From Battered to Brilliant

Friends For Life

This story has been updated 3/02/17.

"One rainy day in March, I saw what appeared to be a gray bag in the road. When I drove by, I realized it wasn't a bag at all. It was a crouched gray cat. He was panting and in shock, and there was blood on the pavement."

That day, Nina stopped her car and took the badly injured cat to a vet. 

Turns out, Monty was well-fed and had already been neutered, but did not have a collar or microchip. The vet stabilized him, wired his jaw and put in a feeding tube. 

Monty’s face looked like the end of a Rocky movie. He was swollen, the bridge of his nose nearly even with his cheeks. But when we would pet him, he purred. It was a gurgly, rattling struggle of a purr but it was a purr. Even when his face and jaw had to be throbbing with pain, he’d lift his head to look toward us and lean his face into our hands.

In the months to follow, Monty found a foster home with Carolyn and Kay, while neighbors came together to care for the recovering cat. 

Have you ever tube fed an animal? Let us tell you – it is not for sissies. It takes a particular kind of commitment to stay with intensive care like this. Life obligations go on. Things come up. You get tired. But this care must remain a constant. And Monty's team stayed on task. In May, vet removed the wire from Monty's jaw. Everybody cheered when he started eating on his own. 

One thing the medical team couldn't repair: the accident left Monty blind. He would have to learn to rely on his touch and hearing to move around. He would have to memorize the environment to move around confidently. And so he did. His caretakers watched as, over time, he begun moving around — able to find path between his sleeping and feeding areas. "Last night and this morning he walked from sleeping area to the towel on the floor in the adjacent feeding room. This morning he even found the food dish on his own! It's progress."

July 20th: Monty arrives at Friends For Life

Another big change. With medical wounds healed, Monty arrived at our shelter — ready to find his forever home. 

Despite the change of surroundings, his hearty appetite has not diminished one bit. Nina sent the below photo to her neighbors: "At the moment, he is in the area for cats who have special dietary needs and/or those who need a little time to get settled in. As you can see, he has a spacious two-story condo. His next door neighbor, Little Princess, is quite vocal and I think he is glad for the company. Amazingly, he seemed quite at ease with the many changes and ate all of his lunch and had some solid preening afterwards."

This has been a long road.

Not only was Monty saved in the process but the chain of events set in motion by Nina's act of kindness that day and by all the subsequent acts, has enriched all our lives. This rescue connected a group of people who have become treasured friends through the experience. Monty has joined the legion of FFL alums who have shattered that glass ceiling of "adoptable" and helped us all to think more broadly of what we can do together. Thank you to all of you who donated to FFL for Team Monty, shared his story and are moving through this story right along with us.

There is nothing quite so sweet as betting on the long shot and winning, right?

Update: Monty Goes to School

Just when you think this story cannot possibly get does. 

Our stellar behavior team began work with Monty and learned in short order that he is exceptionally smart. The team worked with him to learn "touch." Normally, this is done by giving the cat/dog a food treat every time they touch a nose or a paw to the trainer on command. Touch is the basis for all other training. It creates focus on the trainer in the animal and can be a challenge for some animals--even animals who can see the trainer. Monty quickly caught on and located the trainer's hand every time by listening to a finger snap. What did he love best as his reward? Loving pets!

The person who gets to adopt this absolutely remarkable walking miracle will be lucky indeed.

If you think that might be you, start here: