From Broken to Beloved: Tony’s Story
Having been reportedly thrown from a window, Tony was in need of help and special care when we first met him at the ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH).
Initially brought to the Animal Medical Center (AMC) in August 2021, Tony was in severe shock and close to dying when he first arrived. AMC rushed to stabilize Tony, giving him a blood transfusion. The two-year-old resilient cat remained at AMC for three days, and once stable enough, was brought to us at AAH.
“Tony was initially housed in AAH because he had so many fractures and needed intravenous pain control,” explains Dr. Aubrey Crowley, Medical Supervisor at the ASPCA Animal Recovery Center (ARC). “He was in a lot of pain from his injuries and would growl when you handled him. He never attempted to scratch or bite though; I think his growling was just his way of telling us he’s hurt.”
Having fallen from an unknown distance out of the window, Tony had many serious injuries as a result. He had broken his left radius/ulna (forearm bones), his right femur (thigh bone) and his right third metacarpal (hand bone). He had also broken a majority of his teeth and had pulmonary contusions or bruising of the lungs.
Dr. J’mai Gayle, Director of Surgery at AAH, performed surgery the day after Tony came in to repair his right thigh bone. She also helped the staff at ARC manage his left forearm splint. Tony remained on cage rest for eight weeks to allow his fractures to heal.
“He was still lame on his right hind leg at the eight-week mark, even though on the x-ray, it looked like everything had healed,” says Dr. Crowley. “Dr. Gayle suspected that the implant was irritating his knee joint and removed the implant. His gait improved after, but he was still slightly lame, and Dr. Gayle suspected he would be for life, so he was started on a joint supplement to help preserve his cartilage in that knee.”
In addition, Tony was neutered and had a dental procedure to extract all his broken teeth. Like the strong guy he is, Tony recovered well.
After his surgery, Tony gradually became much more comfortable.
“As he did, his personality as a super sweet, affectionate cat started to emerge,” remembers Dr. Crowley. “He was a staff favorite here, both ARC and AAH staff loved him.”
When Tony was moved from AAH to ARC he showed some social behavior but was nervous of being approached at times. He also showed signs of stress when there was a lot of commotion in nearby rooms and had some handling sensitivities.
“He would hiss or growl when handled or picked up,” explains Samantha Nigbur, Behavioral Sciences Team Counselor at ARC. “It’s unclear if his defensive behavior was due to pain or if he was sensitive to handling since he required quite a bit in the beginning for his medical treatment.”
To help Tony feel less stressed out and defensive, he was given more cage space once medically appropriate.
“The Behavior team also conducted daily socialization and behavior modification sessions where we monitored his handling sensitivities and tried to help him build more positive associations with being handled,” says Samantha.
“We also worked with medical and played around with his gabapentin dosing—a pain management drug that is also used to reduce anxiety,” adds Marny Nofi, Director of Feline Behavior. “Luckily within just a couple of weeks post-surgery, he was showing a reduction in handling sensitivities and fear of being approached.”
Now healed, Tony was ready to find a loving home.
Bright Lights in Dark Times
Will M. had previously adopted from the ASPCA, so when it came time for him to search for a cat, he knew exactly where to go.
“I knew they would match me with the perfect cat,” says Will. “They asked me a few questions about what I was looking for in a cat and they sent me a few descriptions. All cats are different, but the ASPCA really takes the time out to match you with your new pet.”
Tony caught Will’s eye, and soon enough, Will was at the ASPCA Adoption Center meeting his new feline for the first time.
“When I went to meet Tony he jumped right out of his room, sat in my lap and started playing with me,” recalls Will.
On Will’s way home with Tony, Tony remained quiet in his carrier. When they arrived, it took Tony a few minutes to come out of the carrier and hesitantly explore the apartment. But it wasn’t long until Tony felt at home.
“It took him all of 20 minutes before he was exploring his new toys and cat bed,” says Will.
Since being adopted last November, Tony and Will have become best friends and the best part of each other’s days.
“I adopted Tony at a low point in my life,” explains Will. “His sweet disposition has made a world of difference. It’s so amazing to see how comfortable he has gotten. Coming home from work and hearing his little paws running to the door when I come in is the highlight of my day.”
Not only has Tony gotten comfortable in his new home, but he is loving everything and everyone this great big world has to offer.
“Tony is the friendliest cat I have ever met,” says Will. “Any time I answer the door he runs and waits by it because he thinks everyone is there to see him. He also loves traveling. I’ve never had a cat that enjoys going to other apartments or even just along for the ride. I got him a little cat backpack and within two minutes he had already jumped in and was ready to head out for an adventure!”