“I call everyone ‘Darling’ because I can’t remember their names”.

“I call everyone ‘Darling’ because I can’t remember their names”.
– Zsa Zsa Gabor

What’s in a name? Halibut is a three year old brown and white tabby who wants everyone to know that he most definitely is not a fish! He thinks his name could be “Thank You” or maybe “Optimist” or “Lucky”. “Thank You” because of the excellent care he received for two months while living in the Chula Vista Animal Care Facility. “Optimist” because Halibut knows that it is always good to have a positive outlook on life. “Lucky” because for a while he believed the old adage, “If I didn’t have bad luck, I’d have no luck at all!”

We don’t know how Halibut found himself at the Animal Care Facility. We do know that at intake on January 23, 2012, he was diagnosed with many medical challenges. There was a draining abscess to the left of his tailhead. His right eye was micro-opthalmic from a previous injury. There was trauma with abrasion and swelling of his mandibular symphysis. And he was still intact. What does all of this mean? An abscess is an infected wound that heals over and traps bacteria inside. Often caused by traumatic injuries or puncture wounds, a severe abscess will require surgery and the insertion of a drain tube to allow fluids to drain. An opthalmic eye means that a dark brown to black plaque had developed on his right eye. It can be painful and can lead to a rupture of the eye. The treatment of choice is surgical removal of the eye. Finally, the mandibular symphysis is essential for normal occlusion (that means the teeth come together). Again, traumatic injury can result in changes to the anatomy of the symphysis. And we know that being intact means that he still needed to be neutered.

Maybe you would think that a cat with such medical issues would face a very uncertain and problematic future. Think again! From January 23, 2012 until March 19, 2012, Halibut probably spent more time in the operating and recovery rooms at the Animal Care Facility than most cats do in a lifetime. Repairing the abscess was first on the list. While he was under anesthesia, it was a good time to neuter him and to clean the mandible. Once the abscess site had healed and the drain was removed, it was time to go to the dentist. Two teeth were extracted and while under anesthesia this time, Halibut’s nails were trimmed and his ears cleaned. Halibut’s third surgery was the enucleation (removal) of his right eye along with more dental work including the grafting of tissue over the hole on the right side of his mouth. Halibut says the only thing he remembers about the last surgery is that he was able to have kitty milkshakes (cat food plus kitten food plus hot water) for a few days!

On March 21, 2012, Halibut arrived at Rancho Coastal. He was truly a new cat! Healthy, handsome, ready for a forever home. Halibut has decided that “Thank you” might be a nickname for him. It’s an unusual name for a cat, but if it had not been for the excellent medical care and attention he received at the Animal Care Facility, he’d never be enjoying life today. Less than three months after arriving at Rancho Coastal, Halibut started his new life in a home that also has an elderly cat and a small dog. Life is good at last!

by Diane Johnson, RCHS volunteer