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When Voices For Pets was called with a report of a kitten seen dragging his hind legs, we took him to Disney Pet Hospital in Concord, where he was found to have a puncture wound near his lower spine. Cheryl Coartney, a veterinary assistant at Disney Pet Hospital, fell in love with the kitten, fostered him, and named him Sonny Jim.

Sonny Jim received weeks of physical therapy, massage, and play thanks to Cheryl and the other wonderful people at Disney Pet Hospital, and by June 1999 had 50% use of his hind legs but still was unable to stand. However, Cheryl reported that, in spite of his ordeal, he had no fear of dogs and aside from not having use of his hind legs, Sonny Jim was a normal, playful, energetic and bright-eyed kitten in every way.

When the time was right, Sonny Jim was adopted and moved into his new home. He was indeed fortunate to be adopted by Kadeth, a veterinary technician with special training in treating animals with Sonny Jim's sort of medical problems. Kadeth recently sent Voices For Pets a letter to let us know how Sonny Jim is doing these days.
Sonny Jim
November 1999
Berkeley, CA

We have received a number of inquiries about Sonny Jim, the 4-week-old kitten whose case was last updated in June of 1999, and thought you would like to hear about (and see) how he is getting along now, at the ripe old age of 1-1/2.

Unlike most of the animals that Voices For Pets becomes involved with, Sonny Jim was not a victim of abuse. On April 27, 1999, at four weeks of age, Sonny Jim and a littermate were outside exploring when they crawled under a fence and were attacked by three dogs. The guardian of the dogs managed to rescue Sonny Jim, but his littermate was killed.
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She writes that he is tough and smart, lives and plays with other cats, and dogs, and has the run of an entire house. His medical condition has plateaued and is not expected to change. He takes a number of medications, needs help emptying his bladder and sometimes with passing stool, and will never walk like a normal cat. Kadeth writes, "But that's OK. He's built like a little muscle man, his front legs and shoulders are strong enough to get him around, and up on furniture." With the help of a K9 Cart that she bought him, and which he has "learned to love," "he chases bugs, leaves, eats grass, and charges after squirrels."

Kadeth wants everyone to know that Sonny Jim is well, in a good home, and receives the highest quality of veterinary care, including consultations with spinal and neurological specialists. And he is currently in training to become a sort of treatment specialist himself, as a visitor to children who have sustained spinal cord injuries.

We hope you will enjoy the pictures of Sonny Jim that Kadeth sent. She is hoping, as are we, that the story of Sonny Jim will bring people some hope and joy, because as she writes, "that's what, in the end life is all about."