The morning of July 29 began the same as always for Splash; a long stretch in his condo cage, a little breakfast, and some TLC from Humane Society of Tampa Bay (HSTB) staff. Little did he know that he would soon become the hero in a story with a very happy ending.
July 29th dawned less sunny for Pailey, an 11-year-old pet cat who was suffering from severe anemia. She had become increasingly weak and was no longer able to eat or stand. The only thing that could save her life was a blood transfusion. On a referral from Tampa Bay Veterinary Emergency Service, she contacted the Humane Society of Tampa Bay’s Animal Health Center.
The veterinarians at the Animal Health Center were more than willing to help, the only thing they needed was a donor. Enter Splash.
“I received a call from one of our veterinarians asking if we had a shelter cat who could serve as a blood donor for a client who was dying,” said HSTB Director of Shelter Operations Pam Backer. “Although we’ve done many transfusions between dogs, we’ve never tried it with cats. But, there was a pet in need so I immediately began looking for a suitable donor.”
Splash met the criteria. Not only was he the right age, but he was large and strong and had no health issues. The handsome black and white cat with speckles on his feet and a splash of white on his nose had been turned in to HSTB when his owner developed allergies. When Backer approached his cage, he hopped right up to greet her.
“I told him we were going to have a little adventure together,” said Backer. “I also promised him a big can of wet food and extra cuddles when it was all over. He settled right into my arms, he was game!”
The transfusion went smoothly and within hours of the treatment, Pailey was alert, vocalizing and ready to go home. Her owner was visibly moved when she saw the difference in her pet who had been near death just hours before. When shown a picture of Splash, the homeless cat who had saved Pailey, her eyes filled with tears. “Thank you so much,” she said. “I don’t know what we would have done without you.”
As Pailey traveled home to recover, Splash napped comfortably in his cage with a belly full of wet food, a hero’s reward.
Photos: Humane Society of Tampa Bay