Blog author: 
Anne Zabolio

LilaSaturday night, October 8th, the manager of Flores Restaurant on Highway 290 in Dripping Springs called Thundering Paws to report a cat lying in their parking lot, probably having been hit by a car. We got there around 6 p.m. to find a tortoiseshell cat who could not walk, but who was decidedly not going into the box that a kind family was trying to use to save her. I asked that family to name her, and they suggested "Hopper," because she could only hop, and could do that only poorly. Scott coaxed her into a carrier, and we rushed her to Emergency Animal Hospital of Northwest Austin's (EAHNA) southwest branch, which is behind Central Market South. These wonderful people give us a discount, and they came through for us again.

Even I, a lay person, upon seeing the x-rays, said, "AAAKK!" They showed a crushed pelvis and a broken left femur. I rapidly called or texted a number of our donors, who promised enough in donations to cover her emergency hospital stay. We gave permission for EAHNA to treat her until Monday morning.

The vet at EAHNA said that pinning the leg would be much more costly than amputating it. Sadly, I tried to accept that we probably could not save her leg. However, I always say, "Serendipity rules Thundering Paws." We held our regular volunteer afternoon on Sunday. A young woman, Mahria B, who comes on Sundays with either her mother or father, had just had her Bat Mitzvah and wanted to share some of her monetary gifts with Thundering Paws. Her dad offered to match her donation. I opened the envelope they gave me and was amazed to find enough money to get Hopper's leg pinned instead of amputated. Of course, I burst into tears.

While I was thus engaged--in sobbing--Scott made up some flyers and posted them around Flores Restaurant. Within a few hours, a woman called and asked for a picture of the cat, which we sent her. She confirmed that this was "her" cat, Lila, whom she had not seen in a few days. "Her" is in quotation marks because the kind woman cannot take cats into her home because of allergies, but she does spay/neuter, and feed the cats who accumulate--whether by being dumped or being feral--around the restaurant. She has Lila's vet records and is happy to help. Since she cannot take the cat inside, I asked if she could stay here. I would not put a handicapped cat back outside. Her rescuer readily assented.

Monday morning we arrived at the emergency hospital before 7, and took her to Animal Trustees of Austin's (ATA) surgery clinic. A Thundering Paws donor who also works with ATA had arranged this amazing gift.. I was told the price of the pinning and, thanks to everyone, we could afford. However, try as he might to pin the bone, Dr. Lewis could not get the bone to hold the metal, and the leg had to be amputated after all. I was grateful--although Lila will hardly care--that the amputation was not due to lack of funds.

After surgery, she was released to our care. Again, I said, "AAAAKKK!" because I did not feel confident caring for a barely post surgical patient. We returned her to EAHNA for the night, picked her up on Tuesday, and took her to Oak Hill Veterinary Clinic, where Dr. Lynanne Mockler diagnosed the poor cat with hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease.

When a cat stops eating for a few days, she or he can develop this condition. The liver makes fat cells, which, released, nauseate the cat, making her unwilling to eat. (Not being a vet, I am either oversimplifying or not understanding or both.) The cure for this condition is eating. Therefore, the cat must be force fed. Fortunately, Lila does not object to this and she willingly swallows all we syringe into her mouth. She is disinterested in eating on her own.

On returning to Oak Hill Veterinary Clinic on Wednesday for a dressing change (her right hind leg has a raw spot, presumably from "road burn"), we also found her to be running a fever of 104 degrees, and we were not sure if she had urinated. Dr. Mockler gave her fluids. We took her home again.

She is on antibiotics; being fed every two hours; under observation for urination (she did--yea!), and for defecation (not yet); being given subcutaneous fluids daily; on pain medications; and has had a major surgical procedure--no wonder this cat is a bit out of it! This morning, Thursday, when I approached her cage, she said, "Mrow!" the first word I have heard her utter except to hiss when outside Flores Restaurant. She was quite a bit more bright eyed. She resisted being given water orally. I see these as good signs.

She returns to Oak Hill Veterinary Clinic tomorrow, Friday, for observation and a dressing change. I will keep you updated on her progress.

Any donations for Lila's care will be appreciated. PayPal donations made be made on our website at

You can mail donations to: Thundering Paws, P.O. Box 1555, Dripping Springs, TX 78620. If you would like to make Visa, MasterCard, or Discover donations, please e-mail me your phone number at, and I will gladly call you.

Thank you for caring about Lila.

Anne Zabolio
Thundering Paws Animal Sanctuary


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