Ralph’s rescue

Nearly used up all nine lives before being saved

By KATHLEEN GILLULY
Outlook managing editor

Hopefully Ralph the cat is feeling so much better then he did a month ago, he has forgotten the ordeal that brought him to Friendship Vet to begin with. Thanks to a couple of kind-hearted humans, Ralph is alive and well. But, his story was close to being over before he began a new chapter of restored health in a happy home.
Found in a garage by a Park City family, Ralph was at death’s door on Dec. 12. The older feline was malnourished, his fur was matted and flea-ridden, his body temperature was so low the poor guy couldn’t stop shaking and his toes, ears and tail were frost bitten. Plus he stunk.
Ralph picked the right garage to try to seek shelter from cold temperatures and snow. When the resident discovered the emaciated and flea-bitten creature, he took the as-yet-unnamed cat to Friendship Veterinary Clinic in Laurel and paid to have him euthanized. The staff concurred with the rescuer’s analysis and planned to put him down.
The two vet techs on duty, Melissa Stahl and Melissa Losett said the poor creature caught their attention and they, along with Dr. Ken Podkonjak, decided to see if he might have a little life left in him.
“Before we could sedate him to clean him up, we had to raise his body temperature,” Stahl said “That took almost two days.” Afterwards, the two techs cleaned and pulled some of his teeth, shaved off his matted hair and began feeding him a high-protein diet.
“He’s now a clinic cat,” said Losett. “We named him Ralph from the ‘Christmas Story.’” The clinic already has two resident cats, but Ralph fits right in.
“He is friendly with everyone,” Stahl said. “But, normally we don’t keep every animal brought in to us.”
Ralph still has some healing to do. About half of his tail will fall off.
“It’s too damaged, you can feel where it turns hard, all that is dead,” said Losett. He is missing an ear and the pads of his feet are slowly recovering.
Ralph’s rescuer was so happy to hear of his recovery, he stops in occasionally to visit the cat he once thought was a lost cause.
“Even with a shelter pets can get out of the wind, but not away from the cold,” Losett said.

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