June 21st, 2024

‘Nine lives’ nearly scratched before cold cats rescued

By Dale Woodard - Lethbridge Herald on January 12, 2022.

Submitted photo Nathan Dupont holds one of four cats he helped rescue after finding them out in the cold near Popson Park. "There's no way I could let them go now after seeing what they went through."

Studying to become a paramedic, Nathan Dupont recently got to put what he has learned so far to good use.
However, his patients in question were of the four-legged kind and now they’re family pets for Dupont, his girlfriend and their family.
And with the recent deep freeze that was gripping all of Alberta, the paramedic training Dupont received became crucial when he noticed four cats near Popson Park.
“They were close to each other, but only about 10 feet apart,” said Dupont. “None of them were touching. That’s what made me think they were house cats. Normally, street cats will know to huddle together.”
Dupont said he saw the first cat just off the shoulder of the road.
“I pulled up and it didn’t look at the truck or anything. So that’s what made me think something was up,” he said. “They were all just into the ditch, but they were black and with the white snow they were easy to see. One was dark grey. I picked them all up and put them in the truck and drove back to town and told my girlfriend we have to figure out what to do with these four cats.”
The four cats were showing the signs of having been out in the deep freeze weather.
“They didn’t even notice me until I picked them up,” said Dupont. “Their whiskers were all frozen. Two had to go to the vet. One had really bad frostbite on its ears and paws, so they’re blistering and peeling.”
Having picked up the cats, Dupont went into paramedic mode.
“We brought them home and I left them in my truck with just cool air running to heat them up slowly,” he said. “I have a portion of my paramedic and I just figured it has to work the same way with animals as it does with humans. I left them in my truck for the morning and then we brought them into the house in the afternoon.”
Dupont then contacted Elizabeth Ginn at the Last Chance Cat Ranch about what to do next.
“She took them in. We’re going to foster them, but she took the initiative to get them checked at the vet,” he said. “They took care of the bills and they gave us food and litter and everything we need for the cats. So in the end we’re going to end up with all four. There’s no way I could let them go now after seeing what they went through.”
Of the four cats, one was blind, said Dupont.
“He’s just severely dehydrated with some frostbite. The other two kind of bounced back fairly quickly. They must be younger.”
Dupont said the vet couldn’t determine when the cat went blind or if was due to the conditions it was found in.
“So it might have been from the cold just because of their age. But they think it was pre-existing.”
Fortunately, both the cats are back at Dupont’s home and resting. 
“They’re both OK,” he said. “They’ve been here in the house for a couple of days. They’re all moving around and eating. The big one I had to feed on the couch because he couldn’t walk at all. It was pretty pitiful.”
If the cats had original owners and they come forward, Dupont noted they would likely have some explaining to do.
“Elizabeth has said if the owner comes forward, they’re probably going to be in some trouble. So unless they were captured and let go out there, she would need some pretty solid proof to let them go back to the original owners if they do come forward.”
In the meantime, the four cats enter their new home with not only a paramedic-in-training, but also a nurse, which is Dupont’s girlfriend Kristine Hemsley’s occupation.
And in a pinch, that paramedic training paid off.
“They teach you all the hypothermia stuff and how to bring people back,” said Dupont, who just did his Medical First Responder and has to do Primary Care Paramedic next. “It definitely transferred over. My girlfriend is a nurse, so the one is getting medication and he’s taking it whether he likes it or not.”
Hemsley also has two children, who immediately welcomed the new pets into their home.
“Once we brought them in, the kids all took care of them and got them food and got them wrapped,” said Dupont. “They’re comfortable here.”

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thanks for this – i truly needed a reminder that there are some amazing hearts still around and sharing compassion. would have been so easy to just write them off and keep going. you not only saved these critters, you brought light to many needing a boost. awesome!