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Saturday, Sep 23, 2017
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After long crawl home, injured cat's broken legs healing

SPRING HILL - One down. One to go. Giggle-Blizzard, the Hernando County cat that crawled home more than a mile after being hit by a car in November, got his cast off his left leg. "Right now it's just a matter of getting that strength back. He's lost a lot of muscle mass and it's just, you know, getting used to it again," said owner Tracie Steger, petting the cat's long, gray and white fur.
It's been a long road to recovery for Giggle-Blizzard. He disappeared from Steger's Spring Hill home Nov. 15. He crawled home 11 days later, on Thanksgiving, with two broken legs. He'd been hit by a car more than a mile from home. "I'm amazed every day by what I see animals get through," said Steger. "Things people would not endure." Giggle-Blizzard has had numerous surgeries to repair his legs. His right leg still is still in a cast. "He gets round the house now by pulling his two legs forward and using his back left leg as a rower," Steger said. Giggle-Blizzard's story has gotten worldwide attention. Steger said she's gotten calls from Animal Planet and People Magazine. It's been printed in newspapers as far away as Russia. "When I go on the Internet and see that his story has been around the world and back, I think his story just touched some hearts at the right time of the year," she said. Steger estimates she's gotten hundreds of letters and emails, as well as several donations to help pay for the cat's medical bills, which total more than $4,200. "All the well-wishes, all the emails, the donations, it's just been something to carry me through each day," she said. But Steger said the stories she's heard from the owners of other missing pets have touched her the most. She has encouraged other owners with missing pets not to give up hope their pets will come home. "That's the part that people don't see," she said. "The thank you's I've gotten because of the few pets that have returned because of Blizzard's story." Giggle-Blizzard is expected to get the cast off his right leg in a week. After that, veterinarians expect he'll need a month of rehabilitation before he's back up on all fours. "It's just a work in progress. He's been a trouper," said Steger.

Natalie Shepherd can be reached at (813) 225-2703.

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