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If you’d like to make a donation or inquire more about adopting one of the animals, contact Monika Wilcox at 351-3509.
By MARTY FINLEY
RADCLIFF – Monika Wilcox stands over a sick cat that has fallen into her care, looking at the large and ever-growing gash that lines the feline’s belly, pondering what to do next.
The cat has a flesh-eating disease that is progressing rapidly, and without proper care and medication, the animal will die.
It’s a situation Wilcox has faced often lately and she doesn’t know what to do anymore.
Wilcox operates Woodland Wildlife in Radcliff with her husband and takes care of about 600 animals in total, with squirrels, ducks, songbirds, turtles, owls, hawks and an alligator calling it home.
But for the last few months, Wilcox has been taking care of cats that are in “deplorable” conditions, and she is having trouble treating them all. The influx of cats at the facility is different for Wilcox because cats are not an animal they normally care for.
“I’m ready to throw the towel in,” she said.
Wilcox has been taking care of wildlife for nearly two decades, but said the number of sick animals – primarily the addition of the cats — is taking a toll on her, physically and financially.
“(We have) no cat houses, no litter and no food, and my checkbook says zero,” she said, her voice mixed with exasperation, exhaustion and disgust.
Wilcox said she has been trying to get help from various animal hospitals and veterinarians, but mostly has been met with rejection.
One of the cats is plagued by a black splotch that covers its nose and most of the length of its mouth, which Wilcox fears could be cancerous. Yet she does not have the money to pay for the animal’s treatment, she said.
“Too many animals, not enough donations,” she said.
Wilcox said she tries to help people in the community who can’t afford treatment to take their animals to a veterinary clinic or animal hospital. She treats dog bites, broken legs and other ailments, but said people are dropping the animals off at a rapid pace and she doesn’t feel equipped to take care of them anymore.
“I’m not a humane society,” she said.
The first batch of cats arrived about three months ago, most in poor condition. However, many bounded around the facility Thursday, showing marked improvement from the pictures Wilcox took when they arrived.
“They’re getting better,” she said of the group, which all were given to her by one owner.
Medication to care for them is pricey. Wilcox said she has spent $800 or more for medication to treat them, and her supplies are waning.
Baytril, an antibiotic used to treat infections in dogs and cats, is one of the medicines she’s running out of, shaking a bottle of the medication to illustrate how low it is.
“When you’re treating 24 cats you go through a lot of bottles,” she said.
She said the facility likely is facing bankruptcy because of the bills, with a recent amputation bill for a poodle adding up to more than $1,100. In addition, she said she is working hour after hour with the animals, getting an average of four hours of sleep a night.
Wilcox said the poodle came to her in a weak state about two weeks ago. The amputation was a necessity, performed by a veterinarian in Shepherdsville, but she said she cannot pay the bill. The dog was moving about the facility, but Wilcox said she may have to redo stitching on the leg.
The poodle’s plight is not the only one. A cat that the facility received earlier this week had an appendage riddled with gangrene and Wilcox had to make a risky decision. Realizing the cat was going to die, she amputated the leg to the hip, which she suspects could bring legal consequences. However, she said she does not care because she had no choice.
The fondness Wilcox has for the animals is obvious as she points outs one of the bigger cats that stands alert as she walks into the room, saying it would make a great companion for someone.
Companionship is what she hopes to provide the cats in the future through adoption.
Donations, the facility’s source of funding, also are welcome.
“I’m desperate,” she said.
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762.