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Sunday, Oct 22, 2017
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Cat finds way home after 11 days, 2 broken legs

SPRING HILL - Giggle-Blizzard may really have nine lives. The cat disappeared from his Spring Hill home Nov. 15. Eleven days later, on Thanksgiving Day, owner Tracie Steger heard a faint meow on her front porch. "My niece opened the door and he came hobbling in, two legs forward, and then baby steps with his back legs," she said.
Giggle-Blizzard was home - but with broken hind legs. Steger has 13 pets, and on the night her cat went missing, she had called for her animals to come inside. They all came, except Giggle-Blizzard. "When I realized he wasn't coming back, my dog and I walked the neighborhood," she said. Steger put up posters and placed an online message on Craigslist. She wandered the neighborhood with her 6-year-old nephew, Christopher Jameson, calling for Giggle-Blizzard. After about 10 days, some bad news: A neighbor said she'd seen Giggle-Blizzard get hit by a car the previous Saturday more than a mile from home. "She didn't tell me until Wednesday because she didn't want me to be sad," Steger said. Steger didn't give up hope. She and Christopher spent the afternoon looking in the area where her cat had been hit. The next day, Giggle-Blizzard arrived back home. "I really believe if we didn't go out on Wednesday and leave our scent trail, he wouldn't have found his way home," Steger said. But getting home was only half the cat's battle. "I was so excited and frantic and happy and crying and everything all at the same time," Steger said. "I picked him up; we went right to animal emergency." Giggle-Blizzard had two severe fractures. He has had two surgeries to set the bones and now wears two green casts. Veterinarian Mike Kern of the Animal Care Center of Weeki Wachee describes the injuries as serious but isn't surprised Giggle-Blizzard made it home. "They do very, very amazing things," he said. Kern expects the cast will be removed from Giggle-Blizzard's left leg within two weeks. The right leg will take a little longer to heal, but within a few months, the cat should be completely healed. Giggle-Blizzard's bills have already topped $3,000, but Steger said it's money well spent. She posted a message on Craigslist to others who have missing pets. "I just had it in my heart to post on Craigslist that if you've lost your pet, don't give up, because we didn't," she said.

News Channel 8 reporter Natalie Shepherd can be reached at (813) 225-2703.

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