By Gary Gail
That Sunday morning started like any other. I slept until about 9:00 a.m. then went out and got breakfast. After breakfast, I headed over to the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley to help out wherever they needed me. As I pulled into the driveway, I noticed the back gate was open. On the way into the shelter, I saw a cage sitting in the bright sunlight with no water or food in sight. Inside the cage was a terrified black cat. She was barely clinging to life because of the heat.
Someone had trespassed onto the grounds and dropped off the cage containing the cat. They didnít notify the staff that the cat was in the blazing sun with nothing to eat or drink. I ran inside and told the staff there was a cat dying of heat stroke by the back door.
We rushed her into the shelter and began wiping her down with cold towels. At this point the cat was totally unresponsive. She made no eye motion and was unaware of her surroundings. Wiping her with cold towels didnít seem to be helping. A staff member and I took her into the washroom and soaked her in cold water for about 15 minutes.
Finally she became responsive to hand motions and her surroundings. We were able to put her in a cage in the medical wing for observation and we turned on a fan to keep her cool. On further inspection we realized that all four of her paws were torn and bleeding from her attempts to claw her way out of the cage. She also had a welt over her left eye.
I stayed with her all day Sunday to comfort her after the ordeal sheíd been through. By 4:00 p.m. she was very responsive and affectionate. I decided that after the medical check up was complete, I would take her home with me. For the next week I visited the shelter every day to see how she was recovering. She did quite well except for her torn feet. The doctors gave her a clean bill of health after about two weeks, and I was able to take her home. I continued treating her paws with ointment until they healed. She now plays with the other cats at my house and is fitting in beautifully.
The inhumane treatment this poor animal received shows how uncaring some people can be toward animals. The veterinarians said that in ten more minutes this beautiful, one-year-old cat would have died in that cage without anyone knowing she was there. The staff and I decided to name her Solest, which means fighter and survivor.
In the short time Iíve had her with me, she has learned her name and is already partially leash trained. She is thoroughly enjoying her second chance at life.
I would like to thank the shelter staff who helped revive Solest and kept a vigilant eye on her as she recovered from her ordeal.
Gary Gail is a volunteer at the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley where he is the Mentor for the cat room.