Rescue Story: Unwanted cat placed in a storm water drain to drown 

18 Augusts 2017 - Khayelitsha Cape Town.  On Saturday the 19th of August the world celebrates International Homeless Animal Day.

To highlight the plight of homeless animals the Mdzananda Animal Clinic, Khayelitsha, would like to share Storm’s rescue story – a cat placed in a storm water drain to drown. 
After 5 pm, a day in July, a loud calling for help came from the Mdzananda Animal Clinic’s front gate. The Clinic had already closed. Most staff had gone home. It was lucky that two staff members were still on site.  

Picture: Not the same cat, just illustration
Two elderly ladies were calling desperately, beckoning for our staff to come closer. “A man, he just put a small animal into a drain. Please help,” they exclaimed.  
They led our staff to a storm water drain no further than 500 meters from our clinic. A soft cry was heard from the drain. Two scared eyes were peeking through the drain cover. With a lot of pulling and heaving our staff and a passing member of the community were able to lift the heavy drain cover. 
A white cat with black spots was standing knee deep in drain water, scrabbling desperately to get out. Her eyes showed confusion as if she was asking, “Why am I here? Can you help me?” We picked her up and called her Storm. 

In Safe Hands
Storm was taken to our Clinic where we dried her and made her warm. The girl was soaked to the bone. After a warm meal and many cuddles we created a soft bed for her in our cat ward. “She seemed happy with the space we had made for her, climbed into her bed and went to sleep,” says Susan Wishart, General Manager and one of the staff who found Storm. 

Storm stayed at the Clinic for two weeks. “It was clear that the incident of being put into a drain was only one of many traumatizing events in her life. She hardly moved, spent all her time curled tightly into a ball, hardly ate, never purred and simply stared blankly when you greeted her,” says Marcelle du Plessis, Fundraising and Communications Manager. “Special help was needed for Storm so we called on one of our experienced foster moms.”  

Where is Storm now? 
Storm was taken to a foster home in Constantia. To make sure that she was not overwhelmed, a bed and safe space was created for her inside a cupboard. For two weeks she did not move from this cupboard space. 
Just this week Storm stepped out of her safe cupboard space for the first time. “She is slowly venturing through the home, testing each and every kitty bed that she can find. She is warming up to me and her eyes are starting to show some life,” her foster mom says. “She is enjoying her food and even starting to poke at kitty toys,” says Samantha Jones, Storm’s foster mom.  

Long Road Ahead to gain human trust
Storm has a long road ahead before she will be able to trust humans again. “We are confident that she is getting better and better every day with the help of her foster mom. When she is ready we will be able to put her up for adoption and we will find her the perfect home,” says du Plessis. 

What is International Homeless Day About? 

International Homeless Animal Day is a day to highlight the plight of abandoned and homeless animals in the world. They are placed into shelters and are dependent on charities and good people for survival. It is a day to educate people about pet abandonment, feral animals and the benefits of sterilizing animals. When animals aren't spayed or neutered this leaves the risk open for them to breed again and again. 

Is Mdzananda an Animal Shelter or only an Animal Clinic? 

The Mdzananda Animal Clinic mainly functions as a hospital for pets but this does not stop people from leaving pets at their doorstep. Pets are often brought for treatment never to be collected. Pets are handed over or found as strays. These homeless pets are looked after until people adopt them.  

How can you help homeless pets? 

“This International Homeless Animal day we would like to encourage people to consider adopting a homeless pet. We would also like to thank people who have adopted shelter pets and those who continue to support our organization,” says du Plessis. 
If you would like to assist the Mdzananda Animal Clinic this International Homeless Animal day you can

  1. sponsor a shelter pet for R450 per month.
  2. You could also consider to sponsor sterilization at R500; or
  3. R100 to feed one pet for one week (at R100). | | Bank Details: Mdzananda Animal Clinic, Standard Bank, Account number: 075595710, Branch: Rondebosch, Branch Code: 025009 
The Mdzananda Animal Clinic is a permanent, veterinary council registered, NPO animal clinic in Khayelitsha, a township just outside of Cape Town, South Africa, home to 400 000 people (2011 census) and their pets. The clinic serves an average of 700 animals per month through consultations, hospitalization, general and orthopaedic surgeries, continuous sterilizations, mobile clinics and an animal ambulance. Mdzananda has a strong focus on community empowerment and education to ensure responsible pet ownership into the future. The Mdzananda Animal Clinic is made possible by IFAW (International Fund of Animal Welfare) since 2003, Investec since 2015 and 2016 and individual donors since 1996. 
Issued by: Marcelle du Plessis, Fundraising and Communications Manager for Mdzananda Animal Clinic,, 0823577613



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