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A story from Slim’s (now Gus) mama:

The first time I saw Slim, I knew he needed to come live at our house.  He was bone thin, his coat was dirty and greasy, but he was still purring so loud he sounded like a motorcycle.  He rubbed his little cheek against my hand, and I was a goner.   We already had two cats, which according to my husband are two cats too many!  Our wedding anniversary was coming up, and I knew if I played it right, Slim could be my present.

When I asked what his story was, I was told he was picked up by Jefferson County Animal Control as a stray. He was scheduled to be put down when St. Louis Pet Rescue stepped in.  Right away it was noticed that his breathing was shallow and fast.  Within a week he was scheduled for diaphragmatic hernia surgery to repair a tear in his diaphragm.  His stomach, intestines, spleen and liver had shifted into his chest cavity.  His breathing was altered because there was no room for his lungs to expand properly.  His surgery went well and within a week he was living with us, his forever family.

When we brought him home, he was wearing a newborn sized onesie with the snaps off to the side.  It was the only way we could keep him from messing with his stitches.  He looked like a Muppet from Sesame Street with his big orange head, tiny skinny body and striped shirt.  After much debate we all settled on calling him Gus.

Shortly after we brought him home, we noticed he was having problems eating.  We took him to the vet and found out that he has Feline Stomatitis.  In short, it is a very painful mouth disease that caused his gums to become inflamed.  The treatment for Feline Stomatitis is extraction of his teeth.  By the time we got the surgery scheduled, he had stopped eating and would not stand up even to use the litter box.  He was in so much pain.  The vet extracted 14 teeth.  The only teeth Gus has left are his four canines and his tiny, little front teeth.  Someday he may have to have the rest of his teeth extracted.  We are prepared for that possibility.  Gus ate canned cat food while he was healing, but then refused it and went back to eating the dry cat food that our other two cats eat.

Gus has been with us for 18 months now.  Since then he has gained four pounds and filled out.  He got a bath, which he hated, right after he moved in with us and now his coat is soft and shiny.  We don’t know how old he is, but he acts like a kitten.  His favorite game is pushing everything he can off of the kitchen counter and then batting it around the kitchen until it goes under the oven.  Once a week I pull the oven drawer out to see what he has shoved under.  We have found the lid to the vitamins, paper clips, hair bands, spoons, and even once the car keys.  We figure he rotates beds all night long because in the morning all of my kids insists that Gus slept with them!  But if he is awake, he is usually assisting me with whatever household chore I’m doing.  He supervises me folding laundry from the top of the dryer, sits on fabric I’m trying to sew, presses keys on the keyboard when I’m typing, and tosses the kids pencils on the floor while they are doing homework.  He is the most unhelpful helper I’ve ever had, and I adore him!

I don’t know what Gus went through before he came to live with us, but for the first few months he would run and hide whenever I got the broom out to sweep the kitchen.  Sometimes I wonder what his life was like, but other times I’m glad I don’t know.  He now knows that the broom is no threat to him and he often swats at things in my dirt pile which caused me to have to start sweeping all over again.

Gus is proof that St. Louis Pet Rescue does amazing things for animals who need help.  Without them, Gus would have been put to sleep a long time ago or would have suffered with the tear in his diaphragm and been in horrible pain with his mouth.  Not only is he a lucky guy, but we are lucky too.  We love that he is a part of our family.

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