How an on­line com­mu­nity ral­lied around one very spe­cial cat, cov­er­ing her $ 10,000 surgery so she could go on to brighten days and help oth­ers

Modern Cat - - Star Cat -

A baby opos­sum in the mid­dle of the road?! Not a far­fetched hy­poth­e­sis when driv­ing a coun­try lane in Jack­sonville, Florida, and cer­tainly what Car­men Bernard thought she’d find when she pulled over to get a bet­ter look. To her sur­prise, the small crea­ture turned out to be a kit­ten, “it's poor lit­tle back legs and tail all twisted up,” Car­men re­counts. “I was sure it must have been in pain so I scooped it up in a shoe box and took it home with me so I could get it to a vet.”

The vet promptly de­ter­mined the kit­ten’s in­juries weren’t due to road trauma as Car­men had thought, but rather a ge­netic birth de­fect, and gave Car­men two op­tions—eu­th­a­nize the lit­tle kit­ten or take her home and care for her her­self.

So Car­men came home with the piti­ful kit­ten and de­cided to make a Face­book page for her. “I thought I was be­ing orig­i­nal and had no idea that ev­ery­one and their cousin makes pages for their pets!” she says. When she woke up the next morn­ing to close to 400 likes, she couldn’t be­lieve it. Car­men de­cided to ask the fledg­ing on­line com­mu­nity to give the kit­ten a name. Pret­zel, as she was chris­tened, now has 47,000 thou­sand fans around the world.

It was Pret­zel's fans that sug­gested that Car­men take her to a spe­cial­ist, so Car­men carted the kit­ten off to the Univer­sity of Florida for an eval­u­a­tion, where it was not only de­ter­mined that she would re­quire a series of re­con­struc­tive surg­eries to fix her legs and pre­vent a life­time of skin ir­ri­ta­tions and UTIs due to the way her legs were twisted back and around, but also that she was com­pletely blind. The doc­tors gave Car­men an es­ti­mate of $10,000 for the nec­es­sary surg­eries to fix Pret­zel’s legs. “I thanked the doc­tors and laughed and cried all the way home,” Car­men says. “Who has that kind of money?”

Ap­par­ently Pret­zel’s fans did. Car­men posted an up­date on Pret­zel’s page and im­me­di­ately of­fers of help started pour­ing in. “I never in a mil­lion years ex­pected so many peo­ple to come to the aide of a cat like that. She was even on our lo­cal news broad­cast one night!” Car­men says. Within no time at all, the hos­pi­tal re­ceived enough do­na­tions to cover the cost

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