‘A miracle’: Manitoba community helps injured cat get second chance at life

The community of Gimli has come together to help ensure a beloved feline was able to get life-extending care.

Leo, also known locally as the “South Beach Tom Cat”, has been visiting multiple homes in the community for many years, including Dee Dee Miyai’s.

“He’s really become like a therapy cat to me and like one of my best friends,” Miyai said.

Leo, also known locally as the “South Beach Tom Cat,” is pictured in an undated image. Gimli residents recently came together to help pay veterinarian bills once Leo developed health problems. (Submitted: Dee Dee Miyai)

Miyai and other residents of the community would help ensure Leo was healthy, and were trying to help him transition to being an indoor cat and make sure he was neutered. An appointment was booked for April for neutering, however Leo’s health took a turn for the worse.

“He got a really bad infection in his neck, like an open wound, that turned into an abscess and a sore leg,” Miyal said, saying the infection may have been from a fight with another cat.

Leo was taken to the veterinarian and put on antibiotics, which costs hundreds of dollars. Miyai put out a call online for help from the community to help cover Leo’s vet bills, raising more than $500.

“The whole community really came together for one cat,” Miyai said. “It’s a miracle Leo’s alive.”

While Leo is alive, his life has changed. The veterinarian determined he had feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), which means he will now have to permanently become an indoor cat. Miyai said the son of a friend of hers is in the process of adopting Leo, to ensure he has a forever home.

“I’ll forever be a friend of Leo’s and still visit him,” she said.

Leo, also known locally as the “South Beach Tom Cat,” is pictured in an undated image. Gimli residents recently came together to help pay veterinarian bills once Leo developed health problems. (Submitted: Dee Dee Miyai)

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