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Cat Defender

Exposing the Lies and Crimes of Bird Advocates, Wildlife Biologists, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, Exterminators, Vivisectors, the Scientific Community, Fur Traffickers, Cloners, Breeders, Designer Pet Purveyors, Hoarders, Motorists, the United States Military, and Other Ailurophobes

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Fluffy Is Brought Back from the Dead after She Is Found Comatose in a Sarcophagus of Frozen Snow and Ice in Frigid Montana

Fluffy Was In Sad Shape When She Arrived at the Veterinarian's Office

"Her temperature was so low our thermometer wouldn't read it, so we know it was less than ninety."
-- Jevon Clark of the Animal Clinic of Kalispell

The one thing that the Grim Reaper and Old Man Winter share in common is an icy grip and that in turn makes them not only formidable but nearly insuperable foes. In tiny, Kalispell, fifty-four kilometers south of Glacier National Park in northern Montana, a three-year-old, longhaired, brown and white female named Fluffy has nevertheless successfully foiled the both of them in a winner-take-all game of life and death. Doing so was, however, anything but easy.

The full story of how that she ended up locked in mortal struggle with those two notorious villains has not been fully divulged and therefore likely never will be known with any degree of certainty. All that is known for sure is that she was found unresponsive in a snowbank by her unidentified owners when they returned home sometime during afternoon of January 31st.

Even more harrowingly, her tiny body was encapsulated in a sarcophagus of ice and frozen snow that caused her at first glance to resemble more a mummy than a cat. Following an overnight low of only 8° Fahrenheit, the thermometer had been able to make it back up to only 31° F by that afternoon and as a consequence just about all the snow, sleet, and rain that had fallen throughout the day had frozen hard to her long fur.

This is mere speculation but it would appear that Fluffy's owners had been away all day, most likely at work since it was Donnerstag, and that she in turn had lain motionless and comatose in that wretched snowbank for quite a few hours. It likewise is anyone's guess as to whether the discovery of her and her desperate plight was serendipitous or the product of a concentrated search.

Regardless of the case, that marked her first baby step on what was destined to be a long and uncertain  road back to the world of the living. Even so she still from all outward appearances looked to have been deader than a doornail and it therefore is easy to imagine the confusion,   indecision, and conflicting emotions that surely must have coursed through the minds of her guardians. In the end, however, they wisely chose sentiment, compassion, and hope over apparent reality, callousness, and resignation and accordingly rushed her to the Animal Clinic of Kalispell at 1408 Airport Road which, fortuitously, was open until 5:30 p.m. on that fateful afternoon.

Upon arrival, Fluffy's prospects did not look particularly promising. "She was essentially frozen," the surgery's Andrea Dutter related to KYMA-TV of Yuma on February 7th. (See "Frozen Feline Thawed Out after She Was Found in a Snowbank.")

Head veterinarian Jevon Clark summed up her condition in even starker terms. "I've never seen this. I've been in practice for almost twenty-four years and she was actually caked in ice, like those ice balls were caked on her all the way around her three-hundred-sixty degrees," he told KULR-TV of Billings on February 7th. (See "Montana Veterinarians Bring Frozen, Unresponsive Cat Back to Life.") "Her temperature was so low our thermometer wouldn't read it, so we know it was less than ninety."

C'est-à- dire, for all practical purposes Fluffy was dead but what transpired next is a matter of conjecture. The most plausible explanation is that her owners paid Clark somewhere in the neighborhood of US$500 and insisted that he nonetheless attempt to revive her; otherwise, he surely would have allowed her to have expired on the examining table because most members of his bloodsucking profession care only about money.

With the moola now in hand, Clark and his staff went to work on Fluffy. She was first placed on a heating pad and, inter alia, hair dryers, hot towels, and warm water were used in a desperate effort to rapidly elevate her body temperature to somewhere approaching normal which, for a cat, is at around one-hundred-one degrees.

The chunks of ice and frozen snow that did not readily melt and fall off by themselves had to painstakingly removed by hand. She also was placed on intravenous fluids and, most likely, antibiotics and painkillers as well.

Other than those measures, there not much more that Clark could do other than to sit back and wait. Then after about an hour had raced off the clock, she twitched and growled and that was when he knew that she was going to make it.

An Attendant Used a Hair Dryer in Order to Help Thaw Out Fluffy

"These crabby cats are survivors," he declared to the Daily Inter Lake of Kalispell on February 7th. (See "Veterinarians Revive Cat That Nearly Froze in Montana.")

There is indeed much to be said for temperamental cats and those individuals who are drawn only to those that are docile are denying themselves some of the sweetest joys that this life has to offer. Specifically, there are few experiences more gratifying than finally being able to win the trust and affection of a hissing and spitting cat that has developed a nasty habit of looking down its dainty little nose at all humans with marked, if not indeed justified, disdain.

Such cats, of course, have a much more utilitarian reason for behaving in such a fashion. "A cat who wishes to live with human beings makes it his business to see that the so-called superior race behaves in the proper manner toward him," Carl Van Vechten pointed out in his 1920 book, The Tiger in the House, (chapter 7, footnote 4).

Shortly thereafter Fluffy was packed into a heated cage and shuffled off to either the Pet Emergency Veterinary Clinic or the Central Valley Animal Hospital, both of which are located at 3650 Highway 2 East, so that she could continue to receive heat therapy. The decision to move her was necessitated by, presumably, the early closing hours kept by Clark's surgery.

Press reports differ but Fluffy was kept at the emergency hospital for either only a few hours or until the following morning. After that she was cleared to return home.

On February 5th, she was returned to Clark's office for a check-up and at which time she was pronounced to have made a full recovery. "It's just amazing...I guess they (cats) do have nine lives," he marveled to WXIX-TV of Cincinnati on February 7th. (See " 'It's Just Amazing,' Says Veterinarian after 'Frozen Cat' Makes Full Recovery.")

While that last declaration of his is, quite obviously, not true, it does seem safe to label Fluffy's triumph as both rare and extraordinary. "I was really surprised. I've been practicing a long time and I've seen a lot of hypothermic animals, but normally it's like an accidental kind of thing where the kids leave the door open and the cat or the dog gets out and nobody knows about (it) for a couple of hours and they might get a little cold," he explained to KPAX-TV of Missoula on February 7th. (See "Flathead Veterinarian Shares His Story of Reviving Frozen Cat.") "Versus this which was kind of a different situation having it (ice) actually packed around."

As for how that she was able to have withstood such a hellish ordeal, he gives credit to her long fur and size. He also has praised her owners for acting expeditiously. "We didn't do anything special," he added to WXIX-TV. "If they had tried to (do) anything at home, it (Fluffy) would not have made it."

Unless he is omitting some vital details concerning Fluffy's condition, that is a debatable point. For example on Thanksgiving morning back in 2015, Brandon Bingham of Cedar Hills stumbled upon a tiny white kitten with strikingly beautiful turquoise eyes that had become frozen in the snow outside his and his family's holiday cabin in Bear Lake, two-hundred-forty-seven kilometers north of home and sixty-five kilometers north of Logan.

"I walked up to it, and it was just a frozen little snowball," he told KSTU of Salt Lake City on December 2, 2015. (See "Utah Family Resuscitates Kitten Found Freezing in the Snow; Rescue Caught on Camera.") "There was not a pulse, there was no heartbeat, there was no breathing, it was lifeless, it was cold and lifeless."

He nevertheless carried the kitten inside and handed him over to his younger brother, Justin, who luckily had taken some classes in veterinary medicine while he was studying at Brigham Young University in Provo. "I kind of assumed if I gently started pumping its chest, and got the heart moving and rubbing it -- things like that -- it would start the blood flow and eventually bring the cat back," he theorized to KSTU-TV.

Fluffy Was Back on Her Feet in About an Hour

Wrapping the kitten in a blanket and placing it in front of the fireplace also, sans doute, helped because about an hour later he miraculously revived. Later in the day he even felt well enough in order to wolf down an entire plate of salmon.

"Unbelievable what it looked like, what was going to be a sad start to a Thanksgiving ended up being what we would say is an early Christmas miracle watching this cat literally being brought back to life right in front of our eyes," Brandon concluded to KSTU-TV.

Not surprisingly, the Binghams christened him Lazarus whom, according to John 11: 1-44, was brought back to life by Jesus four days after he had died. He shortly thereafter was adopted by one of the Binghams' cousins in Logan and, at last word, was said to be doing just fine.

Earlier on January 2, 2010, an unidentified Good Samaritan found an attractive thirteen-year-old tuxedo named Annie lying unresponsive in a snowdrift at Main Street and Sweetland Farm in Norfolk, fifty-one kilometers southwest of Boston. Although at first glance she appeared to have frozen to death, the Good Samaritan wrapped her in a blanket and placed her inside a garage before telephoning Animal Control Officer Hilary Cohen.

"On first response, she appeared dead. She was cold, stiff, and unresponsive," Cohen said. "When I picked her up, I did hear an agonal cry, but that sometimes happens postmortem."

What hypothermic cats need first and foremost is to be taken inside and out of the deadly cold and the Good Samaritan is to be given credit for at least doing that much. The second imperative is that they be provided with heat and the Good Samaritan erred egregiously by leaving Annie in a, presumably, unheated garage.

Veterinarians likewise are sometimes guilty of callously placing stricken cats on heating pads that are not functioning properly. It therefore is imperative that owners make doubly certain that such devices are putting out a lot of heat and that their cats are wrapped in blankets and towels.

If neither the veterinarian nor an attendant is rubbing the cat's paws and chest, as Justin Bingham did with Lazarus, they must intervene and do so themselves. By simply consenting to see a cat and to provide it with some level of supportive care,  a surgeon already has collected between US$500 and US$800 and some of them therefore could care less whether it lives or dies.

Thankfully in Annie's case, Cohen knew what to do. "I kept her in the blanket and put her on my lap in the cruiser and headed to the hospital," she later explained. "Once in the car, I turned the heater on and saw a whisker twitch. That was the only sign of reflex from her."

Upon arrival at Acorn Animal Hospital in Franklin, eight kilometers southwest of Norfolk, Annie was immediately diagnosed with a body temperature of only 86° F. She also was so severely emaciated that she weighed only three and one-quarter pounds.

The staff went to work on her in order to elevate her body temperature by using electric blankets, hair dryers, hot water bottles, and heat discs. She was placed on both an IV drip and steroids. A blood test was taken and her heart rate and blood sugar levels were continuously monitored.

Tiny Lazarus Had a Close Shave

The conscientious care that she received from Cohen and the staff paid a huge divided when Annie finally returned to the world of the living seven hours later. Two days following that she was not only eating and drinking but back on her feet to boot.

"I've seen different kinds of animal issues over the years but I've never seen an animal this cold be revived," Cohen afterwards marveled. Her commitment to Annie did not end there, however, in that rather than dumping her at a shelter she compassionately took her home with her so that she could continue to administer heat therapy to her.

On January 5th, Annie's owners came forward and reclaimed her after having read about her rescue in a local newspaper. As it soon was revealed, they had been living in Norfolk for only about a week when Annie had disappeared in early December.

She was only about three-quarters of a mile removed from home when found by the Good Samaritan but she apparently had gotten lost amidst the intervening railroad tracks and other obstacles. Uprooting a cat from home, especially an elderly one, is always an extremely risky proposition and the negligence displayed by Annie's owners in that regard came within an inch of killing her.

If against all odds she should still be alive today, she would be twenty-two years old. (See Cat Defender post of January 21, 2010 entitled "Trapped Outdoors in a Snowstorm, Annie Is Brought Back from the Dead by the Compassion of a Good Samaritan and an Animal Control Officer.")

Most individuals nowadays either own or have access to heated houses and automobiles, hair dryers, blankets, towels, and hot water and with that being the case they certainly do not have a valid excuse for turning their backs on cats and kittens that are suffering from hypothermia. Likewise,  it would not kill them to administer CPR and body massages in order to get the blood in them once again flowing.

It is even possible to purchase intravenous fluids, catheters, heating pads, painkillers, and antibiotics either at selected retailers and wholesalers or online. Plus, those basic tools and medications can be pressed into service in emergencies in order to save the lives of all sorts of cats and not just those that are suffering from the ravages of the cold.

In fact, a good argument could be made that no cat owner should be without a makeshift surgery at home. That is because, first of all, twenty-four-hour veterinary hospitals are about as scarce as hens' teeth.

For instance, the nearest one serving southern New Jersey is located one-hundred-fourteen kilometers north in Tinton Falls. Philadelphia has only two such facilities and one of them is operated by the thoroughly detestable robber barons at the University of Pennsylvania. (See Cat Defender post of March 19, 2014 entitled "The Cheap and Greedy Moral Degenerates at PennVet Extend Their Warmest Christmas Greetings to an Impecunious, but Preeminently Treatable, Cat Via a Jab of Sodium Pentobarbital.")

Despite its massive wealth, Manhattan boasts only a pair of twenty-four-hour surgeries. Cat owners in Raleigh are in even worse shape in that they have only the veterinary school at North Carolina State University to rely upon in emergencies and it normally requires a referral from another veterinarian before it will treat a cat.

By contrast, Kalispell has two, full-time emergency hospitals despite having only twenty-three-thousand residents. As counterintuitive as it may sound, cats and their owners would be far better off residing in the wilds of northern Montana than on the crowded East Coast.

Annie: What Has Become of You?

As dreadful as all of that may be, it is merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to the myriad of obstacles that confront owners who are seeking to procure competent veterinary care for their beloved cats. Secondly, just about all twenty-four-hour emergency clinics are staffed, not by registered veterinarians, but rather technicians, nurses, and other assorted part-time and temporary wage earners.

Fervently believing as they do that the world owes them a comfortable living for doing little or no work at all,  veterinarians who are willing to work nights in order to save the life of any animal are a rare breed. Moreover, many of them are too bone-lazy to even work the day shift; instead, they devote the lion's share of their time to, inter alia, drumming up business, attending conferences, traveling, and behaving like big shots.

That in turn forces them into hiring all sorts of flunkies in order to work in their steads and they then pass along the added costs to their clients. The only thing positive that can be said about such a cockeyed business model is that sometimes patients receive better care at the hands of a conscientious veterinary technician than they do from a veterinarian who cares only about taking it easy and counting his shekels.

Thirdly, there is the herculean dilemma of getting a stricken cat to these scarce and out-of-the-way facilities. In that regard, since there is not any ambulance service for cats, owners without access to either automobiles or reliable public transportation are up the creek without a paddle.

Fourthly, there is the near impossible task of locating a veterinarian who is competent. For example, an owner can shell out US$10,000 or more on supportive care and diagnostic testing without even receiving so much in return as a diagnosis of any kind. Worst still, despite an owner's best efforts and largess the cat dies.

Fifthly,  it is all but impossible to find an emergency veterinarian that is affordable unless one happens to be a descendant of John D. Rockefeller. Office visits alone cost a small fortune and from that point onward the charges increase exponentially.

Known in the trade as "invoicing," veterinarians and their subalterns have been known to wear holes in the carpeting racing from their examining rooms to their computers in order to religiously record every single cost of a cat's treatment. In that light, it would be interesting to know just how many cats that these despicable shekel counters have callously allowed to die while they have been busily making out their bills.

The net result of such unchecked greed, patented dishonesty, and gross malpractice is that many owners are left with only humongous bills and dead cats. Most, but not all, veterinarians can be relied upon to successfully vaccinate, sterilize, microchip, and tattoo a cat. Some of them can even now and again be counted upon to successfully mend broken bones but that is about all.

On the other hand, emergency care for most dying cats is the absolute pits. Furthermore, elaborate procedures, such as kidney transplants and stem cell therapy, are beyond the financial reach of all but the super-rich and the well-connected, such as those who work at veterinary hospitals.

Sixthly, the rudeness and total unwillingness of practitioners to inform owners as to what ails their cats and to candidly discuss treatment options with them are insufferable. That is so much the case that even turning up with a wheelbarrow brimming over with stacks of one-hundred-dollar bills is insufficient in order to guarantee honest and civilized behavior from these cretins!

Clearly, small animal practitioners are not a bargain at any price; large animal veterinarians are even worse monsters. It accordingly is small wonder that cats and other animals are treated so shabbily by the remainder of society and the political and legal establishment when callousness and incompetence are about all that they can expect from the veterinary medical profession.

 Cat Fencing Has Been Installed at the Hemingway Home and Museum

As far as Fluffy's future is concerned, her owners have pledged to try and convert her into an indoor cat but that is going to be such a difficult task that even Clark is skeptical. "We'll see if Fluffy likes that or Fluffy doesn't like that," he opined to the Daily Inter Lake.

The difficulty is due principally to the fact that, as far as it is known, she has lived most, if not all, of her life outdoors and owners who attempt to coop up such cats have their hands full. Nothing at all is known about her past other than that she came with the house when her current owners acquired it less than two years ago. It thus would appear that her original owners cruelly left her behind in order to fend for herself in the forbidding cold and rough and tumble wildness of northern Montana when they pulled up stakes and hightailed it elsewhere.

In respect to the first of those two menaces, Kalispell is an especially cold and snowy place for any cat.  The thermometer plunges to below freezing in October and does not climb completely above it until May.

The city additionally receives on the average a whopping 55.7 inches of snow each year with 12.7 inches of that hitting the ground in January alone. It was ever snowier this January when the city received nearly sixteen inches of the white stuff.

Although cats are capable of surviving temperatures as low as 0° F., it often gets even colder than that in Kalispell. Even for those of them that are fortunate enough in order to withstand such hellish cold they often are left with other associated maladies, such as respiratory infections and frostbitten paws, ears, and tongues.

Clearly, no cat belongs outdoors under such intemperate conditions. Rather, they need to be inside heated environments where they have access to hearty and nutritious meals on a daily basis.

In addition to being home to such prolific cat killers as dogs, raccoons, and skunks, Montana also has plenty of grizzlies, wolves, cougars, coyotes, and bald eagles which also prey upon cats. Given that reality on top of Kalispell's horrid winters, it is nothing short of amazing that Fluffy has made it this far in her young life.

Neither Clark nor the media have made much about the matter but when she was found on January 31st Fluffy had unspecified bruises on her body. The position in which she was lying was also suspicious.

"She's crouched down looking like she's hunting something or something's in the snowbank. I suspect that something traumatic happened," Clark speculated to the Daily Inter Lake. "Either something fell on her or she fell or something chased her and she got injured. She couldn't get back to her normal little hiding spot that she goes to."

While all of those explanations are certainly conceivable, none of them seen likely. First of all, owing to their keen sense of hearing and lightning-fast reflexes cats usually are adroit enough in order to elude falling trees and other objects. Secondly, if she had been run to ground by any one of the area's myriad of predators it is highly unlikely that her owners ever would have found so much as either hide or hair of her.

A much more plausible explanation is that she was targeted by a hit-and-run motorist. For instance, she could have been in full stride trying to get away from him when she received a glancing blow but she was somehow able to have kept on going and to have made it home before collapsing.

The position in which she was lying when found also comports with such an explanation. Most cats that are run down by these monsters of the motorways are in full stride when their pursuers step on the gas, turn the wheel over, and cross the white line in order to purposefully mow them down.

Fluffy and Her Owners Have Some Tough Decisions to Make

Depending upon how far out of their way that these devils are willing to go in order to attack a cat, some of their victims die on the roadside while others are able to continue sprinting for several more yards if not indeed even farther. Fluffy's proximity to the nearest street coupled with the nature of the injuries that she sustained would likely shine some light on this theory.

Another possibility is that she could have been chased by yobs and pelted with rocks. For example, a group of them in Seaham Harbor, County Durham, put out one of the noble Nelson's eyes some years ago. (See Cat Defender post of April 16, 2015 entitled "Nelson's Odyssey from Being the Long Abused Cat That Nobody Wanted to One of England's Most Beloved Comes to a Sad End at Age Twenty.")

The only other explanation that readily comes to mind is that she could have suffered some type of a seizure. If so, others likely can be expected to follow and she accordingly very well could be long dead by this time.

Although they possibly could have been the product of an old injury, the bruises found on Fluffy's body would tend to rule out such an explanation. Additionally, there is not any indication in press reports that she has suffered any kind of noticeable neurological damage, such as an unsteady gait, mental sluggishness, and abrupt changes in personality and behavior.

Most telling of all, Clark did not schedule her for either a CT or an MRI. Even if he had done so it is by no means certain that such expensive testing would have proven worthwhile given the veterinary medical profession's almost total incompetence in even so much as properly diagnosing let alone treating such maladies.

As far as it is known, the only practical advice that Clark has given Fluffy's owners and, by extension, those of all outdoor cats, is for them to provide them with plenty of water and a bed so as to keep them from sleeping on the frozen ground. That is not saying much given that in a latitude as cold as Kalispell all outdoor shelters would need to be not only heated and equipped with some means of preventing the drinking water from freezing but also secured against predators.

If Fluffy's owners are unable to accustom her to living indoors, their next best option would be to enclose her inside some type of fenced-in area. Considering the large number of predators in the area, it also would be a good idea for them to string an electrified wire along the outside perimeter of such a facility.

Various types of fencing ranging from free-standing and existing fence conversion to full enclosures are available from, among others, Purr...fect Fence of Orion Township, Michigan. For instance, after the Hemingway Home and Museum lost its ten-year battle royal with the USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) over the rambles of its peripatetic polydactyls it was forced into erecting such fencing at its historic site in Key West. (See Cat Defender post of January 24, 2013 entitled "The Feds Now Have Cats and Their Owners Exactly Where They Want Them Thanks to an Outrageous Court Ruling Targeting the Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West.")

Adopting such a last-ditch expedient will not be either cheap or easy but nothing rarely is whenever it comes to safeguarding the life of a beloved cat. Fluffy's owners came awfully close to losing her for good but now they have been given a second chance to atone for their past mistakes and it accordingly would be a tragedy of epic proportions if they were to allow such a godsend to slip through their fingers.

The case can be put even more forcibly as far as Fluffy is concerned in that she is such a young female with her entire life in front of her. She therefore richly deserves that opportunity but, as things now stand, only her guardians have it within their power to turn that worthy objective into a reality.
Carpe diem!

Finally, the resuscitations of Fluffy, Lazarus, and Annie should serve as a wake-up call for all individuals who give so much as a whit about the sanctity of feline life. In particular, there is a growing body of research that tends to indicate that it takes some humans up to three hours, in not indeed longer, in order to die and that definitely holds true for cats as well.

The significance of these developments is that whereas the cold-blooded slaughter of thousands of cats every day by veterinarians, shelters, and others is reprehensible enough in its own right, the even darker and more disturbing truth is that a sizable portion of even them are being left either untreated to die prolonged, agonizing deaths on their own or burned and buried while they are still very much alive. (See Cat Defender posts of June 24, 2013, November 12, 2011, and February 7, 2012 entitled, respectively, "Buried Long Before Her Time, Muffin Is Freed from the Crypt by Her Devoted Six-Year-Old Snuggling Partner," "The Multiple Attempts Made Upon Andrea's Life Graphically Demonstrate the Urgent Need for an Immediate Ban on the Killing of All Shelter Animals," and "Long-Suffering Andrea Finally Secures a Permanent Home after Incredibly Surviving Quadruple Attempts Made on Her Life by an Unrepentant Utah Shelter.")

Photos: the Animal Clinic of Kalispell (Fluffy), Brandon Bingham (Lazarus), The Sun Chronicle of Attleboro (Annie), and Purr...fect Fence (Hemingway Home and Museum).