Hurricane Irma recently brough unprecedented flooding and destruction to Florida and the Gulf Coast. As the area continues to rebuild in the historic storm’s wake Revolver asked bands and artists who hail from (or are based out of) the Sunshine State to recount their Irma experiences. Below, Donald Tardy of death-metal veterans Obituary tells of his noble — and successful — efforts to rescue an abandoned kitten in the heart of the storm.
DONALD TARDY Things never go as planned. The night before the Irma was to hit, we noticed that a house in our neighborhood had a kitten outside. We offered to help trap it for the people who owned the house, but they were not willing. Since they didn’t care about this poor, little eight-week-old baby, I spent two hours with my traps set, waiting for it to come out from under their fence. By 2 A.M., I had to call it off and get home to finish preparing my place for the storm, but laying in bed that night, I knew I had to do something for this little kitten.
So, right as Hurricane Irma was on top of Florida, and just a few minutes before the brunt of the storm was set to be more or less on top of me, I went back in the pouring rain with my net and trap. I snuck up the the front bushes where I thought the kitten would be hiding. I saw it immediately, but it saw me as well, and ran from me. That was when I realized that there was something wrong with the kitten. Its back end was not working right: It had a bad limp, and its back legs didn’t seem to be working properly. I knew right then that this was a serious issue, a much bigger situation I was putting myself in, but I was not going to leave it behind — so I got deeper into the bushes until the kitten was scared enough that it tried to run from me. It came out of the thick bush; because it was either injured or sick, it was not fast enough to get under the fence, giving me my opportunity. I dove onto the driveway, netted the kitten, took it by the scruff of its neck and got it into my carrier.
At this point, the rain and wind were picking up. The trees were beginning to blow sideways. I had to make that decision to go straight home with the kitten, and I put it in a cage ’til the storm passed. I still didn’t know if it was sick or injured — and if so, to what extent — so I drove to my local emergency vet, with whom we have worked very closely with for the past 12 years. They were kind enough to examine the kitten to determine what was wrong. I am pretty experienced with assessing these types of things, and I had a feeling it was either FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) or trauma. After telling the vet what I saw and thought, I remained in the examining room while the doctor checked out the kitten. She immediately noticed the kitten had no feeling in its tail, and limited mobility in its back legs. It — or rather she, it was a little female — was partially paralyzed in her back end, likely from getting hit by a car, or a human.
I surrendered the kitten to the vet so they could assess how bad her injury was, and determine if there was a chance for this little girl. The next day, we recieved good news: The vets had decided to give her a fighting chance and put her through rehab. Sadly, her tail had to be amputated, but she will nonetheless be fixed, vaccinated and entered into an adoption program to find a forever home as a special needs pet. It probably wasn’t my smartest or safest decision I’ve ever made, being outside during a hurricane, but I wasn’t going to ignore the situation, or leave that baby behind.