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Donna Stebbins, a manager at Ace Hardware in South Salem, Ore., is used to answering the phone and fielding questions from DIYers who have found themselves stuck in the middle of a project. But when Penelope Mack called Ace for clues on how to remove floor adhesive from an 8-week-old kitten, Stebbins was stumped – and horrified.
Mack is a board member of Salem Friends of Felines, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping homeless animals.
“A woman called into the shelter and said she had found a kitten in the downtown parking arcade on the second level stuck in floor adhesive, and he couldn’t move,” Mack said. “It was a miracle because the woman who found him called us at three minutes to closing time. We don’t usually answer the phone that late. We told her to find a janitor, and see if anyone could find a way to remove him while we were responding.”
When Mack arrived, so did the Salem Fire Department paramedics, carrying a stretcher, unprepared for what turned out to be a small helpless kitten. They were able to cut the kitten free, but he was still covered in adhesive.
Mack called Ace Hardware for hints on how to remove the adhesive.
“I always go to Ace because it is one of the only places where I can get someone on the line who knows about products,” said Mack.
Stebbins knew products, but she had to read every label and call the manufactures to try and find a solution for the adhesive-laden kitten.
“I am a huge animal lover,” Stebbins said. “It didn’t matter what we had to do, this kitten needed help. There is no tougher glue than floor adhesive. It is a two-part adhesive, and it dries permanent. I researched for a couple of hours, and there was no good answer. Any solvent strong enough to take off the glue would take off skin as well.”
How the kitten got stuck in the adhesive remains unknown, but doctors at the Willamette Valley Animal Hospital in Keizer worked on the kitten for several days. Dr. Laura Magruder, the first veterinarian to work on the kitten, was afraid to use any harsh chemicals, so instead she worked into the wee hours of the morning pulling hair away from his skin and using a razor blade to remove adhesive and fur.
“We went at removing adhesive for two and three days in a row,” said Dr. Sherri Morris, also with Willamette Valley Animal Hospital. “The adhesive is gone, except on his toes. They are still glued together and we are hoping that the hair will grow between his toes and we can cut that out.”
“Donna called in frequently to check on the kitten,” Mack said.
Stebbins’ Yorkie died in December, and she and her cat B.C. have been lonely ever since. “When I thought about it, I knew ‘that is it, there goes my heart’ without even seeing this little guy,” she said.” I loved him!”
Stebbins decided to adopt the kitten, aptly naming his Ace.
Mack appreciates Willamette Valley Animal Hospital for coming to the kitten’s rescue.
“They treat us so well and are always happy to help,” said Mack, whose organization has facilitated more than 6,000 adoptions.
For now, Ace is staying with Mack until the cone around his head to keep his curious tongue from licking his adhesive-covered feet comes off.
“Over all, Ace has done very well,” Morris said. “He seems none worse for the wear, and he should come out of it just fine.”
“I am excited,” Stebbins said. “It is going to be wonderful.”
Willamette Valley Animal Hospital, Ace Hardware, Donna Stebbins and Salem Friends of Felines all did GOOD today.
Salem Friends of Felines Mission:
Mission: to help as many homeless cats and kittens as they can by placing them in loving permanent homes; to reduce feline over-population through education and our spay/neuter assistance program; and to bring more public awareness to the plight of homeless and unwanted cats. To help Salem Friends of Feline continue helping cats like Ace, follow the link http://salemfriendsoffelines.org/donate.html