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Curiosity didn't kill the cat

In an unlikely recovery, a Tri-Cities resident's tabby cat is alive with a major leg injury after being hit by a car July 2.

The cat is Mittens, an orange and white polydactyl whose thumbs are large and prominent. He belongs to Rebecca Grosso, magazine coordinator at Shaw Media, who said he is both an inside and outside cat who is friendly and mellow. She also describes him as tolerable since he lives with two young children.

On the night of July 2, Grosso said her son noticed police cars at Renaux Boulevard and Route 64 and thought a dog was hit by a car. When Mittens didn't come home the next day, Grosso suspected that the cat was involved in the previous night's accident and called the police, who confirmed her suspicion.

Mittens' recovery is due, in large part, to Emily Watts, who hit the cat and took him to the hospital.

"I saw [Mittens] dart out in front of me, and it felt like I hit a stick," Watts said. "I took my car and blocked him from oncoming traffic, I just put my hazard lights on."

Watts said she called police officers, who went to the scene and gave her three options: give Mittens over to their care, take him to the hospital herself or leave him by the side of the road and let nature take its course.

"[Mittens] was bleeding out of the mouth, and I honestly didn't think he was even going to make it to the hospital," Watts said.

While in the hospital, Grosso said Mittens was hooked up to an IV and had an ultrasound to check for internal bleeding, of which there was none. He did sustain a concussion but recovered, leaving most of the injury in his left hind leg.

After staying in the hospital for three days, Mittens was transferred to the St. Charles Veterinary Clinic and went under the care of veterinarian Kim Labak.

"[Mittens] started feeling a lot better once we started getting him on medications and antibiotics; fortunately he didn't have broken bones," Labak said. "There is permanent ligament damage in his leg, but his life is saved and we warded off infection."

Veterinarian James Miles of the St. Charles Veterinary Clinic said he suspects three ligaments were torn around Mittens' knee, which leaves the option to either amputate the leg or preform surgery to stabilize it.

"You only need three legs to be sturdy," Labak said. "[Three-legged cats] are very common because it is harder to rehabilitate and do surgery on little cat bones."

Labak said her main goal is to do what it takes for Mittens to return to his normal activities.

"[Mittens] is worth every penny," Grosso said. "I can't give him up."

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