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VIDEO: Nova Scotia cat survives apparent fall after aerial battle

Skippy, the Davis family’s mouser, is seen in his family’s West Lawrencetown home on Thursday. Skippy, who crawled home 10 days after going missing, suffered numerous injuries suspected to be the result of an attack by an owl. He crawled home on three broken legs and was found near the haystack where he usually can be seen most days. TIM KROCHAK
Skippy, the Davis family’s mouser, is seen in his family’s West Lawrencetown home on Thursday. Skippy, who crawled home 10 days after going missing, suffered numerous injuries suspected to be the result of an attack by an owl. He crawled home on three broken legs and was found near the haystack where he usually can be seen most days. TIM KROCHAK - The Chronicle Herald

LAWRENCETOWN, H.R.M, N.S. - Death may have been coming from above, but Skippy the barn cat had other plans.

Skippy disappeared Aug. 26. Ten days later, he showed up back at the hobby farm of owners Blair and Kim Davis in Lawrencetown, Halifax County.

He was worse for wear, Kim said. Skippy had a broken right shoulder, broken front left leg and broken left hip, and had puncture marks and talon marks on a back leg.

The Davises believe the 18-month-old was picked up by an owl, and then started an aerial battle until the bird of prey dropped him, leading to the broken bones.

“Skippy doesn’t go down easy when he’s in a fight. He’ll protect himself,” Kim said. “That’s what we believe, that he fought with the owl in the air and the owl decided this is too much work and let him drop.”

Skippy weighed 16 pounds when he disappeared. He lived in the barn, eagerly and successfully carrying out his job of catching mice and rats that were trying to move in with the horses, goats, donkeys and a mule.

With his one good leg, he somehow managed to drag himself back home to a bale of hay that Blair always goes to when he starts his daily farm chores.

That’s where he was found last Thursday morning.

Blair was shocked to see him.

“Skippy? Really?” he said of his immediate reaction.

“I couldn’t believe that he was there, and he was like ‘I need help, dad,’ and I’m like, ‘I’ll be there, buddy.’” Skippy had lost half his body weight, couldn’t pull himself up, and was lethargic.

“I touched him and he meowed, but he couldn’t stand," Blair said. “My first thought was that he was weak, so I took him downstairs and got him a can of tuna.”

Blair ran upstairs to get Kim.

“I was crying. I’m a veteran with PTSD, so all my animals are my therapy,” he said.

“For Skippy to come home after all that time and have the will to live … I’m like, wow, this is nothing short of a miracle for me, that he had the will to live and wanted to come home, and knew where to go that I would find him in the morning. It was pretty overwhelming and emotional.”

They took him to their vet, who referred him to another vet who does orthopedic surgery. That happened last Friday, with pins and plates fixing the broken bones..

Skippy is home and resting on 14 days bed rest. Kim said he is doing well and being pampered.

“He’s doing remarkable. He tries to get up and walk around when we take him out of his crate,” she said. She takes video and sends it to the surgeon, “and they say that’s amazing, your cat shouldn’t be able to do that with three broken legs.”

Blair had searched their two-hectare (five-acre) property every day until Skippy returned.

“We don’t know where he made his way home from, but it wasn’t within the four or five acres,” Kim said.

The Davises don’t know what might have happened to the owl. Kim said they had always heard one calling around the farm, but didn’t realize until Skippy came back that they hadn’t heard the bird since Skippy’s disappearance. A GoFundMe page was started to cover their vet bills, and has raised a good chunk of the $6,000 goal. Blair said any money beyond what is needed for Skippy will be placed in a fund at the two vets they dealt with to help others with large, unexpected and insurmountable vet bills like theirs.

Once Skippy is healed and back on the job, he won’t be working at night.

“He’ll be going in the basement at night,” Blair said, as will two kittens that also work the farm.

“We want to protect them as much as we can,” he said. “We can’t protect them from everything, but if I can minimize the risk and keep them on the farm still doing their thing and keep them safe, that’s what we’ll be doing now.”

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