By Ruth Fordon

 Sometimes we are in the right place at the right time with the right people and a miracle can happen.

One recent August night, Ocracats received a call from a concerned visitor at a rental cottage about a friendly orange cat. They (and others) had been feeding it for three years and it looked shaky and in bad shape. Belonging to no one, it was a domestic pet that had been abandoned and left to fend on its own. Now it was in trouble.

Knowing that Roanoke Island Animal Clinic of Manteo was scheduled to do a clinic here the next day (as they do every third Wednesday), the group found a volunteer to take the cat to the clinic.The renters were apprised that the cat might need to be euthanized, but at the clinic, the vet diagnosed the female cat to be young, dehydrated and probably had kidney disease. The cat received fluids to rehydrate and was then returned to the rental cottage.

The interested tenants were told the cat lived on the streets and had no one to look after it. Might they consider adopting her? Instead of a quick no, the renters gave a thoughtful nod.The results of the blood work showed no leukemia but confirmed kidney disease that was causing the dehydration. The renters said they would considering adopting the cat.

Ocracats is funded by donations, and from income we receive for the sale of t-shirts, note cards and calendars.  With this, the group feeds several colonies of ferals at a cost of around $500 a month and pays all costs for spay/neuters of ferals and rescued cats. A large grant from PetSmart Charities for spay-neuter clinics over two years has been completed. The group also keeps a small stock of medical supplies and budgets up to $100 for vet costs for sick cats.

The harsh reality is that Ocracoke does not have a vet, and in most cases a call like this comes when there is no medical backup and all the Ocracats volunteers are busy working long hours during the busy season. A trip to the vet in Buxton is easily two hours each way; four hours to Manteo. Ocracats volunteers are not trained in veterinary medicine and can do little more than offer some comfort and creative problem-solving when a crisis occurs.

A few days after the initial call about this cat, the visitors at the rental cottage told Ocracats they would adopt the ailing kitty, who was named Keegi, and would take her home to northern Virginia.With medical management, she could live for several years. Without the help from these concerned visitors, she probably would have died by September.

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