Naperville resident Rachael Resk has been on a seven-month long journey with her foster cat, Jimmy. And they’re still on the road to recovery.
Jimmy was found in Nashville, Illinois at six months and taken to animal control. He was dragging his rear legs and tail and couldn’t move them. He was spasming, had road rash which later became infected, and his bladder was swollen. Doctors believe he was hit by a car.
Nashville animal control reached out to Resk because of her background working with injured cats. When the foster mother brought him home, she said Jimmy wouldn’t move in his bed. After a few days she tried moving his legs to see how much he could take.
“He could actually stand which was crazy for like a few seconds at a time,” said Resk. “It was sort of like his limbs woke up or something. He could stand for short time periods and then it was every week or two there would be some miracle happening. So then he moves his rear legs on his own. It was crazy.”
Resk tried walking him on the treadmill and he was successful, going at 0.5 mph. She also used a chute which helped Jimmy learn to catch himself and continue walking, hurdles, and crossing a balance board. At that point he could walk 10 feet, which was great progress according to Resk. Though it still wasn’t a “normal” cat walk.
Resk said cats walk on their toes when using their rear legs, but Jimmy was using his whole foot. Even though, he was still making progress and Resk wanted him to try something new in the hopes he would continue to improve. That’s when she took her feline friend to Canine Physical Rehab in Montgomery for water therapy.
“She [the owner] wasn’t sure really how things would go because, though she can take cats on water treadmills, she never really had it work out,” said Resk.
Jimmy eventually responded to the water therapy and started using a water treadmill at 0.5 mph. After three months of sessions once a week, he’s now walking at 1.8 mph. He can walk at home, go up the stairs, and lift his tail partially.
“He has improved by leaps and bounds,” said Resk. “Sometimes, like I said, it’s shocking.”
Care Still Needed
Though Jimmy is making progress, his road to recovery isn’t done yet. He can walk but sometimes falls. He also doesn’t have full control of his bladder. Resk will also soon be seeing a neurosurgeon to see if Jimmy has nerve impingement. If he does, he may need surgery.
To help with the cost of his ongoing care, Resk started a GoFundMe. She’s been able to raise a little over $6,000 out of her $10,000 goal.
Even if helping out Jimmy isn’t done just yet, Resk is still happy to see the progress he’s made so far.
“It’s not just his limbs and his tail that have come alive. As he began to and seek more freedom here in the house or out with people, out with the other cats he himself came alive,” said Resk. “He’s filled with joy, he’ll purr, he’ll meow, he’ll play. It’s extremely heartwarming.”
Once she can get his health to its best, she hopes to find a family that will adopt him so she can help the next furry animal that may need her support.
“A lot of people ask me ‘well why don’t you just keep Jimmy?’ and though I certainly could keep Jimmy, I think I would be better served to let him go to a good home and to help somebody else,” said Resk.
Anyone who is interested in adopting Jimmy can email Resk at email@example.com.
Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.
photo courtesy: Rachael Resk
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