A little more than two weeks ago, my cat, Bob, was struck by a car. I remember it was a Tuesday, and I had let him outside to use the bathroom and enjoy a bit of fresh air. When I returned home from work that afternoon, Bob was nowhere to be found. This struck me as odd, and I became concerned. But I shook it off. It was possible he was simply in the woods behind the house having a good time with his little stray feline friends. After all, he was, at one time, one of them.

As the sky grew dark, however, I feared the worse. I climbed into bed, praying I was wrong and everything would be fine in the morning. Boy was I wrong. Just as I started to relax and unwind, something, or someone, started banging the screen door against the side of the house. I was scared to death, convinced whatever or whoever it was was trying to get inside. I immediately called my sister, who lives next door, and asked her to help me investigate. What we discovered still amazes me to this day.

An orange bob-tailed cat was causing all the fuss. At first, I thought the cat had gone mad. He was pacing around the porch and meowing. I did not know what to do. And then I saw him -- Bob -- lying on the front porch. The strange cat calmed down once we made out way over to Bob. A quick investigation revealed he was not all right. Initially, I believed he had been poisoned. It soon became evident that he had been hit by a car. I brought him into the house, placed him on a soft blanket, and cried. Then I got angry. Then I cried some more.

Bob was unable to stand on his back two legs. He had blood on his nose and a deep gash on one of his back legs. He was covered in dirt, leaves, and other trash, and he had soiled himself. I tried to clean him up a little bit. Other than that, I simply sat there on the floor with him, rubbing his head, talking to him, and crying.

Even though I prayed for the opposite, I was convinced he was going to die before morning came. I knew my child would be upset and vowed to stay with him until the end. Despite the fact that he had gone through a traumatic event, he was calm, in pain, but calm. As I sat, I found comfort in the fact that he obviously did not go through the ordeal alone. Unlike many humans, he had a caring friend who helped him make his way back home to those who love him. And judging from all the garbage in his fur, it was a long and difficult journey as Bob, with the help of his friend, had dragged himself with his front two paws all the way home and up three steps onto the front porch.

The next morning Bob was still breathing. I carried him to the car and, after dropped my child off at school, took him to Lake Park Veterinary Clinic to Dr. Holly Hodges and Dr. Lea McNeal-Thornhill. The initial diagnosis was frightening -- Bob's back was probably broken, he was completely paralyzed in one back leg, partially paralyzed in the other back leg, and unable to move his tail or urinate on his own. I basically had a paraplegic cat.

Determined to fight, we settled in for the long haul. And although the choice -- which was made possible with the help of the Humane Society -- was a difficult one, it appears to have been the right one. Bob can now swish his tail and responds to touch on one back leg. He still cannot urinate on his own, so we have to express his bladder, which is the hardest thing I have ever done. And even though the other leg is still dead weight, he has tried on several occasions to stand. He's making a miraculous recovery every day.

I, of course, have learned how far patience and love, even love for a 3-year-old cat, can carry you if you let it. To me, he's irreplaceable.

To contact reporter jessica Pope,, please call 244-3400 ext. 255 or e-mail jessica.pope@gaflnews.con

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