Deuce Is Divested of Both His Rear Legs and Part of His Tail but Somehow Manages to Survive on His Own for More Than a Month
"He's a total miracle. To think a cat could survive an injury to that degree and then be able to live out in the environment without any kind of food or protection or any kind of health care for four to six weeks."
-- Veterinarian Beth Ruby
On the evening of August 15th a group of children at a trailer park located in the 13500 block of Southeast Twenty-Ninth Street in Choctaw, Oklahoma, stumbled upon a malnourished black and white cat with both of his rear legs and part of his tail missing. They contacted the Central Oklahoma Humane Society (COHS) which in turn took to the cat to Quail Creek Veterinary Clinic in nearby Oklahoma City where he was given the name of Deuce. (See photo of him above.)
Thanks to the prompt treatment that he received, he was balancing on his front legs and walking around less than forty-eight-hours later. (See photos below.)
"He seemed to have figured it out," attending veterinarian Beth Ruby told KOTV of Tulsa on August 17th. (See "Injured Oklahoma Cat Adopts to Life on Two Paws.") "He's compensating much better than we ever thought he would."
He also appears to have a hearty appetite according to a video entitled "Cat Survives Attack," which was posted August 19th on the web site of KOCO-TV of Oklahoma City. (See "Cat Found in Choctaw with Back Legs Cut Off.")
Ruby and her colleagues therefore have reason to believe that he is going to make it although his road to recovery and rehabilitation is going to be a long, hard one. The immediate game plan calls for him to eventually be placed in foster care and later into a permanent home.
"He's kind of a motivator out here," Ruby added in the interview with KOTV. "We figured if he can do it, anybody can."
If he has not suffered any internal injuries or picked up any deadly parasites, he should be fine in time. Not only are three-legged cats a common sight, but there is a two-legged one in Monmouth, Illinois, named Trace who, at last check, is doing well.
There is even a cat named Callie Mae in Theodore, Alabama, who does not have any legs at all. (See Cat Defender post of November 17, 2010 entitled "Penniless and Suffering from Two Broken Legs, It Looked Like It Was Curtains for Trace Until Geoffrey Weech Rode to Her Rescue on His White Horse.")
Looking ahead, prostheses, revolutionary bionic implants, and an attachable wheelchair are possible remedies that would allow him to regain his mobility. Money will be an obstacle but hopefully enough donations will be received from the public in order to, as far as it is possible, make this courageous and long-suffering cat whole once again.
Although it is truly amazing that he was able to survive such a brutal attack, Ruby made an even more astonishing discovery after examining his wounds. Specifically, it now appears that he lost his legs four to six weeks before his plight was noticed by the children.
The pain that he suffered must have been unimaginable and it is truly a miracle that he did not die from the trauma. He also easily either could have bled to death or succumbed to an infection.
In such a debilitated state, he additionally was an easy mark for both animal and human predators. Finally, there was the persistent dilemma of procuring food, water, and shelter from the blistering Oklahoma sun.
"He's a total miracle," Ruby marveled to KOTV in the article cited supra. "To think a cat could survive an injury to that degree and then be able to live out in the environment without any kind of food or protection or any kind of health care for four to six weeks."
Somehow cats like Deuce find a way to survive once hope has evaporated and all apparent avenues of salvation have been sealed off to them. For example, in August of 2005 an orange cat named Hopalong Cassidy from Ellison in British Columbia was forced to drag around a leghold snare for two to three days after he got a paw trapped in it. (See Cat Defender post of August 18, 2005 entitled "Brave Orange Tabby Cat Dubbed Hopalong Cassidy Loses a Limb to a Leghold Trap in British Columbia.")
In December of that same year, a cat named Trapper from the town of Mission in the same province was put through an almost identical excruciating ordeal. (See Cat Defender post of December 24, 2005 entitled "A Cat Named Trapper Falls Victim to Another Rusty Leghold Trap in British Columbia.")
Cats such as Hobson from Harrogate in Yorkshire and Que from Queens in Nova Scotia have found themselves trapped for up to six weeks in elastic collars that had slipped from around their necks and lodged in their shoulders and legs. Not only did these deadly devices retard leg movement but they additionally ate into their flesh. (See Cat Defender posts of June 22, 2010 and May 28, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Hobson Is Forced to Wander Around Yorkshire for Months Trapped in an Elastic Collar That Steadily Was Eating Away at His Shoulder and Leg" and "Collars Turn into Death Traps for Trooper and Que but Both Are Rescued at the Eleventh Hour.")
Opinion is divided as to how Deuce lost his legs and part of his tail. Residents in and around the trailer park suspect that he was the victim of an horrific act of animal cruelty and they have good reason for thinking that way.
In August of 2008, a brown tomcat named Topper belonging to Donna Beasley was shot in the face with an arrow but amazingly survived. (See photo of him above.)
"It was through his cheek and then went through his shoulder and went out the other side of his back," Beasley told KOCO-TV of Oklahoma City on August 14, 2008. (See "Choctaw Cat Shot with Arrow, Survives.") "Who could do something like that?"
As far as it is known, she never got an answer to that question because the culprit never was apprehended.
About a week before Deuce was attacked, nineteen-year-old miscreants Jared Wade Barlass and Traton Tyler Vanderpool of Broken Arrow in Rogers County to the north of Choctaw used compound bows in order to kill five cows in Oologah that were valued at $19,000. (See photo of Barlass on the right and one of Vanderpool below.)
They have been charged with nine counts of animal cruelty but are out on bail awaiting trial. "They were bored, they jumped out of their truck with their compound bows...they were just kind of shooting off," Jerry Smittle of the Rogers County Sheriff's Office told the Broken Arrow Ledger on August 18th. (See "Two Broken Arrow Teens Confess to Killing Rogers County Cattle.") "There was just a herd of them together so they were just puncturing them."
While the arrests of Barlass and Vanderpool are a welcome development, it is the very pinnacle of hypocrisy for societies to allow ranchers and slaughterhouses to abuse and kill defenseless cows with impunity. The same rationale is equally applicable to individuals who consume the flesh, leather, and other products of these horribly mistreated animals.
The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Department is treating the attack on Deuce as a possible act of animal cruelty and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is offering a frivolous reward of $2,500 for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators. If it were even halfway serious, it would increase its reward money to at least $100,000 and, much more importantly, dispatch a team of investigators to Choctaw.
By simply grandstanding and running off at the mouth the HSUS is ensuring not only that the culprits never will be apprehended but that it will not be forced to part with any of its precious shekels. The organization is in fact so tightfisted that several uncorroborated reports on the web allege that it spends less than one per cent of its annual operating budget of $125 million rescuing, feeding, sheltering, and medicating animals.
That is in addition to its various betrayals of cats to their sworn enemies. (See Cat Defender posts of April 18, 2009 and November 20, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Quislings at the Humane Society Sell Out San Nicolas's Cats to the Assassins at the Diabolical United States Fish and Wildlife Service" and "Memo to the Humane Society: Tell the World Exactly How Many Cats You and Your Honeys at the USFWS Have Murdered on San Nicolas Island.")
Others lean toward the theory that Deuce was victimized by a farmer, most likely a reckless combine operator. There certainly can be no denying that combine operators take a heavy toll on cats and other animals.
For example, in July of 2009 a black and white kitten named Howard lost his front paws to a combine operator in Alaiedon Township, Michigan. For a week he lay in a ditch bleeding with his maggot-infested flesh rotting away until he was rescued by ten-year-old Kyle Billingslea and his eight-year-old brother, Bryce. (See Cat Defender posts of August 20, 2009 and November 24, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Combine Operator Severs Howard's Front Paws and Leaves Him in a Ditch to Die but He Is Saved at the Last Minute by a Pair of Compassionate Lads" and "Howard the Combine Kitty Is Adopted by the Lads Who Saved Him from a Sure and Certain Death in a Ditch Alongside a Michigan Wheat Field.")
Along about that same time a black cat named Oscar from the parish of Grouville in the Bailiwick of Jersey lost his back paws when he, too, was run over and left for dead by a combine operator. (See Cat Defender post of November 20, 2010 entitled "Celebrated as the World's First Bionic Cat, Oscar Now Has Been Turned into a Guinea Pig with a Very Uncertain Future.")
No arrests have been made in either case and crimes committed against animals by farmers are not even investigated. They are merely accepted as part and parcel of the price for feeding the hoi polloi in spite of the catastrophic damage that factory farming is doing to both the animals and Mother Earth.
"The debate over climate change completely distorts our perspective," Josef Reichholf of the München State Zoo told Der Spiegel on November 23, 2007. (See "Biologists Debate Relocating Imperiled Species.") "Industrial-scale farming is the number one killer of species."
Considering that the attack on Deuce took place so long ago, his injuries already had healed to a certain extent by the time that he had arrived at Quail Creek and that is going to make it difficult, if not impossible, for the authorities to ascertain exactly what happened to him. Nonetheless, the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office and COHS should treat this case as an act of animal cruelty and interview both local farmers as well as residents of the trailer park.
As the Washington Humane Society conclusively demonstrated during its investigation of cat poisoner Nico Dauphiné of the Smithsonian Institution, there is no substitute for good old-fashioned detective work when it comes to solving cases of animal cruelty. (See Cat Defender post of July 12, 2011 entitled "The Arrest of Nico Dauphiné for Attempting to Poison a Colony of Homeless Cats Unmasks the National Zoo as a Hideout for Ailurophobes and Criminals.")
Since an arrest is highly unlikely, Ruby is contenting herself with the unique opportunity afforded her to spend some quality time with Deuce. "I think it definitely pulls at your heartstrings," she told KFOR-TV of Oklahoma City on August 18th. (See "Reward for Info on Who Cut Off Cat's Legs.") "I'm proud of him, I'm very proud of him. I think he's a major survivor."
With so many enemies and living in such an antagonistic world, cats do not have any choice other than to be resilient. As the Chinese are fond of saying, they must "be like bamboo, bend but never break."
Photos: KFOR-TV (Deuce and Topper) and Broken Arrow Ledger (Barlass and Vanderpool).