Already Sans an Appendage, Simon Loses a Second One to a Killer Dog but His Devoted Owners Elect to Allow Him to Live and He Rewards Them Handsomely by Making a Remarkable Adjustment
|Simon Has Been Through Hell but Is Still Able to Smile|
"I stopped counting at NZ$22,000. It sure is a lot of money but putting Simon down wasn't an option. He's part of our family."
-- Robert McCarthy
Shelters, Animal Control Officers, veterinarians, wildlife biologists, and ornithologists kill cats in droves. Even a vast majority of owners have their faithful companions unceremoniously liquidated as soon as they become either old, sickly, or their presence is simply no longer desired.
Mercifully, that is far from being the entire story and Robert McCarthy from Auckland is a bright and shining exception to that rule. Three years ago, he and his wife, Madeline, opened up their hearts and home to a three-legged ginger and white tom named Simon.
"When we first met him at the (Royal New Zealand) SPCA we didn't even realize he was missing his back left leg," he told The New Zealand Herald of Auckland on March 5th. (See "Meet Simon: the $22K Two-Legged Cat.") "He moved around just like any other cat; it didn't affect him at all."
It has not been disclosed either how that Simon lost the leg or why that he wound up at a shelter in the first place but, needless to say, both near-death experiences constitute more than enough tragedy for any one cat to bear. Sadly, in his case The Fates, never seemingly able to leave bad enough alone, had even more miseries in store for him.
The next installment of their devilry occurred last June when he was nearly mauled to death by a neighbor's dog. The specifics of the attack have not been publicly divulged but McCarthy first learned of it courtesy of a telephone call that he received from his local veterinarian.
It therefore is assumed that either the dog's owner or a Good Samaritan collected Simon and took him to the vet. McCarthy in turn likely was tracked down by information contained on either his collar or, more likely, from an implanted microchip.
Suffering from multiple wounds and fractures to his left front leg, Simon was promptly transferred to the Veterinary Specialist Group in the Mount Albert section of the city where he underwent emergency surgery in a desperate attempt to save his leg. Sadly, an infection set in immediately following the procedure and that necessitated its removal.
|Simon and His Devoted Owner Robert McCarthy|
There can be little doubt that his surgeon, Kyle Clark, wanted at that juncture to snuff out his life but McCarthy and his wife were not about to go along with that. Since their beloved cat have coped well while his injured leg was in a cast, they reasoned that he could get by without any appendages on the left side of his body.
"When his leg was in a cast he would tuck it up and not even use it, or he would use it like a crutch, so we knew he would cope okay," McCarthy told The New Zealand Herald.
Even so he surely must have had some inner doubts but Simon soon silenced them by getting out of bed and taking a few tentative steps the very next day after the leg had been removed. A few weeks later he was behaving as almost nothing had ever happened to him.
"He bounced back in no time and was tackling everything from stairs to jumping on the couch and the beds," McCarthy proudly pointed out to The New Zealand Herald.
In addition to those activities, he now rolls around and roughhouses with his housemates, a cat named Olive and a dog named Barry, as well as occasionally chasing chickens and skinks around the garden. (See video posted at both The New Zealand Herald and the Daily Mail, March 6, 2017, "Now He's Feline Fine!")
Saving Simon has not come cheap, however. For instance, the first operation in order to try and save his leg cost the McCarthys NZ$7,000 of which their pet insurance paid only NZ$3,500. His stay in intensive care, antibiotics to fight off various infections, the treatment of other undisclosed maladies, check-ups, and the dressing of his wounds cost the couple several thousand additional dollars.
On top of all of that, there was the cost of amputating his leg itself as well as his recuperation. "I stopped counting at NZ$22,000 (US$15,360, £12,425, and €14,308)," McCarthy disclosed to The New Zealand Herald.
|Bella Was Declared Persona Non Grata and Deported|
The money is immaterial, however, and McCarthy is anything but crying in his beer. "It sure is a lot of money but putting Simon down wasn't an option," he declared to The New Zealand Herald. "He's part of our family."
Even if things had not worked out, he and his wife could have gone forward with clear consciences knowing in their hearts that they had done everything in their power to have saved Simon. As things joyfully turned out, Simon not only lived but has adjusted remarkably well to having just two legs.
"Simon didn't mourn the loss of a second limb and reminisce about the days when he had three legs. He simply got up on two legs and got on with life," Clark told The New Zealand Herald. "We see this all the time in the animals that come to us. I think people can learn a lot from them."
That is true enough as far as it goes but she egregiously fails to even take note of the all-important fact that cat owners all over the world could learn even more from the superlative example set by the McCarthys. First of all, they have demonstrated conclusively that no true lover of the species ever gives up on a moggy no matter how old, sickly, or handicapped it may be.
Secondly, they have shown that no expense ever should be spared when it comes to saving a cat's life because doing so is the very best investment that anyone will ever make in this world. As the result of having chosen life over death and compassion over expediency, the McCarthys have been richly rewarded by still having Simon around in order to brighten up their lives.
Every bit as importantly, cats such as Tripod, Opie, Trace, and Callie Mae have long proven that they can get by splendidly on three, two, and sometimes even no legs at all. Their determination, perseverance, and will to live serves only to make them all the more remarkable and precious. (See Cat Defender posts of February 9, 2006, November 2, 2006, and November 17, 2010 entitled, respectively, "A Newspaper Cat Named Tripod Is Killed Off by the Journalists That He Befriended in Vermont" "A Three-Legged, Bobtailed Cat Named Opie Melts the Hearts of the Hardened Criminals at a Rural Tennessee Prison," and "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," plus WRKG-TV of Mobile, August 9, 2010, YouTube video entitled "Legless Cat Ready to Start Another Life.")
As wonderful as Simon's recovery has been, at least two dark clouds are hovering over his future. The most pressing of which is the presence of his neighbor's killer dog.
Since the dog's owner has not had so much as the common decency to offer to pay Simon's humongous veterinary bill, that in itself suggests that the McCarthys could very well be in for further difficulties with either him or her. With that being the case, it is imperative that they either devise some means of containing Simon or never allow him out of their sight for so much as a split-second whenever he is outside.
|Simon Can Run and Play Just Like Any Four-Legged Cat|
By losing two legs plus being dumped on death row at a shelter, Simon already has been put through Hell and that alone makes it highly unlikely that he is capable of withstanding much more abuse. It accordingly is not sufficient that the McCarthys have saved his life; rather, they must now endeavor to take any and all measures within their power in order to preserve it.
The second major threat to Simon's well-being comes from the authorities now that Prime Minister John Key has announced plans to take New Zealand down the same path as neighboring Australia by systematically exterminating all of its homeless cats. (See The Washington Post, July 25, 2016, "New Zealand Vows to Kill Every Weasel, Rat and Feral Cat on Its Soil" and Cat Defender post of November 18, 2016 entitled "A Clever Devil at the University of Adelaide Boasts That He Has Discovered the Achilles Heel of Cats with His Invention of Robotic Grooming Traps as the Thoroughly Evil Australians' All-Out War Against the Species Enters Its Final Stages.")
Key's eradication scheme is the brain child of loudmouthed, cat-hating buffoon Gareth Morgan who does not have anything better to do with his great wealth. (See The Guardian of London, January 23, 2013, "Cat Lovers Pounce on Campaign to Save New Zealand's Birds" and a column authored by him in The New Zealand Herald on November 14, 2015 and entitled "Cats -- the Number One Threat to Native Wildlife.")
Even the Royal New Zealand SPCA is in league with him and therefore cannot be counted upon to protect cats. (See TVNZ of Auckland, April 10, 2014, "SPCA Advice on Stray Kittens: Shoot Them.")
Even the mundane act of attempting to smuggle her cat, Bella, into Auckland Airport last December was sufficient in itself in order to get a Vancouver woman denied entry into the country. (See the Daily Mail, December 21, 2016, "Is It a Prrrranda? Woman Deported from New Zealand for Smuggling Her Pet on a Fourteen-Hour Flight from Canada in Her Handbag.")
The message is thus perfectly clear: the McCarthys cannot under any circumstances allow any of those cat-hating fiends to come within ten feet of Simon. That is an imperative because, first of all, domesticated cats are all the time mistaken as ferals and strays and subsequently killed on the spot.
Secondly, collars can come off and implanted microchips are not visible to the naked eye but rather must be deciphered by scanners. Thirdly, poisoners, trappers, sharpshooters, and other killers do not discriminate on the basis of a cat's socio-economic status.
After all that he has been through and so bravely transcended, the only acceptable dénouement for him would be to die a natural death in bed many years from now. All of those dark and gloomy thoughts aside for the moment, his miraculous triumph over simply outrageous misfortune is indeed something to warm the heart on this very cold and blustery St. Patrick's Day with spring, despite what the calendar says, nowhere in sight.
Photos: John Oxenham of The New Zealand Herald (Simon) and the Daily Mail (Bella).