It was a shocking discovery for a woman in rural Jasper County. She saw a cat, staggering and struggling to stay alive in her backyard. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that something like this has happened in Jasper County since the beginning of the year.
A little stray cat named Dezi has been through a lot since Monday.
“I looked out front and could see what looked like an animal, under the snow, but it was pretty white—because of the snow—and then I saw what looked like a cat’s head, but it was moving,” said Patricia Kaldenberg.
Kaldenberg noticed Dezi when she went to get some cat food from her garage.
“Brought in the house and scraped off all the ice and snow,” she said. “She was just a big ball.
“She was completely stiff, with her legs out in front of her and she was shaking really bad in her legs.”
After about an hour, she started to slowly eat again. But she’s still struggling to stand even one day later.
Kaldenberg’s husband brought Dezi to the Animal Rescue League (ARL), where they kept working to stabilize her body.
Rachel Long, Director of the ARL: “We’re going to do what we can to insure she has the best life possible.”
It seems odd to say, but Dezi may be one of the lucky ones.
Since January 1, four other cats were brought to the ARL. One had a leg amputated after a fracture.
Two others were frostbitten.
“The tips of their ears are actually going to fall off from the frostbite,” said Rachel Long, Director of the Jasper County Humane Society. “We also had a cat right at the beginning of the year that didn’t survive.”
And Kaldenberg is just grateful to have made a small difference.
“That’s just me. It’s not unusual to find an animal that needs help,” said Kaldenberg. “So, I would do it again if I need. I think she’s going to be okay.”
Taking care of these cats, like Dezi is an around-the-clock operation and can be pretty expensive. If you’re interested in donating to the ARL, please click here.
If you see a lot of stray cats in your area, the ARL recommends setting up a tiny makeshift shelter for them. It can be something as simple as a tote with some straw lining the bottom of it. The simple rule of thumb, they say, is if it’s too cold for you to be outside, it’s probably too cold for animals as well.
One other note, if you come across an animal like Dezi you want to gradually warm them up, instead of using a space heater or electric blanket. Heating up their core from such a low temperature too quickly can cause damage to the internal organs.