The Flin Flon, Creighton and Area SPCA has lost its hard-luck-but-gentle feline ambassador.
Noah – the orange tabby cat that became the face of the local SPCA after being found nearly dead in 2013 – passed away Dec. 19 following complications with his digestive system.
SPCA shelter manager Carmen Ward said Noah had suffered from bowel obstructions since March. When the issue returned again a week before Christmas, a hard decision had to be made.
“He had lost the use of his backend when we found him and he wasn’t able to have a bowel movement easily because of it. It was really becoming a problem,” said Ward. “Knowing we don’t have a vet here and knowing that we could be in a really bad situation if Noah took a turn for the worse [through the holidays], we decided to have him euthanized. He wasn’t feeling good, was in a lot of pain and crying. It wasn’t a good situation.”
The end of Noah’s life could have been far more tragic, though.
In March 2013, the local SPCA received a call from a man in Creighton reporting the sound of cat cries coming from a shed in his neighbor’s yard. Carmen, her daughter Hannah Rogerson and staff member Gail Neufeld responded immediately.
Upon arrival, they found an orange tabby cat beneath an old all-terrain-vehicle. He was suffering from starvation, severe frostbite and was unable to move on his own.
Carmen managed to pick him up without trouble and they rushed him back to the shelter.
“I would say he was someone’s cat because he was found neutered, but obviously he had been out all winter,” Ward said, adding that Noah was probably about seven years old at the time. “I think if we didn’t find him, he would have been dead within
The frostbite was extremely bad. Noah had damage to his ears and the pads of his paws were peeling away. There were also deep wounds on the hocks of his hind legs, which the veterinarian suggested were so frozen, both Achilles tendons were severed and the cat would never walk properly again.
For the next few weeks, Noah only slept and ate, moving just enough to use a litter box lined with newspaper, as regular litter would stick to his wounds. When he was able to move more ably, his walk was a shuffle due to the irreparable damage to his hind legs. The healing process took months.
“We weren’t sure if he would make it, but we worked around the clock to bring him back,” said Ward. “He still had open wounds on his back legs that never quite healed over and no ears, but the foot pads grew back fine.”
As Noah got healthier, he began to spend more and more time outside of the kennel until Carmen ultimately decided he didn’t need to return. Noah made the SPCA his home. He spent most of his time in Carmen’s office, either on a nearby bed or in her desk drawer.
“He became the ambassador of our shelter because of the condition we found him in,” Ward said. “He was a fighter from the beginning, but always gentle and always got along with the other animals in the shelter. When kittens would come in, he would take them under his wing and he was an all-around cool guy. I started thinking I wanted him to become the face of our shelter. This is what we do here, so he was the perfect ambassador.”
Soon, Carmen and the SPCA staff were using Noah for educational purposes. He was the perfect example of a rescued pet that required extensive attention. Visitors to the shelter and school kids would ask questions about his missing ears and his walking problems, giving staff and volunteers an opportunity to explain what a neglected animal can suffer from.
Noah’s image was also put on a line of clothing, hats, toques, tea towels and other promotional items. He was brought to fundraising events, where he was treated as a celebrity.
“He made the shelter more personable for our followers,” Ward said. “People came in from all over Canada and even the States, and the first thing they wanted was to meet Noah. They followed him on Facebook and purchased hoodies with his face on them. It was really cool that Noah was real and he brought the reality of animal abuse to life.”
There are currently three projects to mark Noah’s life as ambassador for the Flin Flon, Creighton and
A Noah Fund is being developed in his memory to continue his legacy as a representative for neglected, abused and abandoned animals in the area.
Noah’s name will also be added to the shelter’s Memory Tree, where contributors can memorialize friends, family or pets with a $200 donation and a plaque on the wall.
Finally, a board member has approached Ward about having a statue of Noah created for the front of the shelter.
Organizers are currently looking into the costs associated with it.
“He will continue to be the face of the SPCA and we will continue with Noah on our merchandise. He’ll always be a part of our society here,” said Ward.