Kindness of strangers saves cat’s legs

Amber Jempson with her cat, Michael, and dog, Bailey.

A Sunningdale couple say they have been humbled by the generosity of strangers who came to the aid of their cat, which was badly injured in a fall from their fourth-floor flat.

Newlyweds Amber, 24, and Calvin Jempson, 25, say 1-year-old Michael fractured two legs in the fall on Thursday morning January 2.

“We were on the balcony for our morning sun and coffee. We had mesh up, but the estate we live in made everyone remove it due to aesthetic reasons,” said Ms Jempson.

“I looked away for a split second, and something caught Michael’s attention on the little ledge. I did not want to scare him, so I called him back inside because I thought if he got safely out there, he would be able to bring himself safely in.

“He was doing great until he got his hips stuck and he panicked, and, in a normal cat reaction, he tried to reverse. He pushed too quickly, and I started running towards him, but I wasn’t able to grab him in time.”

Ms Jempson said her cat’s cries of pain were gut-wrenching. “That cry will stay with me forever.”

Michael’s front right leg and back right leg were broken, and the couple quickly found themselves facing a big vet’s bill, including R2 500 for an emergency vet visit, over R40 000 for surgical procedures, and more than R8 000 for post-operative care.

The couple’s pet insurance covered some of the costs, but after undergoing a successful seven-hour surgery, Michael will need another operation in about seven months to remove surgical screws and plates.

Ms Jempson started a BackaBuddy campaign on the day of the accident and so far it has brought in more than R17 000 of the R65 000 they are hoping to raise to cover all of Michael’s medical expenses.

“We thought we were going to lose our beautiful boy. We were so overcome with emotions, but to see strangers who have never even met Michael donating and sending good wishes, it was just so heart-warming,” said Ms Jempson.

The family dog, Bailey, a dachshund, who is apparently inseparable from Michael, has taken the cat’s absence the hardest, according to Ms Jempson.

“She (Bailey) refused to eat and showed signs of depression until Michael’s return. They are so accustomed to doing everything together. Right now they are temporarily separated by a crate as Michael undergoes a six-week recovery process.”

Looking ahead, the Jempsons are determined to move to a safer home for Micheal and Bailey, away from the dangers of high-rise living.

Michael survived after falling four storeys but broke two legs.