|Dennis Warner with Lucky, the cat he rescued June 28 in Toronto and took to a vetrinarian. Jennifer Abe, an assistant at Lakeshore Animal Hospital on right. (Ian Robertson, Toronto Sun)
TORONTO - Good Samaritan and cat-lover Dennis Warner calls him “Lucky.”
Etobicoke veterinarian Yvonne Worthy calls him “stumpy.”
But regardless of the name given to the friendly feline left badly bleeding and with two broken legs after being hit by a car — he’s one lucky cat.
“I heard him crying about two blocks away,” Warner, 61, who has three cats and lives on Lakeshore Blvd. W., said, six days after coming to the helpless animal’s rescue.
“At first I thought it was a female in heat,” he said.
Then Warner spotted the mangled puss, who managed to drag himself from under a parked car onto the street, “despite two broken legs.
“He was bleeding pretty heavily,” and tried to run, but within seconds of being picked up, “he began purring.”
With the fly-infested grey-and-white cat wrapped in a towel provided by kindly pet store and offering comforting words, Warner rushed to the Long Branch Animal Clinic near 30th St.
Dr. Worthy feared the worst and recommended euthanizing the badly-hurt cat, he said Wednesday. “Then he started licking her hand.”
Six days later, minus the left rear leg Dr. Kate Zimmerman amputated Friday, Lucky is making progress — with heavy bandages on his front paws, plus an intravenous drip that provides antibiotics.
He must be sedated for daily rebandaging, but eats well and manages on one hind leg to use the litter box in his cage, “which is a good sign,” clinic assistant Jennifer Abe said.
“There were maggots, so he was probably there overnight,” she said, adding “he’s made tremendous progress.
“He so good,” Abe said, after fetching Lucky for a tabletop checkup and snuggle.
But while Worthy, with 20 years experience caring for animals, says the injured survivor stands a good chance, he needs a skin graft on his badly-damaged left front paw.
“I’ve never done a skin graft,” she said.
But that won’t stop the dedicated vet, who is in regular contact with an Oakville veterinary surgeon.
Uncertain still about saving Lucky’s front leg, “we’re watching carefully,” Worthy said. “I don’t know yet if I’ll do the graft, or if I’ll bring in a specialist.”
Lucky also needs one to two weeks for bones and tendons in the front paws to mend.
“It’s amazing, but cats can do very well on three legs,” Worthy said.
“You can’t help but have some kind of compassion,” she said. “You want a happy ending.
“He’s a very people cat,” Worthy added. “He hasn’t given us any trouble.”
Lucky’s friendliness, the fact he was neutered and wore a flea collar suggests he belongs to someone. But despite posting notices and calling the humane society to learn if an owner reported a missing cat, “we haven’t had any inquiries,” Worthy said.
If no owner surfaces, Warner said “I’ve talked to my other cats” about taking him home eventually.
For now, caring for such a badly-injured animal is Worthy’s first concern.
But it’s also very costly.
Estimating treatment has already run to more than $2,000 — and could reach $5,000 — “we haven’t tallied the bill,” she said. “At this point, it’s me.”
Warner, who called the staff “absolutely fabulous,” suggested establishing a trust fund to raise money, but Worthy said “I’d feel uncomfortable with that.”
As for her star patient, he just watched quietly, trustingly.
Lucky obviously got lucky with love.