Lost Langkawi kitty: the heartbreaking tale of Ted


(Free Malaysia Today) – When a stray ginger tabby we would later name ‘Ted’ came into our lives one day, all of us at the Langkawi Animal Shelter & Sanctuary Foundation (LASSie) fell immediately in love. Volunteer vets Sarah MacLaren and Jenny Shell found the kitty one evening as they ate their dinner at an outdoor restaurant along Langkawi Island’s popular Cenang Beach. He was obviously suffering, painfully thin and meowing pitifully. Upon closer inspection, they saw that his lower jaw was broken in half and dislocated. His teeth had been shoved into his gums, causing terrible pain and he was starving to death because he couldn’t eat. In spite of his obvious distress, one of the restaurant’s waiters attempted to hit him with a stick to chase him away. We believe this may be how Ted’s jaw was broken; cruelty at the hands of a heartless human. Sarah and Jenny tenderly bundled him up in their arms and brought him back to LASSie’s clinic in a taxi.


LASSie vets Dr Tim and Dr Lesley immediately started Ted on a regimen of IV fluid therapy. He was severely dehydrated and malnourished and the first thing they needed to do was make sure he could actually withstand treatment and reconstructive surgery. The first couple of days in the clinic, he lay in his cage looking defeated and depressed, as if he had completely lost the will to live. His eyes were blank and he barely moved. Our hearts ached for him. We took turns visiting him, talking to him encouragingly and petting him. He always purred when we came to him even though he was in pain, and this was extremely touching. His cage was placed on the floor close to the desk where I worked, and I spoke to him often. He always meowed back. We were all rooting for him and waiting for the day he could have his surgery. Dr Tim’s plan was to wire his jaw back together and leave the wires in for 6 weeks to give him time to heal.

Finally, Ted’s big day came. We had all been looking forward to this and couldn’t wait for Ted to experience his new repaired jaw. We wanted to watch him chow down without discomfort, and see him enjoying the taste of his food. The surgery was a success and Ted was placed in his cage to slowly recuperate. Wires protruded from the bottom of his jaw, but we could see that it was back in place. We were thrilled to see him looking so handsome and content. All of us had an image of his bright new future, and it included lots of delicious food and cuddles from loving people. We were all inspired by his journey and courage.


Ted was well on the road to recovery when one day, he just seemed a little less like himself. He didn’t eat his breakfast and he looked tired. He wasn’t his usual cuddly self. We thought it was part of his recovery process, or he just wasn’t in such a good mood. The next day, he was worse. He lay on his side and still he didn’t eat. We were terribly worried, but didn’t know what was wrong. He had to be put back on IV fluid therapy and the next day, he was unresponsive. He didn’t move at all and his tongue began to swell. It soon became clear that despite all the vets’ best efforts, all the medication, and all the love we poured into him, he had developed a horrible infection and it was killing him. His breathing became laboured, his tongue swelled so much his mouth wouldn’t close, and he fell into a coma.

We finally had to accept that he had lost the battle, and now his body was just hanging on for us. The heartbreaking decision was made for him to be euthanized. It was a quiet day at the clinic, a Sunday, and it was closed. Just two of us were with him when it happened. I petted him and spoke softly to him as the life left his little body. We waited until he was gone and then I went back to work and cried.

Goodbye, sweet Ted. Thank you for sharing your life with us and inspiring us to try harder to help others like you. We hope that you felt how much we loved you and how much we wanted for your future. Rest in peace, our brave little tiger.

*First published by Lynette Lim in Malaysia’s first and largest interactive pet and animal welfare portal, PetFinder.my.

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