing much bigger issues, and the scale was beginning to tip away from quality of life.

Willow 1 week post-injury

March 20, 2009 - At last, Willow is eating and grooming herself!!! These are HUGE signs that she is starting to feel better and wants to recover! She especially likes to eat from her human's hand. She is even beginning to show some slight reaction to stimulus on the legs and feet. The vet has directed us to straighten and bend her legs, to keep the hip and knee joints moving. When we massage the pads on both feet, Willow curls her toes. Progress! Her caretaker is going out of town for a few days, so Willow will be spending the weekend with me.

March 22, 2009 - This evening while I was sitting on the floor in her room, Willow kept reaching for my hand. She was trying to tell me something. She eventually left her bed and crawled to me, and leaned up against my legs, putting her head in my lap. Awwww, she wanted some love. After months of caring for her as a feral, wanting so badly to get my hands on her and take her in, I feel truly blessed to be able to hold and pet her. I'm so sad it had to happen this way, but thankful she has a chance to recover.

March 23, 2009 - Willow really is beginning to get into exercise! While we work with her legs, straightening and bending, as the vet instructed, Willow pushes both back legs out all the way and gives them a really good stretch. "Oh yeh, that feels sooooo good!" She even stretches her toes wide apart! Then as she relaxes, she bends her knees into a more natural posture. When she pulls herself across the floor, she is beginning to tuck her legs under her body, instead of dragging them flat out to the side. She has even started to make the stepping motion with one of her legs as she does this.

March 24, 2009 - This morning Willow did not want me to touch her and give her any meds! She got so put off by me, that her tail whipped from side to side, then "thump, thump, thump!" Atta girl! That tail is coming back to life as well! She'll need it for balance, and expression, throughout her life. This evening she returned to Karen's care where she can get more attention throughout the day.

March 26, 2009 - It's becoming a little easier to empty Willow's bladder. She begins to urinate as soon as just a little bit of pressure is placed on her bladder. We take this as a good sign that she'll be able to function normally as soon as she can stand on her own. She opened the door under the bathroom sink and climbed inside. Her back legs have quite a bit of feeling now, so we're not sure how she did this, but we're glad she's got so much spunk!

March 31, 2009 - When held like a baby cradled in your arms, with her hips and legs massaged, Willow begins shaking her legs, and eventually stretches them out straight. She's not complaining of pain during this time, no flinching except for the painful area in her mid-back. She also begins to urinate on her own when picked up and supported in the right position.

She climbed inside the cabinet under the sink again yesterday, and is getting more feisty. Willow was used to being free in the great outdoors, and has now been confined to a guest bathroom, only being carried out of that room for a change in scenery while still being held. So we think she's experiencing a bit of cabin fever, and might enjoy a little larger space to scoot around in. Karen is going to let her explore a little in a larger room with nothing that could prove harmful to her. She'll be able to see the sunlight and feel some fresh air again! We'll let you know how that goes.

April, 2009:

April 2, 2009 - None of the other cats at Willow's colony had been seen since her accident. They know something's different, know one of their own is missing, probably even know she was hurt. I was so relieved to see the orange tabby last night, and today the Siamese youngster! This also gave me a sense of relief for Willow again, a renewed belief that all will be well for her - in time - with treatment. I'm such a worrier. You've heard of self-fulfilling prophecies? I have a tendency to give way too much power to my fears. I've been working hard to expect a good outcome for Willow, and have been challenged on that belief. Wayne Dyer says, "You'll see it when you believe it." I believe again today.

April 3, 2009 - I visited Willow at her foster home today, and she clearly is bonded to her foster mom! We brought her out to the living room and I held her and visited. She seemed to enjoy this time out of her little space, and purred while I stroked her, and massaged her legs. She did, indeed, enjoy the fresh air, and the view out the window, as Karen had indicated over the past couple of days. Willow's very interested in the other cats, too. Eventually we let her down on the carpeted floor. She immediately went to where the other cats were playing ambush and hide-n-seek with each other. Finally she leaned up against the sofa and got to work cleaning all my germs off her! She cleaned futher than she ever had, was able to sit up enough to reach behind the hips, under the tail. She even lifted her right leg about an inch off the floor, as though she was going to hike it up and give it a good cleaning! This is incredible! We're still very much believing Willow will walk again when the injury has recovered and is no longer painful. You go, girl!!!

Willow's medical bills have already exceeded $200, and she's going to need several weeks, perhaps months, to recover completely. She may need additional medical treatment or tests, as well as potential physical therapy. If she's unable to regain use of her legs, this sweet girl may need equipment to help her remain mobile, perhaps a custom wheelchair designed just for her. Please consider helping us to care for Willow's special needs by making a donation in her name.

May, 2009:

May 21, 2009 - Willow continues to grow stronger and more confident every day, and has settled into her foster home quite nicely. Her foster mom loves her, and Willow feels right at home there, sharing all family activities now, with several healthy cats, and another cat just like her! We're so thankful to have found such a special person to care for Willow, and love her and give her a happy quality of life while she recovers.

Willow treat time
Willow no longer has to stay confined to her own room, she has full run - er, scoot? - of the house, and she feels no need to hide anymore. Every evening, Willow lines up with the rest of the cats, and waits to be showered with treats from above. Willow loves Temptations cat treats, made by Whiskas. If you'd like to send her some, please mail them to the address below.

While we still believe she is healing and will walk again one day, we hope to raise funds so that we can have her evaluated by a neurology specialist, to see if any additional treatment would help with her recovery. Initial tests typically cost more than $1,000. Please help if you're able, by contributing any amount to the Willow Fund.

September, 2009:

September 10, 2009 - We learned that our estimates for neurology specialists were likely way too low. We've decided to begin Willow on a course of acupuncture treatments. Her first treatment was yesterday, and the vet tells us her injuries seem to be consistent with a crushed sacrum and caudal (tail) vertebrae. Before the treatment, Willow had good pain response in the right leg, and slightly less in the left, but absolutely no pain response at all in her tail. She can move it, but can't feel what should be a painful pinch. During treatment, she began twitching all over, was definitely feeling it. So hopefully the healing will reach all those nerves in there. Immediately after the treatment, Willow got right to work cleaning herself, and licking, especially that tail! That was VERY good! We're hopeful this will make a difference for her. The vet did say that it's possible we'll get her walking again, but not urinating on her own. It's too soon to tell.

Willow will need a series of treatments before we know if it will help. We currently have enough for one month, but we still need your help! We're asking for sponsorship, one session at a time ($135).

September 16, 2009 - Willow shows some improvement. It's minimal, but the vet was happy that she's still improving and feeling the effects a week post-treatment. She feels more in the left leg, and even some in the tail now. Her legs are definitely stronger, and Karen notes that Willow's acting more confident. She got both needles and infrared this time, with a lot of additional work on the mid-back area.

September 24, 2009 - The vet saw Willow today. We're seeing the first signs of healing. She definitely feels better, and is getting more feeling in her tail, but it's going to be very slow. Acupuncture is gradually decreasing her pain from the previous injury, and helping with the sore spot in the mid-back. Her tail is definitely more responsive. We don't yet know how much Willow will recover, or how long it will take, but it is slowly making a difference. Her treatment needs to continue, if at all possible.

December, 2009:

After a half dozen naturopathic treatments including acupuncture, Willow is experiencing some significant, though subtle, changes. Though we can't say for sure how much is neurologic healing, there are definitely some noticeable physical improvements. Best of all, Willow feels a LOT better!

She has become more social and outgoing, friendlier, MUCH happier. She's much more active, spending more time in parts of the house that she hadn't previously. This is an indication that her pain has been reduced greatly.

The painful area in the mid-back is no longer painful at all, yet still reactive to acupuncture. When placed in a standing position, Willow is a little stronger and can actually hold herself in position for longer periods of time. She's positioning herself differently now, attempting new postures, changing how she positions her legs quite a bit. While scooting around the house, she's making a lot more motions of the legs. This is not a conscious movement, she's not aware that she's doing it. But nerve activity and strength are coming back. Willow's feeling nerve points farther down her back than she has before.

She's beginning to urinate some on her own, and she kicks her legs during that process. So it's possible she's feeling the urge. Hopefully she'll be able to relieve herself completely at some point in the future. Currently she's not able to empty the bladder herself, so she still requires assistance. If the bladder is not emptied completely each time, she'll develop bacterial infections.

The down side to this is that she's a little more difficult for her caretaker to express. We're hopeful she'll continue to recover this function, and one day not require assistance. It will probably take a long time, but we've known some whose recovery from similar conditions took a year and a half or longer.

Recovery is possible, and it seems that Willow is on the right track and responding to acupuncture. It's definitely baby steps, but enough to be cautiously optimistic and to determine that it's still making a difference, and should still be continued. If we come to the point that it's not making a difference, we won't continue. Until then, we need to keep providing this treatment to improve Willow's quality of life.

January, 2010:

January 5, 2010 - Willow has been receiving naturopathic treatments including acupuncture for about 4 months, and she's experiencing some significant changes.

She's recently begun licking the area in the upper-mid back that was previously so sensitive, so much so that she's beginning to pull the fur out. This is probably from nerve regrowth; she's feeling "pins and needles". Though it seems weird, the vet assures us this is a good sign.

Part of Willow's exam includes checking for feeling in her lower extremities. In the past, she hasn't had any reaction to the insides of her back legs. She does now! There is still no reaction on the outside. This suggests there are some nerve segments starting to come back, others not yet.

When propped up in a standing position, Willow can stay. But if they try to move her forward, she makes no voluntary movement from the back legs yet, no attempt to take steps. She doesn't yet know the legs are there.

She's sitting more upright, and this is another sign of progress.

Willow has two areas of injury, one in the upper-mid back, and one over the pelvis. She's getting healing on the upper-mid back, not much yet on the pelvic area which controls bodily functions and the ability to walk. Currently she's not able to empty the bladder herself, so she still requires assistance. If the bladder is not emptied completely each time, she'll develop bacterial infections.

Jan 30, 2010 - Willow continues to recover, very slowly. She now has reaction on the outside of her back legs! YAY! The nerves are continuing to heal with acupuncture. Her bladder is beginning to change, and she can feel it now when she's going to have a bowel movement. Her vet has added a homeopathic to help further her progress.

Recovery is still a possibility, and it seems that Willow is on the right track and responding to acupuncture.

March, 2010:

Willow is Getting Stronger!

It's been one year (March 16) since we found Willow dragging the lower half of her body on the asphalt, crying loudly for help. She has been receiving naturopathic treatments including acupuncture for the past 6 months.

During her February appointment, it was noted that she's definitely showing some improvement, and beginning to have some voluntary motion in her back legs. She isn't yet trying to stand, but during her acupuncture, she tries to move her legs away from the probe. There is no movement, but the vet can feel her muscles contracting.

By March, her back legs have become even stronger. Willow is now making voluntary motion with her legs while she pulls herself along the floor. She has more tone (degree of sensation and tension in muscles at rest) to her legs and abdomen. Urination is quicker during manual expression, and she's having no leaking in between. Willow is still nowhere near walking, but she is doing better! She's licking less at her back, and the fur is starting to regrow.

April, 2010:

Willow continues to make progress and gain strength. Somehow, she managed to pull herself up to the top of the cat tree! She's definitely feeling more like a normal cat again. That area in her mid-back is no longer sensitive, and she's now going up to a variety of people and asking to be petted, whereas she used to give warnings prior to any form of contact. She continues to move her back legs more and more, though it seems she may be unaware that she's doing it. It's like her nerves are talking to other nerves, and they're beginning to talk to the muscles, but her conscious mind is not yet involved in those messages. When the tops of her feet are touching the floor, she corrects them into a more natural position. During her last acupuncture treatment, she tucked her back legs under, rather than leaving them extended straight out. It's slow, but it's still progress, and we're thankful for every bit of it!

She is continuing to heal with acupuncture and homeopathic treatment.

Willow's medical care is quite costly, and while we've raised quite a bit, her fund is nearly empty. Her medical care has already exceeded $1500, and is nowhere close to complete. We're still actively seeking donations to keep providing this treatment and continue to improve Willow's quality of life. Are you able to help?

Please help us to continue helping Willow by making a tax-deductible donation to her fund.

Donations can be sent to the address below, or online through Paypal.
Willow is very grateful, as we are.


ALF Animal Loving Friends
7650 S McClintock Dr
Suite 103-120
Tempe, AZ 85284

Animal Loving Friends is an IRS-approved 501(c)(3) charity.
The full amount of your donation is tax-deductible, as allowed by law.

Willow has an angel who donated a portion of her eBay profits to Willow's Recovery Fund. This wonderful woman saved a pitbull after it had been hit by a car on the freeway during rush hour, and left for dead. The badly injured dog struggled to get up, but eventually made it off the road. Because his owners never came forward to claim him, he was supposed to be put to death, but this angel just couldn't let that happen! She was able to raise funds to treat the severely injured dog, and then turned her attention to our Willow. Please visit her eBay page to make a purchase. While you're there, remember to thank her for her caring and generous heart! And don't forget to pay it forward, and send this link to your friends!

"Together we all can make a huge difference!"

March, 2011:

We're happy to report that her caretaker and Foster Mom has decided to formally adopt Willow! Congratulations Willow and Karen!

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The Chronicles of Curious George

September, 2007:

September 9, 2007 - Little George was part of a litter of kittens born to a feral mom. When someone was trying to capture them, George tried to get away. The person got him by the tail and held tight, but George was injured in the process. His spine was completely separated, and he was more than 90% paralyzed! Within 3 days, he was able to walk again, although very wobbly. He began a long, slow process of recovery, but eventually lost most of his tail. We did not know if he would ever regain any feeling or control of his legs and bodily functions, but he did. George can now walk and run like any other kitten, but he still has fecal incontinence (meaning he can't control his poop all of the time). His reproductive organs were also traumatized, so he is unable to be neutered at this time.

Curious George, 2 days post-injury:

George 2 days post-injury George xray of spine

How quickly they forgive! Six days after the injury, and he's playing.

Trying to pounce on the ball! By Sept 24, George has amazing balance, standing to reach the edge of the bed, and meeting a new cat, meerkat-style.

George 6 days post-injury George 2 weeks post-injury George 2 weeks post-injury

October, 2007:

In one month, George developed CAT-titude! Oct 8:

George 2 months old, Eye Of The Tiger George 2 months old, The Walk

George 2 months old, Innocence George 2 months old, Cuddling

Six weeks post-injury, Oct 21:

George 2 months old

November, 2007:

George's siblings are ready for adoption. On his first play date, George had us all in stitches! He hated his sibs! Hissed and growled when they accidentally invaded his personal space during their olympics practice. His five littermates were completely oblivious to him, but George kept an eagle eye on all of them! On his second play date, he was much more curious, owning up to his name. November 14:

Frankie and Georgie, 3 months old Squeaky Pumpkin and Frankie

December, 2007:

George's first Christmas

Giftwrapped George, 4.5 months old Catnip Candy Cane, George 4.5 months old

February, 2008:

Curious George has passed a new milestone!

Curious George has made a lot of progress since he was injured five months ago. When his spine was separated, he was in excruciating pain and almost completely paralyzed. His prognosis was grave. George began a long, slow process of recovery. But with a lot of medical care, even more patience and love, and his own stubborn cattitude, he has survived!

He has had difficulty controlling his bowels, and in the beginning George suffered constipation. This put him at risk of developing megacolon, a life-threatening condition - as if he wasn't in enough danger already! As he recovered, we discovered a pattern. On cleaning day, George would experience diarrhea. 10 steps forward, and 4 steps back!

He has recently made it through cleaning day without incident! 17 steps forward, and counting! Keep your paws crossed.

George 6 months old

March, 2008:

Curious George Update

George has had little change this month. He suffered a slight decline when he became constipated for several days, and had to go back on medicine for a short while. But he bounced right back!

His shape still resembles a camel, somewhat, and he walks like he has attitude. He really does have attitude. However, we believe the way he walks is due to a lack of coordination, an interruption of messages from the brain through the nerves that were damaged, which facilitate graceful movement of the legs. George can run and jump and climb again like any other cat, though! He reminds us of the kitten who looks into the mirror and sees a lion peering back.

George 7 months old George 7 months old George 7 months old

April, 2008:

Curious George has reached new heights!

Remember that "can-do" attitude we told you about last month? You won't believe what George set his mind to this time!

George the daredevil

Do you see him up there? This is a safe outdoor cat enclosure which George would live in if he didn't have to come inside to eat. He likes to play with those pods on the vine. He decided fresher is better, and went for the ones at the top! But close enough wasn't good enough for our King of the Jungle! No! George wanted the pods that were just out of reach. He stretched as far as he could. But then he couldn't figure out how to get back down. So Buttercup climbed up to help him. She couldn't carry him down, so she just showed him the proper way to descend a fence.

Buttercup to the rescue Cat Enclosure

In the end, his foster mom had to get a ladder and rescue the poor little guy all over again! Hard to believe this little guy has a separation of the spine and was once more than 90% paralyzed! He certainly doesn't believe it!

May, 2008:

In like a Lion, Out like a Lamb?

Curious George must have heard it was kitten season, and didn't want to share his personal version of the "Incontinental Suite". He has been steadily making progress, with his little system remaining gentle as a lamb, for about two months. But when there was talk of needing to foster some kittens in his room, his system roared back at us like a lion! His intestinal tract is all out of balance again, and we've had to adjust his food and supplement routine once again, and much as he hates it, confine him to his "suite". His surgery will have to wait a little longer. We need disinfectant wipes and baby wipes.

June/July, 2008:

Curious George's Surgery a Success!

George finally had surgery, and although the vet noted some abnormalities, he came through with flying colors! A hypericum treatment was given a few weeks before the procedure, and George has had no setbacks!

George June 08 Inspects Ceiling Fan George June 08 Reaches for Ceiling Fan

August/September, 2008:

Survivor: Eye Of The Tiger

We are pleased to announce that our Curious George has been nominated for a 2008 Hero Award from the Friends of Animal Care & Control. Each year this organization honors local animals for their impact on Maricopa County residents. George was nominated for the Animal Survivor category, which recognizes animals who have overcome devastating circumstances to survive against all odds and thrive. We certainly agree that George deserves this honor!

Please visit the FACC web site to learn more about this event, and be sure to bookmark this page and check for an update after November 8, 2008, to see if George won!

George 2 months old, Eye Of The Tiger George xray of spine George resting on desk, 8 months old

November 9, 2008:

FACCs Hero Award Recipients Announced

ALF and Curious George would like to congratulate Bela, Indy, Kiki, Sadie, Toffee, Torsten, and Carol Ann Braun - this year's Heroes honored by Friends of Animal Care & Control. Curious George was not selected this year, but he doesn't mind. He's just happy to be alive and well! There are so many deserving heroes, and George didn't quite know how to don a Tux without a Tail, anyway.

He does have some exciting news of his own to share, though. Curious George has been "adopted" (as a permanent ALF cat)! He will live out his life with his caretaker and guardian, and will be a permanent ambassador for ALF. We know he'll need special medical care over the years, and wanted to be sure he'll get the care he needs and deserves. We promise to keep you up to date with his progress and news.

Spring, 2009:

Curious George Thrives

We promised to keep you updated on George's progress, and happily, there really is nothing newsworthy to share. George is pretty much a normal, happy, healthy cat. He's still very confident, knows no bounds or limits. His incontinence is behind him (no pun intended), and he really would rather not even talk about his ordeal! He is quite stout and thick - not fat - he just feels, well..., solid. Most days you'll find George hanging out with his best friend, Boca, enjoying his outdoor enclosure. But at the end of the day, he still likes to climb on Mom's shoulder and try to sneak in some sucking on the earlobe!

May, 2009:

Early Warning Signs of a Potential Problem

We've been noticing that Curious George seems to be like a kid who is having too much fun playing outside, to come in when he feels the urge to go to the bathroom. George seems to be holding his stools til the last possible moment, then flying through the house to land in the litter pan, just in the nick of time. The others had just better hope they're not in his path! George's stools are like those of a medium-to-large dog! Long and wide. We didn't realize this was cause for concern until mentioning it casually in the presence of his vet. She alerted us that these are early signs of potential mega-colon! YIKES! She told us this is how it often starts in the Manx breed, and Manx-like cats. George received another hypericum treatment, and is being closely observed. You may recall that he was given this treatment right before his surgery, and he had no setbacks! Please keep positive thoughts for our George.

Spring, 2010:

George, the Towel Thief!

Every evening before bed, one of the kitchen towels makes its way to the living room rug. The dogs have always gotten the blame, until now. For several nights in a row, I've found George curled up on one of the towels, ready to go night-night.

It's become his ritual.

Curious George is doing very well, as long as he gets his hypericum every few months. He's still unable to feel the tail end of his colon, but only has a messy accident once in awhile. It's not his fault, and he really can't help it.

March, 2012:

Curious George Goes to the Hospital

George has steadily developed constipation issues as a result of his spinal injury. He suffers from megacolon and recently George needed help fast! He was crying in pain, and guarding, not wanting to be touched. He was in real trouble, and could not wait until morning for help. We had to rush him to the Emergency Hospital where he spent the night and had an emergency procedure.

That hospital stay cost $1133, plus follow-up care from his regular doctor. Unfortunately, our little monkey will probably get progressively worse, requiring urgent and costly care again and again. He will always be under a doctor's care. Please consider helping to sponsor George's special medical needs.

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Holly's Christmas Miracle

December, 2007:

Dec 20, 2007 - While feeding ferals one cold, dark night, persistent, frantic meowing could be heard. "Help!", she was calling. Feral cats rarely make a peep, and the regulars at that station were right there in view waiting for me to finish and leave. As I'd turn toward the building, the meows became low warning growls, then meows again, a little more frantic. Finally with a flashlight, I found her - all the way in the back, wedged between these two old, well-established brick buildings. These buildings are about 40 feet high, and 40 feet deep, with another building perpendicular to them at the back.

Street View Only 3.5 inch opening!

The space between the buildings is only 3.5 inches wide at the front, and it narrows toward the back. The cat was in this very small space, with no way to get out but through the front. There is a piece of rebar at the front sticking up about a foot and a half. We figure the cat was chased in there, and with adrenaline pumping, somehow made it past, or over, that piece of rebar. But we also figured she couldn't get past it now that she was more calm. We bent the rebar downward but she still didn't come out. We thought she was surely stuck! We saw a pigeon carcass in the space between the walls. It looked pretty hopeless for this poor scared cat, who we feared was injured, or with kittens.

Rebar at the opening Looking straight up

So we called the Arizona Humane Society. They came out late one night, but there was nothing they could do to reach her. We saw that she wasn't really stuck after all, as she was facing the other direction. But she couldn't turn around without standing up against the wall. She just stayed all the way in the back.

On the third night we were able to lure her closer to the front with food but she was too frightened to come all the way out. Early the next afternoon she finally came to the front to eat, and even allowed petting, but as soon as the pigeons came in and ruffled their feathers, and made noise and kicked a bunch of debris on top of us, she escaped and was right back between those buildings all the way in the back again. We went back at dusk when the pigeons were gone, and finally, after four days and nights of coaxing, this poor kitty could no longer resist the tuna in oil. She gingerly made her way to the front. This time we didn't risk losing her again, and the moment she stepped out, she was scruffed and placed into a carrier.


We decided to call this pretty girl "Holly", in honor of the Season. She spent the holidays with lots of blankets and bedding, a full tummy, peace and quiet so that she could get some much needed rest. Once she was comfortable and warm, she expressed her appreciation with a LOT of affection, purring, kneading, and head butts. She talked a lot, telling us all about how she got in that predicament, and how relieved she was to be rescued! She chirped and made that half purr/half mew sound - a LOT! She rolled over for tummy rubs.

Holly - safe at last!

Dec 28, 2007 - We noticed that Holly had a hurt paw, perhaps an old injury. She used it some, but not always, and it was kind of bent under. A trip to the vet revealed several old injuries. She was covered in fleas, and as a result, had tapeworm too! She had babies in the not too distant past, but was definitely not nursing any recently, so no worries that kittens were left behind.

Her right front foot had been broken at the elbow some time in the past, and has healed in the broken position. Her elbow had become deformed as a result. Her back left pinkie toe was broken, so that nail has to be kept trimmed. Her upper left canine tooth is broken about halfway up, and the upper right canine tooth is broken off at the gumline. At this point, Holly doesn't seem to have any pain, nor is she showing any signs of infection, so the recommendation is to leave the injuries alone. Her body and brain have compensated and she doesn't seem to have any discomfort. She moves around just fine. In fact when she scampers or runs away, she uses her leg and foot normally, otherwise she walks on her wrist. Even though she doesn't show pain, she does have sensation in that foot. She curls her toes and kneads with that foot just fine!

Poor baby has suffered some type of trauma out there, and had likely been lost and surviving on the streets for some time. The vet suggested perhaps hit by a car, maybe caught in something and chewed her way out. We'll never know. But we promised her it will never happen to her again!

Miss Holly needed a very special home, and not long after her rescue, she got her wish!

On December 30, 2007, HOLLY WAS ADOPTED!

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ALF Animal Loving Friends
7650 S McClintock Dr
Suite 103-120
Tempe, AZ 85284

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Email: alfrescue@hotmail.com