Update on Lucky, the Petsmart Planter Kitty


It’s A Sad Ending To A Great Story

Our Catster friend Bogdan (above), pointed us to this update to our December post, in which we shared the story of Lucky, a black kitten who was trapped in a planter near Petsmart in San Luis Obispo. After an extraordinary 4-day demolition effort which involved the help of the center’s management company, Madonna Enterprises, Petsmart employee Paul Williams extricated the kitten. Lucky went to Central Coast Pet Emergency in Arroyo Grande for medical care and recuperation. There she was renamed “Berlin” in honor of her “wall” experience.

Recuperation was a challenge. While treating her for dehydration and wounds related to her extraction, the vet found an older, more serious wound. She was probably hit by a car a number of weeks earlier, explained Dr. Eric Anderson, Animal Services manager for the county. The wound had exposed the bone in a back leg. The joint itself wasn’t mobile, says Anderson. There wasn’t any contraction of muscles and tendons. On top of that, she was incontinent.

Tyler Collins, 7, tends to Berlin (aka Lucky) while the kitten recuperated from an amputated hind leg. Photo by Bill Morem, Tribune News

Berlin was placed in foster care with vet tech Gabby Collins. Despite having her bandages changed several times daily, Collins couldn’t keep the leg wound dry from urine. After consulting with another vet, they decided to amputate the leg.

Cats can actually do very well with an amputated back leg, says Anderson.

Berlin did very well through the surgery and continued to respond well, although her incontinence left chemical burns on the remaining hind leg.

But then she had a setback. She couldn’t pass her stools and she became impacted, an indication of nerve damage to the spinal area.

Dribbling is one thing, Anderson said, but not being able to pass stools is another.

It wasnt something that one surgery could correct, Collins said. It was going to be a problem that she would have to deal with for the rest of her life.

So the difficult decision was made to euthanize Berlin.

She came to us very frightened. Everyone thought she was feral, but she turned out to be a really sweet cat, Collins said. We gave her the best of care, but in the long run, she would have suffered.

It’s a sad ending to a great story, Anderson said. It’s still a story of good intentions and commitment by people and organizations.

Those good intentions were underwritten by numerous people working for four days to get Berlin out of the wall, damage to the entrapping wall/planter, surgery, intensive care in the pet hospital and later, ministrations by Collins. Anderson estimated that the cost of rescuing and caring for Berlin was between $10,000 and $15,000.

Our community, as a whole, is pet loving, Anderson said. But (Berlin) got to where she did because at some point somebody wasn’t on the ball in taking care of her. Despite a lot of great effort by a number of people, there will be suffering by unwanted pets. If we all acted responsibly, we wouldnt be talking about these issues.

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