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Meet Nubs

The day I met Nubs was like any other. I clocked it at my small, rural veterinary clinic tucked away in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I greeted the few coworkers that were already there and getting ready for another busy day. I gazed at our whiteboard, which detailed all of our current patients, and saw a new patient on the board. The new patient was listed under the care of K-SNAG, a small spay/neuter assistance group that also operated as a small cat rescue. Excited to meet the newest member of K-SNAG, I hurried into our kennel area. And that’s where we met. I popped open the kennel door and this little cat chirped and leaped into my arms. She nuzzled my chin, her tail fluffed up, and I felt her front paw start kneading my shoulder. To this day, I cannot find a way to truly describe the instant bond I felt when I met her. I picked her up underneath her front legs and held her out to look at her. She was a beautiful little tabby. She continued to knead the air as a held her out. That was when I realized she wasn’t quite all there. While her right paw curled and straightened out furiously, the left leg was, well, lacking. She only had about half of the left leg, but it didn’t seem to bother her in the least. I nestled her back into my arms and kissed her. I carried her out into our treatment area and asked my coworkers what they knew about her. My coworkers informed me that an elderly man found her outside, with half the leg already gone. He brought her into our clinic, where she was turned over to K-SNAG with no signs of an owner. She had no collar, no microchip. No missing cats fitting her description. Initially, we thought the lacking left limb was a birth defect. Upon closer examination, however, we noticed a small scab at the end of the limb. A quick radiograph revealed wavy, abnormal left leg bones that ended at a jagged point. The bone was clearly demineralizing and breaking down; the sharp point was so close to the skin it looks like it was about to pierce through.  It indeed was not a birth defect, but the result of an unknown but clearly traumatic injury. Surgery was perform to remove the dying limb, which thankfully went perfectly.

I decided to initially name her Aubree Marie, but she quickly gained the nickname of Nubs after her surgery because she still frequently tried to use her small remaining left leg nub to play with toys. She spent her recovery time in the clinic with us. I bought her a baby shirt to keep her incision covered as she healed, and set up a bed next to my desk in the reception area. She lounged next to my keyboard all day. Occasionally, she would settle herself on top of my charts or keyboard when she felt I needed a work break. During lunch, or other slow times, I would put YouTube videos of birds a squirrels going on my phone or computer for her to watch. To this day, she still loves those videos! As her recovery period came to an end, she was going to be leaving the vet clinic soon. My coworkers and I knew she couldn’t go to just any family, though. I was her person, and she was my cat. After jumping through a few hoops, I was able to take her home. And here we are, several years later, finally having the change to chronicle all of our adventures together. She is an amazing cat, and I can’t wait to share her stories with everybody!

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