Cat Severely Injured By Car Serpentine Belt Survives and Thrives Despite Lifelong Disabilities

Ginny’s story was originally shared in the Clear the Shelters Adoption Story Challenge on Ginny won the Runner-up Prize of $1,500 in cash and pet supplies for Cheyenne Animal Shelter! Create your own free Shelter Challenge account and vote for your favorite shelter or rescue group to win cash and prizes. Every time you vote we’ll give an extra donation to shelters!

Ginny was presented to the Cheyenne Animal Shelter on an emergency basis on January 11th, 2020. The patron reported that he had started his car and heard a cry; he found Ginny caught up in his car engine’s serpentine belt. On presentation, Ginny was understandably in shock, but very sweet- she started purring when she was given attention. Radiographs showed that she had fractured the humerus of her right front leg, as well as the tibia of her right hind leg. She had also broken a tooth.

Her limbs were splinted, the damaged tooth was removed, and Ginny was housed in the Veterinary Clinic at the Cheyenne Animal Shelter while she healed. Her bones started to heal, but it was noted that Ginny was not able to use her left hind limb normally. She could still move it and still felt when the leg was touched, but would not bear weight on it.

Radiographs had been taken of her lower back and pelvis, but no abnormalities were noted on those films. A full-body radiograph was taken on February 5th, which revealed a fractured spine that had begun to heal. A splint was placed to provide additional support for her back.


Ginny has stolen the hearts of everyone at the Cheyenne Animal Shelter during her extended stay. Staff members bring her treats and take her on “field trips” to various parts of the shelter (and beyond), and the patron who found her often visits her and donates her favorite foods. Previously an outdoor cat, she is now living the life of a queen, and will soon be ready to find her forever home. She is now managed with manual bladder expressions and medication to help make this easier for her.

An update on Ginny

In March, the COVID-19 crisis hit. In an effort to comply with “stay at home” orders, the Cheyenne Animal Shelter closed down all but the most essential operations, and attempted to get all of its animals into foster homes. Thanks to the generosity of our community, the majority of our cats and dogs were able to find temporary placement in homes to wait out the closures. Ginny needed a special home, so one of the shelter’s veterinary assistants took her home to care for her until the shelter reopened.

Once the shelter began to resume operations, Ginny was made available for adoption. She required a VERY special home, as she will likely never have full function of her hind limbs, and will need help urinating and defecating for the rest of her life.

An amazing application came in from a family who was very willing to help Ginny live the best life possible. The transition was hard for her foster family, but they did everything possible to support Ginny’s new family and teach them how to care for her.

But… Ginny had other plans. As hard as it had been for her fosters to give her to her forever home, it was even harder for Ginny. She liked her new family, but didn’t seem to want to integrate into the household, and had become difficult to care for. She resented her bladder being expressed, and just did not seem truly “at home” in her new environment.

Her new family loved Ginny and cared deeply about her happiness, and they wanted to do what was best for her. Though it broke their hearts, Ginny was brought back to the shelter, and her foster family was delighted to have the opportunity to take Ginny home forever. Inspired by her time with Ginny, the original adopter even began to volunteer in the veterinary clinic at the shelter to help more pets in need.


Ginny has settled into her forever home very well. She loves her big cat brother and her big dog too. She plays and snuggles with them whenever she can. When she’s feeling generous, she will even give cuddles to her human family too! She would rather scoot herself around than be in the confines of her walker; this way, she can climb onto the sofa and do all the things cats love to do. She has a ramp which allows her to get up on her very own bed and also to safely get down.

She has a great appetite and still gets a squeeze-up every day, just like she did at the shelter. She also still enjoys watching “cat TV” on her very own tablet and looking out the window at the birds and squirrels in the backyard. She gets her physical therapy outside whenever possible and moves across the grass very well. She has her new mom and dad wrapped around her paws and takes advantage whenever she can to get her own way. Just ask anyone! Ginny is spoiled! But so very worth everything that everyone has contributed to her well-being.

Story submitted by Ashley Christiansen.

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