An injured cat, Mango, arrived at the Humane Society of Utah’s St. George Clinic with a gaping and infected face wound. A local rescue, One More Chance, had brought him to our clinic through our Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program. TNR involves fixing, vaccinating, and ear-tipping feral and stray cats, then returning them to their territory. TNR is a humane way to control the community cat population and stop the spread of fatal viruses, such as rabies and distemper.
An injured cat gets the help he needs
After assessing his injury, our veterinarian, Dr. Gray, realized the wound could not be sutured- it was too infected. So, she cleaned and debrided the injury in hopes of helping it contract down and heal together naturally. During Mango’s examination, Dr. Gray also noticed he had necrotic, or dead tissue, surrounding an old wound on his right front paw. The most likely cause was that Mango previously had something wrapped around his paw that restricted his blood flow for a considerable time.
As Dr. Gray carefully removed the dead tissue, she realized three of the toes were completely dead, and she’d only be able to save two of Mango’s five toes. Dr. Gray cleaned and debrided the injury, leaving only fresh, healthy tissue so the rest of his paw could heal. Dr. Gray shared, “As soon as we became aware of Mango’s disability, we knew he couldn’t be released to live as a feral cat. It wouldn’t be safe for him. So, we called Kris Neil, owner of One More Chance, to ensure Mango would have a safe place to live after his surgery. Kris said that Mango could live with her until she could find a good home for him, which relieved me greatly.”
Because Mango’s right front paw was now permanently in the unmistakable “hang loose” sign, the ultimate symbol of Aloha in Hawaii serving as a reminder not to worry or rush, HSU’s St. George staff lovingly nicknamed him “Shaka.” Since Mango proved unusually chill for a feral cat, even coming off as sweet and friendly, his new nickname suited him perfectly.
Mango was so friendly that our St. George team found it hard to believe that he grew up as a feral cat. Upon further research, our team discovered that Mango most likely lived in a home with two other cats until his owner died a year ago. The other two cats were caught and rehomed, but the third cat remained missing ever since.
After Dr. Gray cared for Mango’s wounds and completed his neuter, vaccinations, ear tipping, and an umbilical hernia repair, she sent Mango home to recover with Kris. But as the weeks passed, Dr. Gray realized that she missed him. She felt a special bond with Mango and found herself considering adopting him. Dr. Gray explained, “The issue was I’d just had a baby and didn’t think it was an ideal time for me to bring home a new cat.”
Still, she worried about Mango and occasionally reached out to Kris to ensure he was happy and healthy. “Kris shared with me that Mango had taken on the role of “cat nanny” at her rescue as he was cuddling and caring for the other cats, especially the kittens. Mango is so sweet; it sounded exactly like something he’d do.”
A few weeks later, Mango visited Dr. Gray for a check-up to ensure his paw and face were healing nicely. Dr. Gray was excited to see her darling Shaka. She’d missed him fiercely. During their reunion, Dr. Gray realized she was madly in love with this hang loose disabled cat with the scarred-up face. He’d stolen her heart, and after learning that he still hadn’t found a permanent home, Dr. Gray decided to adopt him. She knew Mango would happily take on the role of ‘cat nanny’ to her newborn baby.
Months after adopting him, Dr. Gray shared, “Mango is such a sweet addition to our family. He’s healed, living a cozy life of luxury, and surrounded by so much love. Our dogs adore him, too, and they happily make room for Mango on their bed. I’m so happy he came to our clinic that day. I love knowing he’s safe now at home with us.”