by Nicola Depuis
Meet Benny. This beautiful ginger cat is three and a half years old. He was adopted by Shirley Locke and Gordon O’Riordan in Passage West in September 2016 after a tough start in life.
‘Benny was born to a feral mum,’ says Shirley. ‘Community Cats Network (CCN) took in the mum, Benny, and two other kittens who were much, much bigger and wilder. They neutered the mama and the two strong kittens and released them into the wild again. However, Benny was very tiny and sick so they kept him and treated him for cat flu. There was even a suspicion he could be a dwarf cat, as he was so small & petite.
Slowly he built up and when he was strong enough, they vaccinated and neutered him and we adopted him.’ Benny now lives happily with their eight other cats – Ginger (7), Buttons (6), Billie (4), Frankie & Floyd (2), Kali & Gizmo (2) and Bella (3), as well as six Jack Russells – Scamp (15), Rosie (11), Honey (8), Pixie (8), Jess (6), and Buddy (2). It’s a busy house but he fits right in and being a very sweet and friendly cat, everyone who meets him falls in love with him. ‘Benny just loves people,’ says Shirley. ‘He is so friendly. He’s quite a celebrity in our local vets, they all know him and love him.
He walks around like he owns the place when there for check-ups.’ Benny, unfortunately, has a portosystemic shunt, also known as a liver shunt. A portosystemic shunt (PSS) is an abnormal vein connecting the blood supply returning from the intestines to the vein returning blood to the heart, bypassing the liver (shunting). ‘It means basically his liver doesn’t work,’ says Shirley. ‘We took him to a specialist and had scans done to see if they could repair this by means of an operation. They found he had two shunts, not one as originally thought.
The operation would be very risky & he may not even make it so we made the big decision not to operate, but to continue on with medication & special low protein food.’ Shirley adds that Benny has regular check-ups and blood tests to monitor his condition with his lovely vet Anna in Sunbeam Vets, Passage West, and that thankfully he is doing very well at present.
‘Due to his condition he won’t live a long life,’ says Shirley, ‘but we’re making sure he has the best life possible during his short time here. He’s a very happy boy and knows his routine. It’s safe to say he’s a spoilt boy. He loves to play with his toys. All our other cats love him too…I think they kinda mind him and look out for him in their own way. He knows he’s special & so do they!’
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