When the ice is on your toes, you need fire in your heart if you plan to survive.
Vladimir had both of those in spades. Little did he know he was about to get a family whose love burns with the heat of ten billion stars.
Where we last left Vladimir, Survivor Of The North Brooklyn, he was toeless but triumphant, recovering from hypothermia, starvation and toe-freeze disease. Our orinch boy was well on his way to health…but the bigger best was still yet to come.
Don’t take it from me, though. This is where I hand the tale-telling off to Vlad’s dad:
“Shackleton just turned 14.
“Pounds, that is.
“It has been one year since our family adopted the orange tabby formerly known as Vladimir. He’s back from his first wellness visit to our vet, and other than being a ham (the grandstanding, showoff kind), he passed with flying colors. At 14 pounds, he’s also starting to be a bit a ham (the porky kind), but considering his history of near-starvation, we can’t bring ourselves to put him on a diet.
“If you remember Vladimir, he was rescued from a frozen January Brooklyn street by a very, very Good Samaritan (really a Great Samaritan). He was then saved by Tabby’s Place, which lavished tremendous resources, constant care, and love on this starved, badly frostbitten orange foundling. We first saw his story on the Tabby’s Place blog, and couldn’t help but be drawn to this cat who had gone through such terrible times.
“When we first met him, Vladimir still had a feeding tube, bandages on his hind feet, was woozy from painkillers, and his fur was stiff and brittle. This was after weeks of intensive veterinary care and personal nursing by Denise. (When Denise was in the room, Vladimir’s eyes would follow her as she walked. It was very touching.) When he went home with us last April (2011) he weighed 8 pounds and was still limping badly on his back feet.
“Fast forward one year.
“Fragile no more, he’s actually a bit of a bruiser. He still shows a tiny bit of that old limp, but it doesn’t stop him from rocketing around the house and up and down stairs. When he goes around a corner fast or starts to run on a slick surface, he does look a bit like a cartoon cat as he skids; he has no traction control in the back, since he is missing all those toes. But he doesn’t seem to find that a problem.
“His name is now Shackleton, after the great explorer of the South Pole, Ernest Shacketon, who also suffered from frostbite. Our Shackleton now shares a house with two people (us) and one other indoor cat, our incumbent Digger. As fate would have it, we now have the two best cats in the world, and, of course, they don’t like each other. Oh well.
“So: Thank You, Great Samaritan and Thank You, Tabby’s Place. Who else would go to the lengths you went to for a frozen, stray catsicle? And Thank You also, all you blog-readers and cat-lovers, for supporting Tabby’s Place. We thank you, and a (just slightly) fat and happy orange tabby cat thanks you.”
If that isn’t enough to melt the frost on your heart (or toes), heaven help ye. But I have a feeling there are no hoary hearts from Ringoes to Brooklyn and beyond today.
Thank you, Vlad’s Dad & Mom, for bringing the toeless tabby’s story to its glorious fulfillment. From the very beginning, he was meant to be yours, and he’s loving every minute. You are the kind of human beans who keep the fire in our hearts at Tabby’s Place.