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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sad News For Fluffy: Cat Rescued From Abandoned Home By SFPD Has Terminal Disease

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2009 at 6:30 AM

click to enlarge An emaciated Fluffy is rushed to the veterinarian - COURTESY OF JONATHAN LEE
  • Courtesy of Jonathan Lee
  • An emaciated Fluffy is rushed to the veterinarian
Yesterday we wrote about Fluffy, the cat an officer at the Taraval station went the extra mile to rescue from an abandoned house. It turns out that this is not exactly an "all's well that ends well" situation. The cat was so malnourished from being locked in that house, says owner Jonathan Lee, that he was forced to take Fluffy to an emergency vet. And, once there, the feline's blood work revealed that Fluffy has terminal leukemia.

"We were encouraged to put him down," confirms Lee, 44, a wedding photographer and San Francisco native. "But after what he went through and what we went through to get him out, we didn't want to put him down."

Fluffy's misadventure began on tax day -- April 15 -- when Lee couldn't locate hide nor hair of him. Fluffy is a semi-feral cat -- he's been living in Lee's backyard for the better part of five years, and occasionally enters the kitchen. But he's social enough and drops by every evening for his dinner. 

After five weeks of checking for Fluffy at city animal shelters, Lee last week heard the cat meowing out of a nearby abandoned house on 47th and Noriega not far from his home. He flagged down a passing police officer, Patrice Scanlan, who phoned Animal Care and Control. When ACC was unable to spare an officer right away, Lee offered to spring for a locksmith -- Metro Locksmith later decided this one was on the house  -- and he and Scanlan entered the building. With the aid of some cat food, he coaxed Fluffy out from beneath an oven.

click to enlarge Fluffy, eating again and happy-go-lucky on Wednesday - COURTESY OF JONATHAN LEE
  • Courtesy of Jonathan Lee
  • Fluffy, eating again and happy-go-lucky on Wednesday
The cat was so weak and emaciated, Lee thinks it's possible Fluffy was trapped in the house for weeks and hadn't eaten a thing. The home has stood vacant since its owner recently died, and Lee speculates that Fluffy may have slipped in when the owner's relatives were visiting some time ago.

Leukemia is a contagious disease -- and Lee has three housecats of his own. So he's keeping Fluffy isolated in the garage, which is where the cat figures to spend the rest of his days. Fluffy appears to have gained back most of the weight he lost, and the vet believes the cat could live another three years or so.

"Right now, he seems to have gotten his weight back and he seems pretty happy," said Lee. "He's a little purring machine." 

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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