Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.

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Cat found in a tote has been returned to its grateful owner; Humane Society seeks help for other animals.

PHOTO COURTESY OF THREE RIVERS HUMANE SOCIETY - Smudge (Miracle) the cat after being rescued from a sealed tote near Deer Ridge Correctional Facility on Dec. 12.Over the last two weeks, a sad and strange story has unfolded at Three Rivers Humane Society. But it seems it is about to have a happier ending.

While jogging near Deer Ridge Correctional Facility on Dec. 13, a man spotted a Rubbermaid type tote sitting alongside the road. When he approached, opened it and looked in, two eyes peered back — a cat was trapped inside.

The tote was brought to Three Rivers Humane Society, where workers opened it again and found an old cat inside surrounded by feces and urine. The cat, referred to as Miracle, was immediately taken to the vet for treatment.

Miracle was found to have urine burns on her body from being confined in the tote and was given a bath and placed on an antibiotic before being sent back to the shelter.

In a post on their Facebook page on Dec. 14, asking for donations to help care for the cat, the shelter shared what they knew of Miracle's story.

"Thrown out like garbage with no chance of survival," the post began. "Yesterday a man jogging near our town's outlying prison noticed a tote in the weeds. Thankfully, his curiosity led him to open the tote. Inside he found a cold, wet cat that had been sealed up and left to die."

"When he arrived at the shelter, we were beyond horrified," the post read. "At the vet, she was found to have urine burns to all areas of skin, matted fur, emaciated body weight, and low temperature."

"We have named her 'Miracle' because it truly was miraculous how things came together for her," the post said.

The original post was shared 657 times, with 455 comments from people in the community commenting, helping to give the cat's story traction. As of Sunday, 110 people had donated toward Miracle's care on Facebook, raising $3,331.

After returning to the shelter following her first vet visit, the cat ended up returning to the vet. As of Thursday, Dec. 19, she was still there, where they were working on shaving her from head to toe because the mats in her fur were so severe.

"It's still under investigation whether there is an owner or whether there is a suspect, it's not for me to say at this point, it's still under investigation," Jerilee Drynan, director of operations for the shelter said Thursday.

She said however, that there was no way the cat could have gotten into the tote unless someone put her there and then carried the tote out the remote location. When the tote was found, it was completely sealed.

"Out there is not an area of constant travel," she said. "To me it is pretty obvious that they wanted the cat to be not found."

On Friday, Dec. 20, the shelter posted another update, saying that Miracle's owner had been looking for the cat and contacted the shelter.

The post said, "It appears another miracle has occurred! Miracle's owner has been located! The owner has searched for Miracle, actually named Smudge, for over three weeks. Smudge belonged to the owner's recently deceased husband. She has no idea who would have left Smudge in a crate in the middle of nowhere. She is beyond excited and thrilled to take 15-year-old Smudge home and keep her safe and warm for the holidays and the rest of her life."

According to the second post, "Donations provided Smudge with a complete care package at the vet: x-rays (dysplasia found: on pain medication), high-calorie food (she gained a good amount of weight!), complete body shave (so much more clean and comfortable), and time to feel much better."

The post continued by saying, "The outpouring of support for this kitty has been so heartfelt and appreciated beyond measure. Thank you for being so kind and generous in both donations and words of hope."

While the owner has been located and Smudge gets to return home, there is still no word on how the cat ended up in the tote to begin with. In other outlets, it was reported that a friend of the owners had inadvertantly left a door open and the cat had left the house.

Drynan said that the motive behind someone being cruel to animals can be hard for others to understand and wrap their minds around.

DESIREE BERGSTROM/MADRAS PIONEER - Three Rivers Humane Society is looking for help caring for animals and donations to spay and neuter cats.

How to help

Three Rivers Humane society is always looking for the community's help, whether it be as a consistent volunteer, which they are currently lacking in, or to help get the word out there about caring for animals in the community in general. Drynan said that a big problem with cats in general is the number of strays that don't get fixed and continue breeding. The cats never get the care they need if there are too many of them.

She said even if it is not your cat and it is a stray, the responsibility should fall on the community to start solving the problem.

"There are times that a cat walks on to someone's property and if we accept the cat, let's say it's been a stray and it's been around their property for a long period of time. They bring it to us and we rarely, if ever, get someone saying to us, 'And here's some money to help with that cat. It's not mine, but I want to make sure that it gets spayed and I know it costs money,'" Drynan said. "They just bring us the cat and if we say could you make a donation towards its care?" she said the response is always, "It's not my cat."

"I get that," she said. "But it is a cat in the community and obviously people care because look how many people spoke up about Miracle. So, if we could all take that on a little bit more, not just one cat in the media, but cats in general, I think it would make us a much kinder community and we would have a little bit less issues."

"We can't do it all. We can't fix it alone," she said.


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