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Every day I see new social media updates and Facebook pages popping up with fundraisers and pleas to help save sick or injured cats, or sharing inspirational stories of cats who have been rescued and have had to overcome great odds to survive. Recent stories in which online communities have successfully come to aid of cats in need are the case of the missing deaf kitty who was reunited with its owner through Twitter, and a cat named Trooper, who had his leg and tail removed after being found stuck to a patch of ice. The cat's story raised thousands of followers (and dollars) through Facebook, and even got him recognized by a rock band of the same name.
I was also really touched recently when one of my readers who lives in California told me that he found out about Maloos, the Iranian special needs cat who was brought to San Francisco for medical treatment, from reading about him here on Catsparella. Cristian even went so far as to visit the cat at Animal Care & Control San Francisco and shared (on Facebook, natch), "Even after everything the poor guy has been through (having his leg amputated, having a bullet in his nose), he's the sweetest little guy. Thank you for letting your readers know about him. Together we can help find this wonderful little fella a loving home."
The latest social media success story started with a thoughtless act of cruelty that could have very easily ended in tragedy. Angela and Carrie Russell were traveling down a busy highway in Tysons Corner, Va. last week when they saw a tiny, black kitten who had been thrown out of a car laying helplessly in the middle of the road. The quick thinking sisters rescued the black cat, who they later named Jade, and brought her to the vet where they discovered she had a badly broken pelvis, but was otherwise in good shape.
Unwilling to see the 5-week-old kitten euthanized because of a treatable injury, Carrie started the Help Save Jade Facebook page in order to raise money for the kitten's costly surgery. In just a few days, they were able to raise $900 through a ChipIn page, and found themselves overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers who were moved by the kitten's story. Fortunately, Jade's most recent check-up revealed that she will not need the surgery after all, and her pelvic bones will be allowed to fuse back together as she grows. The vet feels that Jade will always walk with a limp, but will otherwise grow up to be a healthy cat.
They are now going to keep a close eye on her as the break heals, and have offered to either return the money that was donated, or give it to the two animal organizations that helped save her life, including the Jarrettsville Veterinary Center who provided her with free care, and RedRover.org, a non-profit organization designed to bring animals from crisis to care.
In the meantime, Carrie plans to continue posting updates on Jade's progress, and in one of her most recent Facebook postings explains just how important the power of the social media was in saving the little cat's life:
"(All of you) SAVED Jade's life!!! If we hadn't had the support and encouragement to get the word out about Jade, we wouldn't have met the vet who was able to help (she found out about Jade through a tweet of the Help Save Jade Facebook page). If we hadn't gotten so many assurances from personal donors and two major organizations, that we could all find a way to pay for her treatment together, we would have had no choice but to give Jade up to a shelter, in hopes that they could save her, but most likely she would have been put to sleep. It's the outstanding community support that helped us fight for Jade's life, without it we couldn't have kept calling and searching for options or surgeons/vets willing to help! Again, it was the instant support that gave us courage to not take the first no's for an answer, and to keep caring for Jade when the big "E" word was a common response to her case. Thank you :) (many times over)."