Saving a Kitten in the Middle of the Night

By Audrey Lodato, Executive Director at Pets Alive

Companion animals in trouble don’t have a lot of options. This is especially true for cats. There’s animal control, if you live in a town lucky enough to have animal control for cats. Sometimes a particularly compassionate police officer will step in to help a cat that’s injured. More often what happens is that rescue groups like Pets Alive rescue these animals. We find out about the animals because a Good Samaritan calls the sanctuary, or a friend of a friend knows one of our staff members and passes the message along. Or, in the case of Briar, someone tagged me into a Facebook post about a cat in need of rescue. This all began with someone posting this:

“OK friends… This poor little guy was in my driveway dragging his two back legs… Gave him some food and water and for now he is hiding under the shed… My heart is breaking…” – along with this photo.


This was posted at about 8:00 pm Monday night, April 14, and it went on for a few hundred comments until someone tagged me at about 10:15 pm. I was home with my husband watching TV when I heard my phone ping. I picked it up and saw the post.

I didn’t really think about whether or not I was going. Of COURSE I was going. Any one of the Pets Alive staff would have gone immediately. It’s what we do. We have different titles and job descriptions but there’s only one title that matters to us. It’s “Rescuer.” That’s what we are, and that’s what we do. I went to rescue the kitten.

The kitten was under a bush when I arrived, but quickly realized that I was interested in catching her. She and scrambled back under the shed, dragging her mangled back legs behind her. I didn’t have a choice but to set a Hav-a-heart trap and wait. Many hours later, I finally caught her and headed off to the Animal Emergency Clinic.


X-rays revealed that the kitten, who I named Briar, had a fractured vertebra, and that was causing partial paralysis. She was dragging her hind legs. She needed to be seen by a surgeon, but it was 3:00 am. I took her home, popped up a crate, gave her some food and water and the softest kitty bed I have, and tucked her in for the night.

The next day, Janet, our Veterinary Liaison, took the kitten to see our medical director, Dr. Joe. He confirmed that Briar indeed has a broken back. She can move her back legs a bit so she is not completely paralyzed. She can’t support her weight but she can move around and use her legs. She’s actually pretty fast! She doesn’t seem to be having any trouble using the litter pan. She’s eating and drinking and she’s not in any pain. She also has the advantage of being very young and adaptable. Briar is only four months old.

We’re not sure what caused Briar’s injuries, although they are consistent with the type that cats often get when they crawl under car hoods and onto car engines to get warm. When the car is started, the cat then gets tangled up in the moving parts. These injuries are often fatal.

11071943_1118536778161802_4399998944152781032_nBriar also has some superficial wounds on her back paws that we are treating and is underweight, but otherwise she is doing well, especially considering all that she has gone through. We’ve determined that there may be some surgical options for her that will help her mobility. We are looking into those but this comes with a cost. We will give Briar every chance to have a full and happy life.

At Pets Alive, the word “Rescuer” really matters to us. We save lives every day, but we could not do it without your support. Please consider giving a donation to help us pay for Briar’s extensive care. If you check the small box to the right of the dollar amount, you can make your donation reoccurring, which will help us save even more companion animals like Briar.

Filed in Animal Rescue by Audrey Lodato on Apr 17, 2015.  There are No Comments

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