WHEATON, IL — When Dreamsicle, a senior orange tabby with one eye, was brought in to DuPage County Animal Services from Wednesday’s dangerously cold weather, she appeared to be “relatively unscathed.” Dreamsicle had extreme frostbite on her paws, but doctors at the shelter hoped the condition was treatable. In the end, Dreamsicle’s paws, which had swollen to nearly twice their size from the frostbite, left her in so much pain that the animal services team opted to euthanize her. In the wake of Dreamsicle’s death, they’re hoping her story can help prevent a similar tragedy in the future.
Staff at DuPage County Animal Services took to Facebook after Dreamsicle was brought in from the cold by a member of the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office. They wrote that Dreamsicle was a “lucky [cat]” and vowed to everything possible to help the tabby forget its “not-so-fun polar vortex adventure.”
Two days later, Dreamsicle was euthanized.
In a post announcing Dreamsicle’s death, shelter staff said the cat’s frostbite, which had affected all four paws and turned her toe pads purple, was showing initial signs of gangrene. Had the vet opted to amputate, Dreamsicle would have been left pawless and unable to walk.
She was euthanized early Friday, surrounded by shelter staff and swaddled in “the warmth of a blanket,” according to the Facebook post.
It is unclear whether Dreamsicle had a family before she found her temporary family and friends at the shelter, but shelter staff said she did not have frostbite on her ears, which may indicate she had some sort of shelter before she was brought in.
DuPage County Animal Services staff are using Dreamsicle’s death to advise residents never to let house cats outside. Cats who are kept outdoors should still have access to adequate shelter, they advise, adding that shelter should ideally be insulated, leakproof, and wind-resistant.
Cat owners should also consider having their cat microchipped, vets advise. Dreamsicle was not equipped with a microchip, which helps owners relocated pets who have gone missing.
Image credit: Scott Anderson/Patch