Most portraits that I create are commissioned by the human companions of my subjects. Sassy is different. I created his portrait simply because he touched my heart. His human companion has touched me as well.
Sassy is my neighbor Helen’s cat (I call him Mr. Sassy Pants). He is about 1 year old, and he likes to go outside to explore the neighborhood. He tends to shy away from me, but he and I share a porch and yard. He watches me closely as he goes on his daily adventures.
Recently, Sassy came home from his travels with an injured leg. He couldn’t put weight on it and it was very swollen, so Helen and I took him in to see the vet.
After a round of antibiotics failed to show improvements, the vet took some X-rays. The X-rays showed that Sassy had experienced some kind of trauma to his knee area, likely a dog bit him and crushed some of the tiny bones and cartilage. The major problem, though, is that the knee joint had considerable infection in the soft tissues and was possibly affecting the bone as well. The infection needed to be eradicated before any kind of surgery could occur.
The vet said at first that it was possible that the bones could heal on their own after the infection was gone. He would have a limp, but be able to get around. The infection did go away after he was put on a round of stronger antibiotics. Unfortunately, it seems to have returned, now that he has finished the original dose. He is back on antibiotics and Helen has been keeping him indoors. The vet believes that amputating the leg below the knee might be his best option to keep the infection from being a chronic concern.
Cats can get along fine with 3 legs, so it is not such a tragic thing to amputate the leg. The surgery won’t be cheap, though, somewhere around $800-1000, and Sassy will need a lot of care through his recovery. Helen is not sure she can give him what he needs.
Helen and I had a frank discussion, and we both agreed that it might be better for Sassy to be re-homed with someone who can better attend to his needs. Helen has her own health issues to contend with, and she is on a fixed income. She loves Sassy, and as much as she would like to keep him with her, she believes he will be better off with someone who is more equipped to deal with him. (Helen does have other pets so she will not be alone.)
We are looking for a special person who is willing and able to take on a sweet cat who will need some medical attention for the short term. Sassy is young, approximately a year old, and otherwise healthy. He has been neutered and he has his shots. Once he gets through the surgery and recovery, he has a good chance of living a long healthy life.