Cat returned to family after dangerous misadventure
Mom, Shannon Stevenson with her son Dominick Whitney,13, and their long lost cat Lexi who was recently found after she was shot and had to have one of her legs amputated in Calgary on Sunday October 15, 2017. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia
When Shannon Stevenson's cat, Lexi, went missing from her northeast home two years ago, she searched everywhere but eventually gave up hope of ever seeing her grey tabby again.
Then, on Wednesday, Stevenson got a phone call out of the blue from the Calgary Humane Society: they had Lexi — but she had suffered a gunshot wound to the leg that would likely require amputation.
"I was very shocked. I just thought she was gone. I'd mourned her already," Stevenson said.
Stevenson — who was contacted thanks to a pet identification tattoo — was now faced with a tough decision: euthanize the cat or proceed with an expensive procedure without insurance.
"I just got my cat back, there's no way I'm going to lose her again," said Stevenson. "I said, 'things will work out in the end, just go for it.' "
Lexi had the surgery Thursday morning to remove the injured left front leg, which had been completely shattered by a bullet.
"When you’ve got just little pieces to try to put the bones back together, you’ll have less pain and much more improvement in terms of their quality of life if you just take the leg off," said Dr. Shelby Kimura, of McKnight 24-hour Veterinary Hospital where Lexi was treated.
"The recovery is faster as well. Surprisingly, they do well almost right away."
Within hours, Lexi was up and hopping around the exam table, and Stevenson has been able to take her home to her son.
"This cat is an unbelievable fighter," Stevenson said. "I'm still in shock."
Kimura said it's unfortunately not uncommon for pets to be injured by pellet guns or other firearms.
"It does happen. Most commonly we see animals with BB pellets, but this is not that — I have no idea what kind of bullet it is, because it’s just little fragments left within (Lexi’s) leg," Kimura said.
Kimura said Lexi's story is also proof of the value of getting pets microchipped or tattooed.
Stevenson said she's grateful to everyone who has contributed funds so far to help with Lexi's medical bills and delighted to be reunited with her cat, who instantly recognized her even after all this time.
"The cat went straight to me, she started purring and flipping around. It was a beautiful moment. She knew who I was, for sure."