A team of veterinarians in Arlington, Virginia, worked through the weekend to save the life of an orange tabby cat who was found shot in the head with an arrow on Valentine’s Day.
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is documenting on social media the recovery of the cat now named Cupid, and the shelter is asking the public for help raising several thousand dollars for his medical care.
“He’s doing really, really well so far, so things are looking up for this little guy,” Chelsea Jones, the league’s communications specialist, told WTOP.
The wounded cat was discovered last week in West Virginia, not far from the Virginia border, by the Potomac Highlands Animal Rescue Group, Jones said.
When that group couldn’t afford to pay for the surgery, the Arlington group stepped in.
“As soon as we heard the story and saw the pictures, we just had to take him,” Jones said.
The cat was transported to the Arlington shelter over the weekend. That’s when Jones and others with the league got their first look at the little guy — and where he earned his new name, Jones said.
“When he arrived and we opened his crate, we’re kind of shocked to see this cat with an arrow shift sticking out of his face, is making biscuits …. That’s when cats knead their paws,” she said. “It’s a very comforting, positive behavior. And he was purring, and he wanted us to scratch his tummy and his chin. And we just could not believe that this cat was being so affectionate and friendly in how much pain he must be in.”
“So, it was kind of right there and then, we were like, ‘We gotta call this guy Cupid,'” Jones said.
Cupid was rushed to surgery on Sunday. The vet team worked for two hours to safely remove the 5-inch arrow, including using bolt cutters to remove the arrowhead.
Amazingly, the 5-inch arrow shaft missed Cupid’s eyes, brain and other major organs and arteries, Jones said.
Cupid emerged from the surgery doing well.
“Unfortunately, the bigger concern is that he has a very severe infection related from the injury,” Jones said. “So, they had to clean out the wound and there was a lot to be done. I was in there the whole time watching, and it was a lot of work. But they were able to get most of it and sew him up, and get him on some pain meds and antibiotics.”
The top-notch medical care comes with a price tag. All told, the group expects the bill to come to $6,500 and is seeking donations from the public to cover the cost of Cupid’s care.
“In the end, if we’re able to raise more than $6,500, the great thing is that money enables us to do this again if we need to,” Jones said. “We never want to say no to an animal that needs help. So any funds that we raise past what Cupid needs for his care will go to help other animals that are in desperate need of life-saving care.”
Jones said the focus now is on getting Cupid back to full health, saying he still faces a “rocky road.”
But, she said, she’s already hearing from people who are interested in offering Cupid a new home.
“We’re not quite there yet,” Jones said. “We will be letting people know. We’re going to try to update people as often as we can.”