BLUEFIELD — For the second consecutive year, the Mercer County Humane Society is getting to work planning an evening of fun with friends, fine food and good music to care for animals in need through an annual event dubbed a Fur Ball.

Although the attire for the night will be casual, dedicated Humane Society volunteer Kim Bay said organizers intend to have a ball at this year’s event, slated for Saturday, April 14, at the Bluefield Arts Center in downtown Bluefield. Just as last year shined a spotlight on Duke, a dog who had benefited from the Humane Society’s fundraising efforts, generosity and heart for animals, the 2018 Fur Ball will welcome Momma Cat and her loving humans, Wendi and Marvin Billips, who took time to share her harrowing tale of healthcare trials recently with the Princeton Times, in hopes of showing just how far the Humane Society will go to help animals in need.

Like many of our most beloved pets, Momma Cat was a rescue animal from the beginning. Wendi Billips wasn’t necessarily in the market for a pet at the time, and Momma Cat had some health problems at the time.

“Momma Cat was found when a kitten, and she had bot fly larva in her neck,” Wendi explained. “We removed it and nursed her back to health.”

As happens sometimes, Momma became a momma before she made it to the vet to get spayed, and she delivered a litter of three sweet, beautiful little kittens, who are still part of the Billips family today.

Then, one day, she escaped the safe confines of the home and encountered a community dog that wasn’t so friendly. The dog treed Momma Cat, running her so far up a pine tree during a driving rain storm that Wendi and Marvin tried all day and night to call her down with no luck.

“Bluefield Rescue came out the next morning [to try to help], but she was nowhere to be found,” Wendi recalled.

The Billipses feared Momma Cat was gone for good, but they noticed that the dog kept sniffing around an old couch they had deposited for trash pickup. The couple moved the couch, and there, cowering under the discarded piece of worn-out furniture was their fur baby, Momma Cat. She could barely move, and they couple later learned she had somehow been partially paralyzed in the ordeal, but with every ounce of strength and effort she had left, she managed to drag her aching body to her people.

“I know with all the pain, all she wanted was to be held,” Wendi said. “She purred, although she was paralyzed in her back and legs at the time.”

Wendi was thrilled to find Momma Cat, but she was heartbroken at the same time. Out of work for a period of time herself for her own back surgeries, her family didn’t have the additional funds to pay for the surgeries she instinctively knew it would take to fix Momma Cat’s broken body, and her heart wouldn’t let her baby live in the pain she knew she must be in.

“Everything I had went to my animals [even before this]. They ate before me some days,” Wendi said. 

She immediately got in touch with her friend, Katherine Nelson, a friend and animal advocate, who put Wendi in touch with Bay and the Humane Society. Thanks to the Humane Society, funds were made available for diagnostic tests and X-rays with All Creatures Veterinary Clinic. There, Dr. William Streit told the Billips family that Momma Cat’s leg was shattered and that her back was broken. He knew he could fix her leg with surgery, but the back was questionable. 

Still Wendi said she could feel that her cat wanted to live and was willing to fight to get better. So, with the support of the Humane Society and the group’s tremendous animal advocates, she stayed on board, too, and gave the OK to proceed with surgery and therapy. After Momma Cat’s surgery and a week in the animal hospital, the kitty went home with Wendi and her family, where she gradually began to use her legs again, indicating her back was healing and that she would recover fully.

Throughout the ordeal, Wendi said the Humane Society raised the funds to pay for all of Momma Cat’s treatment and care, which ultimately totaled more than $1,200. She indicated that words could not describe how grateful she and her family are for their work, kindness and caring.

Today, she said no one would ever know the ordeal Momma Cat has survived, thanks to the Mercer County Humane Society and the quality of care she received in the wake of the near-fatal disaster. Wendi said she knew the story would end well when she took her back to the vet’s office to have her pin removed and Momma Cat jumped off the X-ray table and the feline made her human chase her around the table.

“I brought her home, and I swear, she thinks she’s the bionic cat. Momma is living the life with her girls and enjoying her new gift of life,” Wendi said. “Without Kim [Bay] and the Humane Society, this would not have been possible. Momma is forever grateful, and so am I. Thank you.”

— Contact Tammie Toler at ttoler@ptonline.net

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