Hardy was normally a reliable six-year-old male cat who enjoyed spending time lounging around the home of rural Stoughton resident Julie Johnson.
That all changed on Thanksgiving 2020 when Julie discovered Hardy ran away from home. She feared the worst.
“The night he disappeared we heard tons of coyotes, and we just assumed they came and snagged him,” she said. “Hardy was really heavy and slow. So, we assumed a coyote got him.”
Yet, Hardy proved to be one resilient animal.
He was located in early April after more than four months on his own and was brought by his finder to UW Veterinary Care, and was later transferred to DCHS.
DCHS used the Hardy’s microchip to determine his owner, but Julie could not be contacted by phone because her number had changed. Fortunately, the address on file was still accurate!
Julie received a notice in the mail to let her know Hardy had been found and was undergoing medical treatment. She called DCHS right away! Hardy finished his treatments and was home with Julie just two days later. He looked a lot different than he did four months earlier before his escape.
“We could hardly recognize him. He was so thin,” Julie said. “Other than that, he knew us right away.”
Hardy still needs medical care by his veterinarian, but Julie is happy to have him back.
“He’s my sweet boy,” she said.
Extensive medical attention
After Hardy was transferred to DCHS from UW, Dr. Uri Donnett, DCHS's Chief Shelter Veterinarian, said the cat still needed medical attention.
“He was quiet, had a high fever, and appeared to have large swelling on the right side of his face,” said Donnett. “UW started him on antibiotics and pain medication in preparation for his transfer to the shelter.”
Hardy was sedated for surgery on a swollen painful abscess on the side of his face that was infected. The injury had to be lanced and drained.
“He was still running a fever and was also noted to be thin and have a fractured tooth,” Dr. Donnett said. “Once sedated, the right side of his face was clipped and closed wounds with swelling underneath were noted. His abscess was opened and flushed out, and a drain was placed in the wound to ensure that it could continue to drain. He remained on pain medication and antibiotics, and recovered well from the sedated event.”
Hardy was admitted to the shelter’s medical services intensive care unit. Medical staff kept a close eye on him and monitored his healing and comfort.
After four days, the drain was removed, and Hardy underwent a dental procedure to remove a broken and painful tooth. His fever dropped, and he was comfortable without the pain medication. Hardy stayed at the shelter for a total of eight days.
After his medical care wrapped up, Julie happily took sweet Hardy home. She was amazed that he survived after being on his own all winter and early spring.
Julie has owned and loved cats her entire life. She currently has two additional cats; a young, adult female and 20-year-old male. Julie said her cats help relax and calm her.
“It’s wonderful. They get rid of any stress I have by just petting them, or having them sit on me, kneading me or purring,” she said.
Thanks to Hardy's microchip, this story has a happy ending! Make sure your pets' information is up-to-date in case they end up lost in the future. Learn more and find a guide to updating your information here.