The New Year’s fires that devastated homes and property, also spelled disaster for many of our furry friends. Both pets and native animals have a high risk of injury when trying to escape from a fast moving unpredictable fire. This is the story of two cats caught in the fires who are very lucky to be alive.
With a bushfire raging towards her property and evacuation the only option, Glenys tried in vain to get her beloved cats Norma and Percy into the car and out of harm’s way. Sadly with all the commotion of flames, sirens and water bombing, the cats panicked and ran. Having no choice but to leave herself, all Glenys could do was pray they would be ok.
When Glenys was finally able to return to her property, a devastating scene met her. Everything was gone - her home was lost to the flames. She searched frantically for the cats and found a very scared and singed Percy, his feet burned from running through the embers. After getting him to Vetwest Canning Vale for immediate veterinary care, she returned to resume her search for Norma who was nowhere to be found. The days passed and Glenys feared the worst – that Norma had been killed in the fire. After almost a week Norma was finally found hiding under some vegetation. Badly burned and dehydrated but lucky to be alive, she too was brought in to Vetwest to begin immediate veterinary attention for her burns.
Norma was placed on intravenous fluids and antibiotics were administered along with pain relief. She then underwent surgery to remove the dead skin from her paws under anaesthetic.
For the next few weeks both cats had daily wet bandaging, physiotherapy and pain management. Percy's wounds were not as severe as Norma’s. He healed quickly and was able to be reunited with his owner and head off to a new home with her after three weeks in hospital.
Norma had sustained more severe burns however, with all four feet being burned through to her bones and tendons exposed. After such a devastating loss for her owner, Vetwest decided to donate time and treatment for as long as it took to get Norma back on her feet.
This was only the beginning of a long journey of recovery for Norma.
Since January Norma has become part of the Vetwest Canning Vale family. After months of bandaging, wound care, physiotherapy, pain management, two surgeries and LOTS of tender loving care by the staff, Norma is doing well and almost ready to leave hospital and be reunited with her family. It will be a strange feeling – not being met by Norma’s hello meows each morning, but we are all looking forward to getting her home where she belongs.