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Rescue shelter urges residents to keep animals indoors

By: Allison Chorney

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jan 16, 2014 12:38 pm

Churchill the tabby cat is recovering well from frostbite, dehydration and skin lacerations. The cat received the injuries when he was found frozen to the ground in Airdrie and ripped flesh and fur when he panicked because of a group of approaching rescuers. This photo of Churchill on Jan. 11, shows he is recovering despite his injuries, which have resulted in the loss of half of one ear, and the other ear likely to fall off as well.
Churchill the tabby cat is recovering well from frostbite, dehydration and skin lacerations. The cat received the injuries when he was found frozen to the ground in Airdrie and ripped flesh and fur when he panicked because of a group of approaching rescuers. This photo of Churchill on Jan. 11, shows he is recovering despite his injuries, which have resulted in the loss of half of one ear, and the other ear likely to fall off as well.
SUBMITTED/For Rocky View Publishing

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On Dec. 19, 2013, an Airdrie family brought Churchill the cat to Tails to Tell Animal Rescue Shelter in Crossfield after he was found frozen to the ground near their home.

Churchill arrived at the shelter with severe frostbite on his ears, tail and paws. He was dehydrated and suffering from skin lacerations on his paws from where he ripped his skin and fur as he attempted to get free from being frozen to pavement.

The cat, who shelter staff believe is at least three-years-old, startled when would-be rescuers approached him and injured himself as he freed himself from the ice to run under a nearby deck.

“It was stripped right down to the bare flesh,” said Melodie Merrick, a Tails to Tell volunteer, adding the cat was hungry and looked like he had a hard life when he arrived at the shelter.

Upon arrival, Churchill was taken to the veterinarian where he was given fluids along with antibiotics and painkillers for the skin lacerations and frostbite.

“He could hardly breathe because his nose was so congested and frostbitten,” Merrick said.

Since he came to the safety and warmth of the shelter, Churchill has begun to recover from his ordeal but he has already lost part of one ear and will likely lose at least some of the other and part of his tail due to the frostbite.

“He’s up and moving around the store now,” Merrick said. “He may have to have surgery on his tail. The vet would prefer not to put him under (anesthetic) right now because of his condition.”

She said Churchill likes a good head scratch and is getting along well at the shelter.

“He’s grumbly but doesn’t shy away from humans,” Merrick said. “He definitely was someone’s pet or from a farm.”

The shelter saw a second case of frostbite on Jan. 5, when a female cat was brought to the organization from Airdrie after being rescued from a tree in the bitter cold.

The cat was found with severe frostbite on her ears but was lucky enough to be reunited with her family the following day after they saw a photograph of her on the shelter’s Facebook page.

“If she doesn’t lose the tips of her ears, they’ll likely be bent over permanently,” Merrick said of the female cat’s injuries.

In both cases the animals’ injuries could have been prevented if they were not allowed out in the cold, Merrick said.

“Keep your animals inside,” she said, adding the shelter requires adopting families to sign a contract agreeing to make the animals indoor pets only. “Think of it this way, if they truly are a member of your family, would you want them to stay outside all night and day in this weather.”

Merrick said if you see an animal at large, “Call us and if possible try to get them in your car or a carrier and bring them to us or a local vet,” adding if the animals aren’t rescued they could end up severely injured or dead.

She said in both frostbite cases the cats did not have an identification tag, tattoo or microchip that would have allowed them to be easily reunited with their families. She added, the female cat was very lucky to get back to her family so soon.

“Microchipping only takes a second,” Merrick said, adding it’s the preferred method of identification tracking because tattoos have a tendency to fade.

As for Churchill, he will stay at Tails to Tell Animal Rescue Shelter where his injuries will be monitored and treated. Once he has fully recovered, he will be put up for adoption.

In 2013, the shelter took in 226 animals and adopted out 200.

For more information on the shelter or to follow Churchill’s progress, visit www.facebook.com/tailstotell


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