An after Christmas miracle for Jiggles

By Elisa Black-Taylor

jiggles

Jiggles is a two­ year­ old male cat who resides in the Marietta area of upstate South Carolina. Early in December, his pet parents experienced what every owner of a cat who ventures outside fears. Jiggles went outside to use the bathroom and never returned home. His family searched for him in vain for nearly two weeks. On December 10, Jiggles was found outside his home.

No one knows where Jiggles spent the previous two weeks. He was able to drag his injured, mangled body home, where his family found him. It was first thought a coyote had attacked Jiggles. His back legs had suffered horribly from his ordeal. When the family contacted an area rescue, they were told to “put a bullet in his head.” Luckily, Jiggles owners were directed to The Community Pet Project, an upstate 501c3 created to help families going through hard times care for their pets.

Jiggles was taken to Poinsett Animal Hospital, where he was examined by Dr. Tom Felder. It was learned Jiggles had been shot several times. One of his back legs would have to be amputated. The other would be repaired. This procedure would cost a lot of money. It was estimated at least $5,000 would be needed. But first Jiggles would have to stabilized. His red blood cell count was low, and his white blood cell count registered 77,000.

Jiggles a cat that was shot but who recovered

The decision was made of December 13 to transfer Jiggles to Upstate Veterinary Specialists, where he would be given a blood transfusion and other specialized care under the leadership of Dr. Jocelyn Garber. Shortly after his arrival Jiggles “crashed” and was put on life support. This created the need to increase the amount needed for his care to $10,000. Life support for cats is expensive, including the two units of cat blood he was given. The Community Pet Project increased the amount needed to $10,000.

The day after his near death experience, it was determined that Jiggles was now blind. Dr. Garber told his family that hopefully it was a temporary condition caused by lack of oxygen to the brain. Those following Jiggles story were there for him with positive thoughts and well wishes, and a few days later he had his vision back. Dr. Garber was pleased with the progress Jiggles made while under the care of her staff. The blood counts stabilized, no more transfusions were necessary, and Jiggles was eating on his own.

Jiggles was transferred to Foothills Veterinary Clinic by a member of The Community Pet Project on December 20. Surgery was planned there for Christmas Eve, but some of the smaller supplies needed to help mend Jiggles wouldn’t arrive until the day after Christmas. So the operation is now set for Friday, December 27. The great new is that Jiggles is going to get an after Christmas miracle. Because on that day, the day where Jiggles was to be a single amputee at best, or a double amputee at worst, plans have changed. Jiggles will have the surgery to REPAIR both of his back legs! His vet has determined that both of his legs can be saved!

The YouCaring donation page for Jiggles is here. More than $6,500 of the $10,000 goal has been raised by those who are touched by his story. I realize a lot of you may wonder why so much money would be given to save one cat. Think of how many cats that amount could have helped. Then consider how you’d feel if this were YOUR cat!

Wouldn’t you do anything you could to get the funds necessary to save your cats life? That’s what animal lovers now do, and I spend a lot of my time right in the middle of it these days. I write many articles each week to help put people with money in touch with cats and dogs who need money to pay for life­saving treatments. Jiggles story was also picked up by the local news when Fox Carolina did a story. Fox covers a lot of these animals in need stories. Life With Cats also did an article to help boost donations.

Through it all, Jiggles family has been there for him. They visit him every day, and even on his worst days, Jiggles would respond with a paw or by opening his eyes. I don’t believe Jiggles will ever be allowed to use the bathroom outside again. Stories like this are why I’m paranoid about outdoor cats. Especially in the upstate South Carolina area where I live. I’ve even been accused by readers of PoC that I make them paranoid and afraid for them to allow their own cats to wander free. Jiggles story just backs up what I’ve preached for years.

No one knows who shot Jiggles. The family lives fairly close to the man arrested for felony animal cruelty for dragging a dog named Andra Grace behind his pickup truck. There are evil people everywhere I look these days. There are also people who are good. Who reached into their already empty wallets(it being Christmas season) and donated a few dollars to save this one special cat. That’s how it’s done now. Making animal lovers aware of a need, and never giving up until that need is met.

Jiggles, not only will you be on the receiving end of an after Christmas miracle, your determination to return home to you family, despite your injuries, says it all. You’re a miracle kitty. Let’s all keep Jiggles in our thoughts on Friday. Listed below are all of the Jiggles articles I’ve done this month. He is truly a survivor.

Elisa

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An after Christmas miracle for Jiggles — 41 Comments

  1. Good story, Elisa. I always feel like after an animal lives through that they owe their pawrents a guarantee that they will stay alive and healthy for the next 20 years, minimum.

    • Oh Elizabeth, you have no idea how crazy the upstate area of SC has gotten. Dogs dragged behind trucks, dogs shot, dogs hit by cars and their owners not take them to the vet. I’m almost afraid to look at my messages every day, things are so bad. No way would I have an outdoor cat these days. I’d be a nervous wreck.

      And in the middle of all of this Jiggles mom had to have surgery on her nose and daddy was running himself bonkers trying to take care of mom and have time to visit Jiggles at the clinic.

      Please share the story as the donations haven’t hit goal yet.

      • Elisa, what happened to upstate SC? At one time, was it a nice place? Did it degenerated because of the economic crisis that America is now pulling out of (we are told)?

        • Crack and meth(drugs) is what happened to upstate SC. The man who dragged Andra Grace had a criminal history a mile long. Judges here can’t (or won’t) give jail time for animal cruelty offenses. Neither will they forbid the convicted of owning pets in the future. The puppy mill raid owner is now back selling dogs. There are just some really evil people wandering the streets who half a century ago would be working on a chain gang. People hurt animals for kicks here now. Thank goodness there are groups who know how to do the fundraisers and to help get treatment. I’m still in a decent area myself, but I wouldn’t have an outdoor cat. Between the neighbor down the road saying he killed a cat and the neighbor next to me saying a coyote got one of their cats and maybe a second cat, mine are all indoors only. The trouble is pet owners don’t know how cruel some people are until it affects them personally.

          • And yes, if I make the readers here paranoid about allowing their cats outside unsupervised-GOOD! Maybe I helped save its little life from God only knows what. Woody, for one….

            • I am always talking with people who have outdoor or indoor/outdoor cats (friends, family) about all the significant dangers! When I was a kid we had a cat, Charles, who was indoor/outdoor.. Probably outdoor 85% of the time. He was always healthy, never had a problem, and lived to be 17. Now days, that same community where he lived most of his life is overrun by coyotes, has traps set by animal control, hunters who shoot cats for the heck of it, etc! He wouldn’t have lasted a year out there if it was like this back then. The days of having a cat outdoors, who lives a safe and happy life are over. There are very few areas where I think it would be even slightly safe.

              • You’d have to have a wall the cat couldn’t climb. And then you’d have to hope someone wouldn’t come into your yard and steal the cat from inside the fence. Some people do that now just to get the reward money or to use the cats and dogs as dogfighting bait.

              • …another home goal for exceptionalism? Ok – I won’t go there since it’s obvious.

                I would be terrified living with fear of such people around me and near me. It must be awful that you can’t safely let your pets outisde. That is an oxymoron. Animals are not made for living indoors and I know because I keep mine indoors and it’s hard work. I’m sorry but I think it’s a great irony of our times that the land of the free and home of the brave is apparently one of the most unsafe places in the world for animals.

  2. I just LOVE the photo of Jiggles with the Fox Carolina camera pointed right at him. The news media around here have finally realized they have a gold mine in sharing human interest stories. People love reading stories of animal survival. The news stations have really stepped up to get the word out about pets in need this year.

    • Animal survival stories are popular, I agree. Another one is firefighters gently holding a kitten…Sorry if I am being a bit of an old grump but…it would be nice if there was as much focus and interest in the millions of healthy cats put down at shelters because no one wants them. These lives are as important. They just don’t feed the news media. Bottom line it is about bucks. Sorry guys for being so realistic.

        • I know you are excellent on the “real stories” but the mainstream press are less interested in shelter euthanasia than some heroic animal rescue. It is a bit typical of the human species.

          I am pleased that Fox Carolina is doing more for shelter cats. Thesec cats need a higher profile to stop the killing.

          • The United States is on a mission these days for tougher animal cruelty laws. Especially in states that rank near the bottom. SC is #45 in worst laws.

            There are a lot more animal advocates and crossposters out there who try to get the word out about individual cats and dogs needing rescue. A lot of animals who were abused end up at the shelter when their owner’s dump them out in someone else’s yard. The rescue groups in my area even pull some of the death row cats and take them to adoption events each weekend. It’s a mass effort and it’s never enough. You’d like my group of friends Michael. We network till our fingers curl up and won’t unbend.

            The shelter in Greenville has more events now where they offer discounts on adult cats. That helps. Some days I feel my head will explode just trying to keep up with everything.

            • Elisa you do great things – all that networking and cross posting is actual real action with a real affect on animals who are lucky enough to be helped through your network of people who want to help.

              • I’ve heard back that every adoption article I’ve written has led to the cat or dog finding a home. That’s a good feeling. I choose the animals carefully and a lot get left unwritten about because they’re in high kill shelters where they could be euthanized before anyone had time to act on an article. My full time job ends Jan. 1 and I hope I can write more from home.

      • Until the problem of cat overpopulation is addressed using a “no birth” approach, meaning all cats must be spayed or neutered, the problem is only going to get worse.

        People argue between no-kill shelters and open admission shelters and neither of those have fixed the problem. While no kill shelters don’t euthanize, they may have to put a cat owner on a waiting list for weeks or months, leaving the owner to just abandon the animal out in the middle of nowhere. I’m not a PETA fan by any means, because PETA is responsible for a lot of deaths as well as misguided beliefs. But check out this article. http://www.peta.org/blog/kill-answer-animal-homelessness/

        Open intake shelters must euthanize to handle the sheer number of animals that come through their doors on a daily basis. Greenville residents are trying to get no-kill started in the area because everyone is sick to death of the number of cats euthanized on a weekly basis.

        Free or very low cost spay/neuter would do a lot toward fixing the problem. So would allowing rescue groups to pull the animal without paying a fee. Rescues have enough to worry about with the vet bills trying to get the animal healthy enough for adoption.

        I’m curious. How are shelters handled in the U.K. Michael?

        • Elisa this makes me so angry.

          You say the low cost neutering would really help.

          But to me the real problem is that people who can’t or won’t pay for the surgery are keeping cats anyway.

          It;s simple – if they can’t look after a cat properly then they shouldn’t have one. The REAL problem is that they feel they ‘can have’ one anyway. That to me is the honest to god bottom line. Cats are not disposable. Cats can only be ‘taken’ and ‘kept’ if it is sensible and reasonable to do so.

          My feeling is that in the US the percentage of people who are irresponsible consumers with an attitude of everything being for them and at their ‘disposal’ is large. Too many people behave as if the entire world was given to them to do with it what they please. Either way – they haven’t done a good job of it and now it’s a kind of genocide going on with animals over there.

          My feeling is that in one day in the US, as many animals are killed as would be killed in one year in countries like England and probably it would take a good ten years in Switzerland to kill the same amount of animals that are killed in Los Angeles alone in one single day.

          That to me is a massive wide open failure – I’m just glad that Elisa and poeple who care are around and fighting.

          I kind of feel like I should go and fight too.

          • Fighting is tiring. Especially when you realize you can only save a few by writing about them. I pick my battles carefully these days and try not to get depressed about the ones that can’t be saved. Vet bills are outrageous these days. Jiggles life support ran about $1,000 per day.

            One problem I see is that too many people want to get their pet from a freebie ad. They don’t take into account the amount charged for spay/neuter and vaccines and tests. For a male cat to be vetted at a private vet in my area, where there’s no clinic without shipping the cat off to a town 80 miles away, it’s $165. Shelters are a much safer, and cost effective way of getting a cat.

        • I agree that very low cost spay/neutering services, vaccinations, and vet services would help make a difference in the number of cats surrendered.
          Nothing is so cut and dry that I can say that, anyone who can’t afford a cat, shouldn’t get one or keep one. Circumstances change in peoples’ lives – job loss, divorce, death of a spouse…
          Should an elderly person be forced to surrender their much loved companion just because a partner dies and that income goes away? Does this person need to watch their sick/ailing pet just die because they can’t afford medical help or even the fee to humanely euthanize.
          These are situations happening every day in America.
          There is a real need to have something in place to help.
          I, also, agree that shelter animals should be released to rescue groups AT NO CHARGE!

          KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, ELISA!
          “THEY” CAN’T MAKE US SHUT UP!

  3. Elisa, you are confusing No Kill open admission shelters with private shelters that limit intakes in order to avoid killing. Some such private shelters are actually hoarders who make it difficult or impossible to adopt their animals.

    There are a growing number of open admission No Kill shelters in the US. In those shelters, cats are not killed and no animal is refused admission. Reno, NV and Austin, TX are two large municipal shelters that have better than a ninety percent save rate. They do not kill for space, but only in the case of severely ill or injured animals with little or no hope for recovery or those animals whose temperaments clearly are beyond rehabilitation. Feral cats are desexed and returned to their original location or, if that is not possible, placed where they will be permitted to exist without harm or interference.

    If you haven’t yet read them, please check out the eleven proven practices of the No Kill Equation, which you can find on the website of the No Kill Advocacy Center.

    • I’ve been covering the no-kill meeting held in Greenville. I wish they would go no-kill. The number euthanized is heartbreaking. But what happens when a no-kill shelter is FULL? As in no room for even one more cat? That’s what I find confusing.

      • Ten years ago, Nathan Winograd was hired to run an open admission shelter in rural upstate NY, outside of Ithaca. When he took over, the shelter was full. Someone brought in a cat with a litter and the staff waited expectantly for Mr. Big Talk About No Kill to face the need to kill the mama cat and her newborn litter. He did not. He moved stuff around, secured a large crate and set up housekeeping for mama cat. He started on day one encouraging adoptions and foster care. He reached out to the community and expected and got help from the many people who cared. He implemented all eleven of the principles of the No Kill Equation and they worked. Today, long after he has moved on to other things, Tompkins County open admission animal shelter is still a No Kill shelter. They do not kill for space. Such shelters are staffed by people who are dedicated to keeping all the animals alive. They develop and implement whatever programs fit their community and they do not kill animals for being homeless.

        One of the biggest casualties of kill shelters is the feral cat population. Feral cats, those born wild and not socialized to people, do not adapt well to being in shelters or homes. They should never be placed in animal shelters. They should be trapped, desexed, vaccinated and released back where they were found, if possible. If that isn’t possible, there are always people who can be found to permit feral cats to be placed on their rural properties.

        Calgary, Alberta, Canada has been No Kill for years, not because of Nathan Winograd, but by the simple expediency of making a dog license a free ride home. Any animal control officer picking up a stray dog with a license tag is required to return the animal to its owner at the last known address, completely bypassing the shelter. It will not surprise you to learn that Calgary has better than 90% compliance with their licensing laws. Cat owners are lobbying to get their pets licensed as well.

        People who care about animals, who consider their lives valuable, will do whatever it takes to find the animals homes, whether it is returning lost pets to owners, finding foster care for neonates that cannot survive a shelter environment, setting up adoption events off site on a frequent basis and counting on people to be the solution instead of viewing them as the problem. Some of the commenters above have the mindset that people are the problem. Those are not the kind of people who are successful in running a humane shelter that partners with local residents to get pets into good loving homes as quickly as possible.

        • Some of the commenters above have the mindset that people are the problem.

          Love your comment, Marguerite, but surely the people are both the problem and the solution? This not a cat problem. It can’t be. They are acting naturally and we cannot expect anymore.

          Also, there shouldn’t be a need for shelters if every cat caretaker was as good as the best cat caretaker. Surely the real answer is to cut off supply of cats not to find cleaver ways to deal with the oversupply?

          • Your first fallacy is that there is an oversupply. There is not. There may be areas where the number of cats suitable for adoption may temporarily exceed the homes available, but that can simply be dealt with by utilizing rescue and foster care to get the cats out of the shelter and into a more appropriate situation for the cats in question, even relocating them to areas that do not have as many homeless cats. Maddie’s Fund did a study to determine the scope of the “overpopulation” problem in pets and learned that there was no overpopulation problem. The problem was that shelters rarely did anything to put their pets in front of the pet seeking public and what little they did was not terribly effective. There are many reasons for that, which I am not going to go into here, but the bottom line is that there are far more homes seeking to acquire pets than there are pets to satisfy the demand and that includes cats.

            Your second fallacy is to impose an impossible condition on prospective owners of cats; that they should all be as good as the best owners. Who decides what that best looks like? What is appropriate for one cat may not be appropriate for another. One person has litter pans all over the house, several water dishes, pet beds and cat toys everywhere; another pet owner may have one litter box, one water bowl, no cat toys and no cat beds and the cat only gets fed a dry supermarket food. Would you decide owner number two should not be allowed to own a cat because that cat will not live the life that the first owner’s cat lives?

            It is these types of arbitrary “standards” enforced by some shelters and rescues that result in cats being killed because the “perfect” owner didn’t materialize.

      • Elisa, I don’t think it is confusing. What would happen is the shelter would stop taking in cats. If that situation was multiplied across all shelters of the country it would either (a) place huge pressure on government to force people to act more responsibly because there would be an unwanted cat crisis for a while. The crisis would force change. The shelters by killing surplus cats maintain the status quo – the current situation which is not working. People can be irresponsible because the shelter will euthanise…or (b) force shelters to adopt different methods to save lives. There are ways. It just needs a different approach.

  4. The REAL problem is that they feel they ‘can have’ one anyway.

    Marc stated that and he is right as usual. People should only keep cats if they can afford it in terms money, time and energy and have the knowledge. Then they would neuter/spay their cat etc and do a decent caretaking job.

    Instead some people treat adopting a cat as if they were buying a fridge. When the fridge breaks down they bin it and buy a new one. To the bad owners, cats are consumable items.

    That is the underlying problem. We need a change in mentality. It is very hard to change the mentality of millions of people as it is part of their culture.

    • Too many people adopt a cat on a whim and haven’t thought it through like they should have. I wish there was some way for anyone who’s thinking of adding a cat to the family would have to foster a cat first just to see if they want to commit the next 20 years or so to a cat.

      I actually had a man tell me he had gotten his wife a cat for a gift. Then he asked how long the cat should live. I told him the cat would most likely outlast his marriage. He was shocked to learn cats can live a couple of decades. He though 5 years was average.

      • You see, Elisa, it is ignorance…it is not maliciousness, just a lack of knowledge and carelessness. People take more time over buying a car than a cat. They do more research.

      • Elisa, I like the foster cat “trial” idea. It would help the potential cat carer better understand cats and it would home an unwanted cat for a while (good cat shelter procedure). Perhaps there should be a law on this?

        • Why not? There are high schools in the U.S. where students get a “baby” that cries in the middle of the night and who won’t be quiet until several things such as walking, burping or singing are performed on it. These baby models teach the girls what it’s really like to have a baby. So cat fostering before ownership makes sense. It would also work for those who want a cat to stay a kitten forever. Keep the kitten until an opening comes up on the adoption floor, then switch it out with one on the euth list. You’ve saved a life until an opening was made and you get to have “kittens” forever.

  5. I’m very proud of Jiggles family. They could have taken the easy way out and dumped him at the shelter. They took responsibility and sought out help. You can see in their photos with Jiggles how much they love him.

  6. Michael- your comment “Also, there shouldn’t be a need for shelters if every cat caretaker was as good as the best cat caretaker. Surely the real answer is to cut off supply of cats not to find cleaver ways to deal with the oversupply?” is so incredibly true. It is heartbreaking to see all the “please save this cat” posts on Facebook- such beautiful cats that through no fault of their own end up in kill shelters.. we must find a way to stop this endless tragedy.

    I bless the folks that keep on keeping on- trying to save these homeless animals- giving them permanent loving homes.

    • I have the utmost admiration for the unknown woman operating a small TNR program somewhere against the odds and with some criticism – and doing it year in and year out. These are the heroines.

    • I have been at the Greenville shelter an hour before they open, as well as during “rush hour” when people are lined up thirty feet out the door with animals to “drop off.” One every four minutes for every hour the shelter is open is what the research shows. Sometimes as many as 200 animals coming in a day. The shelter holds 600. Back in the summer there was room made to house 1000, which really sacrificed the health of the animals. The shelter had to shut down for 2 weeks because of an outbreak.

      What would happen if the shelter told people they simply couldn’t take any more animals? Then people would likely drive down a country road and dump them. Is there a risk of that happening in Greenville if it ever goes no-kill? That I don’t know. There are people now who want the shelter to go no-kill. No one likes to follow the cat and dog stories only to learn their time ran out.

      I don’t know about shelters elsewhere, but Greenville would benefit from waiving the pull fee for rescues.

      Keep in mind Greenville also gets the strays brought in by Spartanburg Animal Control, which includes tons of kittens.

      We have to stop the reproduction. Maybe the state needs to ban animals from being adopted from the freebies. At least when the kittens go to the shelter they’re spay/neutered before being adopted out.

  7. UPDATE FRIDAY EVENING!!!

    Dr. Randall just called and stated that the surgery went well and that Jiggles now has his new braces attached. He will have to stay till Monday at Foothills Veterinary Hospitalbecause the surgery ended so late in the day.

    However, by Monday, Jiggles should be able to return home for his 12-14 week recovery. Dr. Randall also stated that Jiggles should be able though to get around pretty good in the interim on his Android legs. LOL

    I really can’t thank you enough for making this all possible. But, let me do it once more – Thank You! Deb @ The Community Pet Project – See more at: http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/let-s-mend-jiggles-in-time-for-christmas-/116082/update/105800#sthash.rcrB1nro.dpuf

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