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December 5, 2023

Happily Homed: Rambo

Two photos of an orange cat in a cat shelter

Amanda Huggett

Just like the Sylvester Stallone character, CCS cat Rambo is resilient and strong. However, unlike the famed Hollywood Rambo, this one is much more of a lover than a fighter. He’s a big orange boy weighing in at almost 18 pounds. But despite his size, Rambo loves to be held like a baby and is quite a chatty cat.

Rambo came to Cat Care Society in January 2023 with his two housemates after his elderly owner passed away. The previous owner’s family friend brought them to us when she was unable to keep them in her own home and noted that Rambo took the role of the caretaker. When he wasn’t swatting around his owner’s jigsaw puzzle pieces, he was often playing peacemaker between the other two cats and would nuzzle into the humans around him who needed comfort and healing.

Ready for a new family to love, Rambo received the usual physical exam, vaccines, blood work and various tests before going up for adoption. We first noticed his periodontal disease and ordered a dental procedure with multiple extractions. Rambo purred and cuddled his whole way through the pre-op exam.

Afterward, we noticed some congestion and sneezing, which quickly cleared up, but more concerning was the way he was standing and moving. Rambo now sported a limp and a plantigrade stance on his left hind leg, meaning the weight was on his heels and ankles rather than his paw. We let him have the night off and ran scans the next day to investigate the cause. We couldn’t find a fracture, dislocation or rupture, but did notice degenerative joint disease, and our lead veterinarian began to suspect a soft tissue injury. We decided to give him the weekend on pain management and would reassess soon.

In the meantime, Rambo was gaining interest from adopters and had a line of people to bring him home when he was ready.

The bad news is that Rambo seemed to be struggling after his dental procedure, showing signs of discomfort and not eating much. After more test results came back, we discovered he was in the early stages of kidney disease. His health concerns were too much for some adopters, but the third person in line was not scared and was already in love with our orange boy thanks to his cute description on Petfinder. We put Rambo in our Foster to Adopt program, which allows an interested adopter to “foster” that cat while they finish up medical treatment, with the intention of adopting them.

Despite the mounting medical concerns, Rambo insisted on maintaining a positive attitude, talking to our team and demanding to be held. We were happy to oblige and indulge his wishes!

An orange cat stands on a table with a black leg brace

After a week, he was eating less and becoming agitated at our attempts to syringe feed him. It was time for a feeding tube and a special feeding and medication plan!

Rambo went home with his new foster-to-adopt owner Melanie for recovery and treatment. She reported that he was doing great in her home, using the feeding tube well, but was now experiencing some digestive distress. Our medical team coached her on how to handle it, offered supportive care and scheduled additional tests to monitor his progress.

Finally, weeks later, Rambo was over the hump. He even started to eat dry food all on his own. His dental extraction sites had healed, his heart and lungs were clear despite how hard it was to hear over his loud purring, and some secondary issues we were concerned about appeared to be resolving.

Melanie supplemented his dry food feedings with the feeding tube, and things were progressing well. But, Rambo’s leg was unchanged despite no obvious or visible reason for the lameness. We decided to order Rambo a custom leg brace to help improve his mobility. He came in regularly for measurements, fittings and additional tests — with purrs to accompany his pleasant attitude with each hello.

An orange cat lays on an exam table

Rambo was now officially ready to be adopted once his blood work was stable and his brace was in. While we waited, Rambo began vomiting and experiencing loose stools. More tests and more medication for our orange warrior!

Our next discovery was that Rambo likely had pancreatitis and was diagnosed with kidney disease. This time, a switch in diet was all that was needed to get him back on track.

By summer, the orthopedic specialists had finished Rambo’s brace and it fit just as well as Cinderella’s lost slipper. A real belle of the ball he was.

Today, Rambo is still doing great in Melanie’s home. In fact, he enjoys regular walks in her apartment hallways and taking in all the sniffs at the neighbor’s doors. He doesn’t need the brace every day but has it for days when his limping is more noticeable. He even runs and jumps without issue!

Melanie said Rambo’s big personality made it easy to fall in love. He still keeps up his hobbies of loud and constant purrs, cuddles and hugs. He’s playful, outgoing and loves adventures. He makes sure Melanie knows it’s morning by taking the rooster’s job of yowling the wake-up alarm. It’s a good thing Melanie works from home so Rambo has easy access to all the love that he deserves.

One of Melanie’s favorite things about Rambo is his perseverance. Despite all his medical concerns, this sweet boy loves life and love. Melanie encourages other adopters to not let the age of a cat hold them back. She says that his conditions are easily manageable, and the company he offers is so worth it. We couldn’t agree more!

Have you adopted from CCS in the past? We’d love to hear how it’s going! Send us your adoption success stories (and photos!) to be featured in our #adoptionupdate series on social media or on our website.

Feel compelled by our work and want to help more cats in need find loving homes? Please send us a financial gift to provide life-saving medical care and adoption services to cats like Rambo. Donations can be made online HERE (and all funds received from Nov. 1 to Dec. 5, 2023, count for our Colorado Gives Day fundraising goal, with extra opportunities for matching incentive funds. We appreciate your support!

One Response

  1. Yes i got , Piper. She has ONLY one tooth and still eats hard food. She’s my sweet heart. She wakes me up in the a.
    M. Too with a.meow or 10 and wants loving.

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