Three-legged cat searches for a new home

As Salladhor, an energetic black and white cat, jumps and runs around the Feline Room at the Humane Animal Treatment Society on Isabella Road, it’s hard to believe that just a few months ago he was struggling to learn how to walk on three legs. 

Sal -- as the staff at the animal shelter affectionately call him -- was found on the side of the road by a woman who watched him narrowly escape getting hit by a car. She saw he had an exaggerated limp and was very underfed so she took him to HATS on Jan. 24, where the staff was forced to shave him due to his badly matted fur. 

Once they shaved Sal, the staff discovered that someone had wrapped his body in twine and tied it all around him, so tightly that blood was not circulating to some parts of his body. His skin and muscle tissue were beginning to decay, so the staff amputated his right rear leg and the majority of his tail in an effort to save his life.

Sal faced other problems in the beginning of his recovery, such a gaping hole that had been torn in his ear, which had to be stitched up, as well as ear mites and other infections he had contracted from neglect. However, Meghan McDermott, a Farmington Hills senior who works as the shelters community outreach coordinator, said Sal has always been an “incredibly happy, and sweet cat.”

Initially wary of people when he first arrived to HATS, Sal befriended Mila and Oatmeal, two young and fearful kittens who were also new to the shelter. McDermott said Sal used to limp over to the kittens and reach his paw out to touch them. Eventually, they became comfortable with him enough to allow him to groom them.

“They helped each other in more ways than one. The kittens gave Sal a purpose in his worst time,” McDermott said. “Sal gave Mila and Oatmeal a sense of security when they didn’t have it.”

Sal has warmed up to people since his recovery as well, and has become “an outgoing, loving guy who loves to be the center of attention,” McDermott said. When Sal gets taken out of his kennel to play, he will jump up onto the lap of anyone in the room and begin licking their hand or nudging them with his nose until someone pets him. He then purrs as he proudly grooms his patchy fur, which is still growing back from him surgery.

Although Sal has been “almost adopted” multiple different times throughout his months at the shelter, McDermott said he is usually passed over for other cats who don’t seem as fragile. However, the HATS staff remains positive that the curious and affectionate cat will soon find his forever home. They hope to find a family for Sal who will also want to adopt Oatmeal, the shy kitten Sal has taken under his wing.

On May 5, the Bissell Pet Foundation will be hosting an “Empty the Shelters” event, in which they will pay for the pet adoption fees for any pre-approved adoptions at 66 shelters in Michigan, including HATS. Those who apply before May 5 could take home Sal, Oatmeal or any of the 40+ cats and 12+ dogs currently available for adoption, free of charge.

You can learn more about the Humane Animal Treatment Society, which is located at 1105 S. Isabella Road, at