With subdegree temperatures, cats are most vulnerable to outside elements

Meet Chuck, Pope Memorial Humane Society’s frostbite survivor

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 11:45am

Meet Chuck. Just a few days ago, he was brought into Pope Memorial Humane Society by an Appleton family who found him wandering around their property, clearly a stray with severe frostbite on his ears and nose.

Mitchell Pendleton, the man who found this cat told us: “It was before Christmas, I first saw this cat scurrying around our woodpile. Every time I approached him, he’d run away. After a week or so, I left the woodshed door open, for him to go inside, so I could kind of check him out to see what was going on with him. About an hour later, I went back and he was inside, so I closed the door. I could tell he was deathly skinny so, I went up to the house and brought him down some tunafish and gave him that and water. His ears looked fine to me then. I thought he might be a neighbor’s cat, so I waited a bit before calling the shelter because I’d figured he’d gotten loose and would go back home. My wife is very allergic to cats, so I kept putting food out for him in the woodshed and he showed up again for two or three days, then disappeared for two or three days. The kids would come down every night to see if he was there, hold him and pet him, give him some love. Then, after those two or three days he’d been gone, I noticed his ears looked real funny. That’s when I got ahold of the Humane Society. Whatever was going on, I didn’t want him to suffer. So we took him down there a week ago.”

Theresa Gargan, shelter manager, said: “The kids named him Chuck. Nice people. I’m so happy they brought him in.”

She told us that during the two or three days that Chuck disappeared out of the shelter of the woodshed, it was during the cold snap with subdegree temperatures at night. Likely during that time wandering, Chuck suffered severe frostbite, which claimed the tops of his ears and gave him a very sore nose. His pads of his paws stayed intact, however: “When the Pendleton family brought him in, I touched the tops of his ears, which started to split, then I knew,” she said.

“He's warm and comfortable now and getting the care he needs,” she said. The gooey stuff  you see in this photo is antibiotic cream. “The thing is, through all of this, he looks pathetic. But he’s the nicest little kitty — at the most a year old, at that. Those ears are going to heal over very quickly and he’s going to be just fine.”

No one has come forth to claim him as their cat. From the moment Pope Memorial Humane Society broke this story on Facebook, it has been shared more than 300 times with many comments asking about his status and praising the Pendletons for helping to bring this kitty in.

“We’ve had some inquiries about adopting him. People are wondering when he’ll be available to visit, and it shouldn’t be too long before he’s healed and ready for visitors,” she said. “We have to get him neutered, too.”

Gargan wanted to remind people of the dangers of leaving their pets outdoors for too long. “They’re not wild animals and they have to have somewhere where they can get out of the weather into warmth and shelter or this is what can happen,” she said. “They’re not cut out for it. Even the feral cats that are managed colonies are given shelter at night so they’re able to come in from the elements.”

To keep tabs on Chuck, follow their Facebook page or contact them at (207) 594-2200. We will follow up with this story when Chuck gets adopted.

Kay Stephens can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com