El. pošta

OGRLICAR

Although collars are a necessary accessory for dogs, they might be somewhat problematic and of questionable use in cats. A lost pet who is still wearing a collar and tag bearing the owner’s name and address on it can easily be identified and reunited with its owner, but unfortunately most people don’t react at all when they see a cat wandering around with a collar – they usually think it’s someone’s pet cat that will return home shortly, on its own. Many cats do not tolerate collars and they would do anything to get them off, including hours of clawing at them, throwing their bodies against the walls, rolling on the floor and yowling in their owners’ faces. The collar itself can be helpful in identifying a kitty, but cats with collars can also get terribly stuck and literally hang themselves trying to get free. A safe cat collar that is a quick release one, minimizes that risk and is therefore highly recommendable, as it easily comes open if a cat gets caught on something.

The worst-case scenario occurs when a kitten or a young cat is abandoned and still wearing a collar. A collar does not expand as the kitty grows and if it’s not regularly checked and loosened as necessary, it can grow into the kitty’s neck. It causes a gaping wound that is prone to infections and is always accompanied by excruciating, constant pain. Ogrlicar knows everything about that kind of pain; he experienced abandonment as a youngster and had been wandering around for months, with the collar too tight and embedded in his neck...

He was about eight months old when I ran into him for the first time. Emaciated, skittish and scared, like any other stray cat I’d been rescuing for years, he in contrast to all of the others, was wearing a collar. In spite of the collar, he was obviously a stray, he’d been roaming around abandoned and all alone for quite some time. Betrayed once by someone he trusted and loved, he was impossible to catch, as if he decided not to approach a human being ever again. After the ultimate betrayal, it is not easy to learn to trust again and Ogrlicar wasn’t even willing to try. He was fearful and distant and it took me almost a year to be able to touch him. By then, the damage was done. His collar had already grown into his neck, leaving him practically unable to swallow food, in pain and total misery.

He was taken to the vet’s immediately, his collar was removed, his wound cleaned and a medical treatment with antibiotics and pain control medication started. I’d been putting a special ointment for wound healing onto his neck for weeks and he was slowly recovering. His wound didn’t heal fast, but it healed properly. And in these times of trouble and pain, he finally accepted me and the strong bond of trust and affection has formed. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Ogrlicar is now a four-year-old tom, at full size and strength. He is cuddly and loving with me but not very friendly when there are other people around, as he has not yet completely overcome his initial distrustfulness. Maybe the final traces of his misfortunes are his shyness in the presence of strangers, but he is getting more relaxed with each passing day and is otherwise very self-confident. He has finally become what he was always meant to be, a powerful, dazzlingly beautiful tom that shines with a youthful energy and strength while thriving in a place where he feels secure and loved. He is living the kind of life that every cat deserves, a life that he could only dream of. He has come a long way from the cold city street where I saw him for the first time, and the joy on his face, the sparkle in his eyes and the smoothness of his healthy gait are the best proof that there’s always hope.

Update: Ogrlicar died of a heart attack in summer of 2014.