MELROSE — Could it be true? Do cats really have nine lives?
One cat in Melrose is offering some evidence, or at least making a comeback after a near-death experience.
Tom, now a three-legged cat, was a gunshot victim last August.
Staci Huggins of Melrose found him, nearly dead. He spent 30 days at the Tucumcari Animal Hospital where he lost his leg but was nursed back to health.
Huggins, a hospice nurse, first became aware of Tom through his owner, one of Huggins’ patients.
After the patient died, Huggins attempted to adopt Tom but no one could catch him. He had been a free-roaming cat since January 2021.
Still, Huggins cared for him, leaving out food and letting him know he had a safe haven.
She noticed something was wrong when he took to her garage in August. She realized he’d been shot.
“I was in shock, I was completely in shock,” she said.
There was a lot of blood, a strange smell, and a hole in Tom’s body on his left side.
“I couldn’t believe anyone around here would shoot him,” she said.
Huggins said she told police about the incident but the shooter has not been located.
But Tom’s story may have a happy ending.
His adversity has helped make him a contender for America’s Favorite Pet 2023. That’s a national contest that awards the title to one cat and one dog.
Tom is up against an estimated 1,500 other cats, but he was sitting in third place in the quarter finals as of Saturday.
No one’s counting out the comeback cat.
Learn more about Tom at americasfavpet.com/2023/tom-f49c.