The Incredible Benjamin Button
The Stray Benjamin Button
The stray cat, I called Benjamin Button, was first seen on 12/25/21 sitting on top of a pile of rubble at the end of a cul-de-sac near my apartment. He was starving, skinny, and full of mange and sores. He was drooling and looked like he had an injury to his mouth. “Where on earth had this stray cat suddenly appeared from?” I had never seen him before. After giving him food and water, Benjamin appeared later that day on the steps outside my screened porch door. At first, I did not bring him inside as I already had a cat as well as a rabbit, my cat was totally anti-social and hated other cats. Apart from that I didn’t want to expose them to mange, or any other diseases this stray might be carrying. I made a temporary shelter outside on my porch until I could get him to a vet. I immediately placed ads on Facebook’s lost pets pages hoping someone would recognize him.
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Benjamin goes to the Animal Hospital
Due to the Christmas holidays, it took a few days before I could get an appointment with the animal hospital. At the animal hospital some blood tests were performed to see if his internal organs were functioning well, and all was well there. The Vet told me he had mange, ear infection, extremely bad tooth and gum disease, and was malnourished. He was approximately 10 years old, I was surprised to hear this as I thought he was much younger, possibly because of his emaciated condition.
Benjamin’s treatment included going to the animal hospital twice per week for baths and sulfur dips for the next 6 weeks. He was also given antibiotics for his ear infection, and whole range of shots and other tests. Poor little guy had to be isolated for six weeks as he was very contagious. This was challenging, my small two-bedroom apartment housed myself, my anti-social cat (Gatita) and my rabbit (Binky). Both of which were strays at one time. It was difficult to isolate him. Finally, I decided to put Binky in a cage in the living room. He was a free-roaming rabbit in the spare/storage room. I purchase a larger cage for Binky as he would be spending more time caged until I can sort out the living situation.
Benjamin's room-mates Binky the Rabbit and Gatita the Cat
Benjamin was isolated in the spare/storage room for a few weeks. It was a difficult time for Benjamin and myself. Even though I went in his room often and to feed and visit him I couldn’t touch him. He wanted to be touched and rub against me, but somehow, he knew he was “untouchable” and seemed to understand that I could not stroke him. After about a week of this no touching I put a sheet on my lap as well as rubber gloves and let him lay there while I stroked him, he’d stare into my eyes and melted my heart. I would shower and changed clothes when I left his room, remembering the vet said he is highly contagious for about 6 weeks. I often wonder what were the circumstances that caused Benjamin to get into such a state. There was a severe hurricane (Ida) about 5 months prior to finding him, possibly he became displaced at that time.
Teeth and Mouth Surgery
After a few months past he gained weight and started looking much healthier, except for his mouth. The vet told me his gums and teeth were badly infected and needed to be removed. He also had an abscess on his neck area that had to be lanced. This with the removal of teeth was around $2k, I had a birthday fundraiser on Facebook when I first took him to the vet and am truly grateful to those who helped. This time I tried an organization to help with a fundraiser, however it wasn’t too successful. Nevertheless, there was enough to cover the surgery on my credit card and he was able to get the well needed surgery done. All but 5 teeth were removed, 4 of the canine teeth (fangs) and one other. I was instructed to keep a collar on him to stop him scratching the stiches in his mouth. This poor little guy had been through so much, I removed the collar when he was eating and watched him carefully in case he scratched.
Benjamin after teeth removal
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Benjamin’s Ongoing Skin Problem
After his surgery he was able to open his mouth wide now and he healed very quickly. Benjamin still has a severe allergy problem causing large scabs to form under his chin. He’s been treated with steroids since September 2022 and has gained a lot of weight. So recently I lowered the dosage of steroids by 1/3 and added a homeopathic medicine by “Best life 4 Pets” Healthy Skin and Allergy Relief for Cats that I purchased from Amazon, it helps but due to the extreme allergy scabbing he still needs the low dose of steroids to stop the itching. The vet had previously told me he needs a animal dermatologist, however there is none in my area. Even with a dermatologist he may need shots indefinitely, so for now trying the homeopathic possibilities.
Benjamin A Living Angel!
The loving, intelligent and beautiful nature and spirit of Benjamin is like no other I have ever experienced. I’m sure many readers have experienced this magical bonding with a present or past pet. I believe “Angels” are put in our path; they come in all sorts of people and animals; Benjamin is my Angel! When I first rescued him, I had no intension of keeping him. But when attempting to find a home in his early days with me, no one was interested because of his medical problems, which of course is understandable. He never was supposed to go anywhere, he was my Angel and he motivated me to start this blog to possibly help people be more aware how they can help ease the suffering of stray animals.