In 2017, there were many memorable folks who shared their stories with The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette, and we wanted to catch up with some of them before the year’s end. Here is the fifth story in our “Where are they now?” series.
You might be saying to yourself, “What’s the big deal? That’s pretty huge for a cat!”
Toby is not normal cat — he’s a serval and looks more like a cheetah or a leopard than he does a tabby. The exotic pet weighed more than 40 pounds when he escaped through a window of his Hardeeville home in August.
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Christine Ismail, Toby’s owner, said Monday that when the African cat was finally captured Saturday in Palmetto Bluff, he had just been attacked by a dog and escaped the fracas by swimming into a nearby pond.
A resident heard the struggle, and staff with the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy — who had been working for months with Ismail to try to trap Toby — were called to the scene.
Because Toby was weak from months outside and the scrape with a canine, one the conservancy staffers was able to capture the exotic African pet, Ismail said.
Ismail was called and she rushed to Palmetto Bluff.
Toby was at last reunited with his owner, but his condition was still touch and go.
He was taken to Port Royal Veterinary Hospital where he was treated for a variety of symptoms related to exposure, dehydration, and possibly pneumonia, hospital vet Marikay Campbell said Monday.
“When he first came in, he was basically terrified,” Campbell said.
Toby was sedated Saturday afternoon and given fluids, antibiotics and a full panel of medical tests, she said.
“He woke up very nicely (from sedation) and on Sunday morning he was alert,” Campbell said. “He was ready to eat, and that’s a big step forward.”
Campbell said by Sunday afternoon, Toby was finally ready to head home.
“It was my opinion that he would be less stressed at home,” she said.
Ismail said she is beyond thrilled to have Toby homed and reunited with his family.
She was effusive Monday in her praise for all of those in the community who helped spread the word about Toby and assisted in bringing him home in one piece.
“Toby is not strong right now, but with every meal he’s getting better,” she said.
Campbell agreed that it appears the serval’s health “is moving in the right direction.”
“Things are moving forward in baby steps, but forward nonetheless,” she said.
Ismail said she is determined to ensure Toby makes a full recovery.
“My cat is a survivor,” she said.