TOWNSEND — “She’s got eight lives left, but only one eye,” said Animal Control Officer Mary Letourneau.
Jane, known for three weeks as Wink, was on her way home to School Street with family members John King and his son Daniel, 11.
One of those dreaded late-night calls came in to Letourneau’s house at 11:30 on July 3. A small cat had been hit on the road behind the common.
The driver was distraught. “The poor girl was a mess. The poor girl, she was just freaking,” Letourneau said.
The cat was in bad shape. An eyeball was out of its socket and she had other head trauma. The injured animal was put in a box in the kennel room, Letourneau expected her to be dead in the morning.
A few short hours later, Jane said “meow,” to Letourneau’s amazement.
With such a fighting spirit, the Animal Control Officer knew the animal had to be saved. If an animal is picked up, the town is required to provide care, but that care can be euthanasia, Letourneau said.
The folks at Townsend Veterinary Hospital patched up the little black cat with white markings. The damaged eyeball was removed and further surgery for the head trauma was done.
For lack of a better name, the recovering kitty was called Wink. She won the hearts of her rescuers.
“She’s a peach,” Letourneau said.
Wink lost quite a bit of weight during her recovery. Because of the damage to her sinuses, she could not smell. Cats with no sense of smell will not eat, Letourneau said, so the cat was fed by a syringe for nearly three weeks.
In the meantime, the King family missed their kitty. They rescued the nearly feral cat from Letourneau about a year and a half ago. The family thought their cat had been eaten by a wild animal. It happened before. Their home is close to Howard Park.
“She’s always been an indoor/outdoor cat,” John said, holding the purring cat close.
“We’ve been missing her,” he said.
Daniel did not say a word.
On July 23, Kim King, John’s wife, posted on Facebook. “It has been almost a month since our cat, Jane, went missing … I have been trying not to think about her, how much I miss her, and wish she would come back. I hate not knowing what happened to her. Now I think it is time to say goodbye. I love you Jane!”
Kim jumped the gun.
Before going to the Animal Control Officer’s house the next day to do a story on the missing cat, a Townsend Times correspondent spotted the posting. A comparison of markings revealed that Wink was really Jane.
Despite having placed the cat with the Kings, Letourneau did not recognize the animal. Over the last 10 years, more than 300 cats have been through the shelter.
Letourneau contacted the family immediately and the cat was on her way home within half an hour.
“I can’t believe she’s coming home,” John said.
Jane, or more formally Jane Bond 007 — named for the tuxedo-wearing agent — has racked up quite a veterinarian’s bill.
The final total is $717 for the surgery, medicine and follow-up care.
Six weeks ago, the Townsend Veterinarian Hospital started a special fund to help pay for care their patients cannot afford and treatment for strays. One of the clinic’s clients passed away recently and the fund was started at her request.
The Kings were asked to pay whatever they can for Jane’s care, but funds are tight for this unplanned expense.
One daughter enters college this year and three more children are still at home.
Donations to help pay for Jane’s care can be made to the Townsend Veterinary Hospital Stray Fund, 354 Main St., Townsend, MA 01469.