Written by Marcelle du Plessis, Fundraising and Communications Manager for Mdzananda Animal Clinic
A loud calling for help came from the Mdzananda Animal Clinic’s front gate late one afternoon in July 2017. The Clinic had already closed for the day and most staff had gone home; fortunately, two staff members were still on site. Two elderly ladies were calling desperately, beckoning for our staff to come closer: “A man – he just put a small animal into a drain. Please help!” they exclaimed.
Desperate to get out
They led our staff to a storm water drain no further than 500m away. A soft cry was heard from the drain; two enormous, scared eyes were peeking through the drain cover. With a lot of pulling and heaving, our staff and a passing community member managed to lift the heavy drain cover.
A white cat with black spots was standing knee deep in drain water, scrabbling desperately to get out. Her eyes showed confusion, as if she was asking, “Why am I here? Can you help me?” We picked her up and named her Storm.
Storm was taken to our Clinic where we dried her and made her warm as the poor girl was soaked to the bone. After a warm meal and many cuddles we created a soft bed for her in our cat ward. “She seemed happy with the space we’d made for her, climbed into her bed and went to sleep,” says Susan Wishart, General Manager and one of the staff who found Storm.
Special help for a special cat
Storm stayed at the Clinic for two weeks. “It was clear that the incident of being put into a drain was only one of many traumatising events in her life. She hardly moved, spent all her time curled tightly into a ball, hardly ate, never purred and simply stared blankly when you greeted her,” says Marcelle du Plessis, Fundraising and Communications Manager. “Special help was needed for Storm so we called on one of our experienced foster moms.”
Storm was taken to a foster home in Constantia. To make sure that she was not overwhelmed, a bed and safe space was created for her inside a cupboard. For two weeks she did not move from this cupboard space. Eventually, she tentatively took her first steps out of her safe cupboard space.
Samantha Jones, Storm’s foster mom, reported that she started slowly venturing through the home, “testing each and every kitty bed that she could find”. She began warming up to Samantha, her eyes showing some sparkle, and she even starting to poke at kitty toys.
“Storm definitely has gone through a lot in her short life,” says Samantha. “Some days, she just curls into a tight ball and ignores the world. But there are moments when her true personality shines through and she goes crazy playing with one of her toys. I just don’t know how someone could have done something like that to such an innocent. She definitely needs lots of time to heal, but slowly she’s learning that not all humans are bad!”
Storm has a long road ahead before she’ll be able to trust humans again. “We are confident that she is getting better and better every day with the help of her foster mom. When she is ready we will be able to put her up for adoption and we will find her the perfect home,” says Du Plessis.