Among those who care about community cats, there are unsung heroes working tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of felines who, for one reason or another, live outdoors. One such hero is Mike Canada, a dedicated volunteer at Cat by Cat Inc. since its inception in 2020. Over the past five years, Mike's passion for feline welfare has led him to rescue approximately 400 free-roaming cats, but there's one special kitty who has captured his heart and become a testament to his unwavering commitment – Jean Claud.
Jean Claud found himself in dire straits when concerned neighbors reported his distressing appearance, suggesting possible abuse or serious injury. Responding to the call, Mike stepped in to trap and rescue Jean Claud, ensuring he received the medical attention he desperately needed.
Jean Claud was suffering from Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex (EGC), an inflammatory condition resulting from an inappropriate immune system response to allergens. Describing the cat's discomfort, Mike stated, "EGC probably feels much worse than a human case of chicken pox." The lesions on the cat's skin worsened as he scratched, necessitating initial confinement in a cage to closely monitor his condition.
Mike took Jean Claud to Cat by Cat's trusted veterinarian, Dr. Sue Wylegala. With a regimen of steroids and other medications, Dr. Sue began treating the EGC. Mike said, "At first, Dr. Sue had to double the steroid dose to get a handle on the problem. But once the lesions started clearing up, she was able to reduce the dose." Despite the challenges, the remarkable improvement in Jean Claud's condition is evident, with only a small lesion remaining on the back of his neck.
Beyond his health struggles, Jean Claud has endeared himself to Mike with his good-natured friendliness. "He wants to be next to me whenever I'm home," Mike explained. Despite a past viral infection affecting his meow, which now sounds like a frog's 'ribbit,' Jean Claud has a playful side. Mike enthusiastically shared, "Another cool thing—he plays fetch like a dog! He'll spend half an hour returning things I throw for him."
Mike Canada's dedication extends far beyond Jean Claud; he has fostered over 50 cats in the last five years. With two cats of his own, Pernie Sanders and Blackie Chan, Mike embodies the spirit of compassion and commitment to feline welfare. Once Jean Claud's last lesion has healed and he's down to one daily dose of medication, Cat by Cat plans to make him available for adoption. Mike believes, "There are many wonderful people out there who seek out special-needs cats to adopt," showcasing his optimism for the bright future that awaits Jean Claud and other cats in need.
In the world of cat rescue, Mike Canada's compassionate efforts shine brightly. His work with Cat by Cat and his inspiring journey with Jean Claud underscore the transformative impact one individual can have on the lives of animals in need.