Suvivor cats title

Photo Credit: Sang Valte via Flickr

Everyone needs a little help sometimes. Nature can be unforgiving and mankind can be unspeakably cruel. Cats are often abandoned and left to fend for themselves. When the going gets tough, a little care and compassion can go a long way to bring out the survivor in a kitty.

4 Paws 1 Heart

Survivor Cats - 4P1H Logo

4 Paws 1 Heart is a 501c3 organization helping homeless animals in Metro Detroit.

4 Paws 1 Heart is an organization in Metro Detroit that helps to support the local animal rescues. They do not provide a shelter or fostering themselves, but they do provide funding for the medical treatment of homeless cats and dogs . Their mission statement is as follows: “Our mission is to reduce the number of homeless cats & dogs by paying for needed medical treatment and assisting with the permanent placement of these animals through our partnerships with local rescue groups.” They are local heros who have come alongside brave cats and dogs in their darkest of hours.

I had the honor of doing a phone interview with, Diana, one of the founders of 4 Paws 1 Heart.  She gave me the stories several of the survivor cats that 4 Paws 1 Heart has helped to rescue over the last few years. These stories are both heart breaking and heart warming at the same time. I promise that they all have a happy ending, but some of the “before” photos may be a bit graphic.

5 Pawsome Survivor Cats

Survivor #1: Izzy

Izzy was rescued just in time. One night this past January (2015), when it was below 0ºF  (-18ºC), a woman found Izzy shivering under her porch and made a call to 4 Paws 1 Heart. He was suffering from a severe upper respiratory infection. His eyes were so crusted over that the rescuers thought he was missing an eye! The drainage from his eyes and nose had frozen to his face and left his face red and raw. His mouth was full of ulcers that made it difficult for him to eat.

Izzy was rushed to the Animal Urgent and Critical Care where he received the best of care from 4 Paws 1 Heart’s other founder, Gina. He required IV fluids/meds, nebulizing treatments, syringe feeding, medications, and more. After about a week in the hospital he was able to be transferred to a foster home.

On March 3, 2015 Izzy found his forever home! He loves getting attention and, of course, food. It turns out that he’s a total lap cat!

Survivor Cats -Izzy Before and After

Izzy has come a long way!


Survivor #2: Minnow

Little Minnow was found in Novi, Michigan this past October wrapped in fishing line and with a fishing hook caught in her belly. The good samaritan that found her was kind enough to drive her all of the way to Animal Urgent and Critical Care (about an hour long drive). The veterinarians were able to successfully remove the fishing hook. It just missed her vital organs! Due to trauma and bacteria from the fishing hook, she had to loose a little skin.

After almost 3 weeks in the hospital, Minnow was released to a foster home. There is potential that the family fostering her will adopt her, but there has not been an official decision as of yet. She is an absolute cutie pie!

Survivor Cats - Minnow Before and After

Could she be any cuter?!


Survivor #3: Keller

Keller was only 10 weeks old when a woman heard him crying outside. He had an abnormality in both eyes and was very scared. The woman called 4 Paws 1 Heart and met with Gina in a parking lot to deliver the kitten. As it turned out, Keller had been born with a congenital abnormality in both eyes where the eyes were too small and the eye lids formed abnormally. Surgery had to be done to remove the eyes because one had ruptured and the other was destined to do the same. There was a high risk of aggressive cancer later in life if the eyes were not removed.

The great people of 4 Paws 1 Heart went to work raising the money for Keller’s $2,000 surgery. In about a week, Keller was on the surgery schedule. Keller had a little bit of a bad reaction to the surgery, but there was no permanent damage and it was otherwise successful.

Keller was in a foster home before he had his eye surgery. The family loved him so much, that they decided to adopt him themselves! Keller is a curious, playful, attention loving cat – and I hear he’s a good mouser too. He just loves his new doggy brother, Taz. Blindness does not slow this guy down at all!

Suvivior Cats - Keller Before and After

This brave kitty doesn’t let anything hold him back.


Survivor #4: Soup

There is a reason that this survivor cat is named Soup. A woman found him on a lawn with a soup can stuck on his head. The woman brought him to Animal Urgent and Critical Care to be freed from the can. After Soup was placed under anesthesia,  the soup can was carefully removed and he was neutered. On further investigation, veterinarians discovered that Soup was in more trouble than they had thought. He must have been attacked by another animal while the can was on his head. Soup’s tail had puncture wounds, his pelvis was shattered, and his femur was dislocated. He needed to see an orthopedic specialist. Soup’s recovery was slow, but steady.

Soup spent a little over a year in foster care before being adopted. He is a sweet kitty that loves belly rubs! His relationship with is new kitty sister, Whiskers, is coming along slowly but surely too.

Survivor Cats - Soup Before and After

Who doesn’t love a nap in a sun puddle?


How You Can Be a Kitty’s Hero

There are a number of ways you can be a hero to the survivor cats in your neighborhood:

  • Adopt a cat from a rescue or shelter.
  • Become a foster parent for homeless cats while they are looking for a forever home. There is a great need for fosters right now!
  • Volunteer at your local rescue or shelter. Any time or talent that you might have is helpful.
  • Donate money or participate in fundraisers for your local rescue or shelter.
  • Participate in your local law making practices and be a voice for pets.
  • Educate others about the needs of your local companion animal population.
  • Start a group like 4 Paws 1 Heart in your area and help fund what local rescues can’t.

If you are interested in learning more about or donating to 4 Paws 1 Heart, use the links below. They spent $84,000 last year alone on medical expenses for the homeless cats and dogs of Metro Detroit. Everything they do is volunteer. No one is on payroll and there is only 1 phone bill paid out of the donations received -everything else goes to the animals.

Do you know any survivor cats?