In November of 2013 Maria and I had gone to an auction just to look around. While touring what is called the warm room I noticed a large dog kennel sitting on a shelf. I glanced over at it and noticed a small species of cat lying toward the back, could not tell what species it was but I knew it was a cat.
Maria was looking at some cockatoos when I tapped her on the shoulder and told her to turn around. She turned and looked and when she saw it Maria instantly ran to the kennel.
When Maria and I got closer we instantly recognized that it was an African Serval, a small species of cat from central and southern Africa. A gentleman standing next to it informed us that her name was Neeko and that she was 3 years old. The thing we noticed about her was that her right eye was weepy, but we considered it to be caused by the moldy hay she was lying in.
After some negotiating we talked him down on the price and Neeko was shortly on her way to the vet for a complete physical.
Once at the veterinarians’ office, Dr. Gilsleider attempted to give Neeko some eye drops for the infection, but that is easier said than done. After tilting the kennel up on end he was able to get some medication into the eye.
Afterward we headed back to the zoo to introduce her to her new surroundings. For about seven days Neeko ate, drank and used the litter box with no problem, then she stopped doing any of it. We considered it might be because the previous owner fed her only dog food, which he had informed us was to keep her from being mean. (Zoo Safari does not believe this).
As we watched her for a couple of days Maria noticed that Neeko, who was sitting on the floor of her holding area, sway to the left.
“John, we are going to the vet, now!” Maria said.
So with a little nudging we were able to get Neeko into the kennel and off we went to Dr. Gilsleider’s office.
Once there he took Neeko into the back and anesthetized her. Dr. Gilsleider invited us to the back to discuss Neeko’s condition. Her condition was worse than any of us had realized.
Her upper right jaw had an abscess to the point that the Dr. had to remove all off her teeth in the upper right side of the jaw, and literally into the bone just to get all the infection out. The infection, which we had thought was the eye infection, was actually pus from the abscess seeping through the eye.
That was one of three problems. Another was the fleas. When we got Neeko she had a regular dog collar on her, well the majority of the fleas were under this collar, so once the collar was removed and her neck shaved Neeko was treated for the flea problem. Problem number two taken care of, now on to number three.
Why did she stop using the bathroom? When cats get sick they groom themselves constantly, so what had happened was that Neeko groomed so much that all the hair she had ingested had begun to block her, and it did so much that it kept her from going to the bathroom.
Dr. Gilsleider had to go in with hemostats and remove as much as he could possibly get, unfortunately he could not get it all because the blockage was so bad.
When Dr. Gilsleider weighed her, Neeko’s weight was 15 pounds; a healthy Serval should weigh between 30 to 35 pounds.
Neeko had gone through a lot before she came to us, but God wanted us to go to the auction that day and rescue her. After all that Neeko had gone through we were not about to give up on her, and she didn’t give up on herself or us, now she weighs about 30 pounds and loves to irritate Maria by tipping over the water bowl, dumping her food and just having fun playing with her toys.
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