Above: Trooper outside on the soft lawn grass, and under supervision. Even though he's paraplegic we strive to give him as much freedom as possible
Trooper is a young dark grey and white male who was, barely a year old, when he was found dragging himself along and taken in by St Paul Animal Control in the fall of 2019. The Animal Control officers were pessimistic about Trooper's prospects for a future - he had become paraplegic and whoever he had belonged to had simply thrown him out of his home. Trooper was left to fend for himself in the big wide world. Subsequent Xrays revealed Trooper had suffered a gunshot wound that was an older injury. It was thought that he had somehow been able to compensate for the injury for a time but when he lost his mobility, his "home" put him outside. On the streets, on his own, the valiant Trooper did his best to get around but dragging himself caused terrible, abrasive wounds from the struggle. The injuries and his condition were so appalling that the animal control officers believed the only alternative was to euthanize him. Yet that seemed like a betrayal after how hard he had struggled to live.
When we were told about Trooper's case and his strong will to live we agreed to take on this young cat and give him every chance we could to help him overcome his past maltreatment and neglect. The emergency veterinary clinic where he was brought removed all the tissue that the doctor described as looking like raw hamburger. But the infected and necrotic tissue had to be removed to give him any chance of healing. Then the worry was whether Trooper would be able to be expressed as the area had sustained so much trauma. Only giving him the time to recover would reveal whether Trooper would be able to survive or not.
After several weeks of recuperation on strict cage rest, Trooper made a full recovery but will always be unable to walk from the old gunshot wound. As a paraplegic, he is incontinent and does require help with daily care and hygiene. Thankfully he can still be kept clean and with a little help from his friends (the Home for Life animal care specialists) the trauma he sustained from the old gunshot wound and then the abrasive injuries from dragging himself, didn't destroy his life at the age of only a year and a half.
Cooper sleeps in his own little room within the North cattery, where he is out of his diapers and protective clothes or drag bag to air his skin after he is cleaned up. During the day, he wears his outfits and is free to hobnob with his other feline friends and move around as he likes. In the warm weather, we make an effort to get Trooper outside to enjoy the warm sun and soft grass.
It's tragic that such a young, handsome and friendly cat, faced so many challenges when barely out of kittenhood, and was left paraplegic. But Trooper feels he's lucky to be alive and wastes no time feeling sorry for himself. There is a nobility in Trooper's lack of self-pity and determination to make the most of his life, despite the injustice he suffered. Trooper went through so much to survive, to overcome being so badly injured twice and to finally find his home for life.