Friday, January 27, 2012


 Hi, my name is Blackberry. Strange name for a cat, you say? I get that a lot. My adoptive family gave it to me when my sister and I came to live with them. We were just six weeks old. That was 2 ½ years ago. The family had such a hard time coming up with a name that would really represent me. Nervous doesn’t begin to describe my apprehension as I waited for the verdict. You see, I wasn’t the first pure black cat to be adopted by this family. The last one they referred to as ‘Polka-Dot’. I won’t go into any details, but when that boy would turn his back on you with his tail standing tall, all they could focus on was that bright pink…Anyway! Where was I? Oh yes, my name. I have what they tell me are ‘glorious white claws’ that remind them of thorns. Since I am a black cat with thorns, what better name for me than: Blackberry!

Life was fun as a kitten. Like many cats from my generation I learned a lot of my life skills on the computer. The first mouse I ever caught was on the screen. It was my dream to become a world famous hunter.  I would pretend to be a vicious black panther and pounce on anyone or anything that moved. 

As I became a teenager, the dreams of my childhood began to disappear. I knew I had to figure out what to do with my life. I played with the idea of becoming a model, but the only photographer in my area didn’t have the skill to keep up with my antics and could rarely get a good shot.

My sister matured faster than I did and settled down to raise a family. I admit it, I was angry. I didn’t understand how she could give up her freedom and all the fun we had as kittens for a pack of brats! That was a really dark time for me. I left home. Moving from the upstairs to the downstairs was a huge adjustment....That’s how my drinking problem began. I admit, it was a hard habit to break. I struggle with it to this day. Thankfully I have a wonderful support group that helps me close the lid on my addiction.

When my sister’s kittens were born I was amazed to see that all but two of them took after me. It took a while, but I finally learned to accept them. When I saw the love my sister had for those helpless little creatures, it got me to thinking seriously about my life. It ended up being a major turning point. 

That’s when I decided to become a therapist. I discovered I had a unique talent for helping humans deal with their pain. I just instinctively seem to know where a human is having trouble and I climb up and lay on whatever part is hurting. I generate heat that simulates that of a heating pad. The humans around me are always amazed that I know just where to go and just how to lie to provide the most relief. It is more than a career for me. I’ve genuinely grown to love all those I care for.

I live in a great area for a cat. There are so many big trees to climb and plenty of mice to chase. But there are dangers as well. Last week I was out having some fun and I wandered a little too far into enemy territory. I was running around reliving the dreams of becoming a world famous hunter when out of nowhere a blinding pain sliced through one of my front legs. I was too stunned to know what had happened. I just knew I had to get home. When my family let me in, I put on a brave face and went to lay by the fireplace. I didn’t want to worry anyone, so I didn’t say a word. No one knew I was hurt.

I’m a social cat and I needed to be with my family. I made my way to where they were and sat up in front of them. I wanted so badly to jump in my adoptive mother’s lap, but I couldn’t. Someone came to pick me up. I couldn’t help it, I cried out in pain. I tried to be my affectionate, social self but I couldn’t move. Everyone came, gathered around, and tried to figure out what was wrong with me. They could feel that one of my front legs was swollen and there was a small spot that was sticky where I had been hurt. Very gently, they probed the area and discovered what appeared to be a small cut near my joint. I heard someone say, “It looks like he might have gotten caught on a nail.”

They called the vet and took me in to be examined the next morning. The car ride was uncomfortable, but everyone kept telling me how brave I was. The doctor could see right away that my leg was broken and was almost certain she felt a foreign object in my shoulder. She took an x-ray to see just what was going on.

When the results came back, we were all stunned and horrified. I had become the victim of a senseless crime. I had been shot. The bullet was still inside, and my leg had been shattered. They couldn’t fix it. I was going to lose my leg and perhaps my life…

The doctor gave me some medication for the pain. Then my family took me home so they could discuss my future and what would be best for me. Could I live a happy life with only three legs? Would I be completely defenseless against predators? For two long days they deliberated. I was determined not to let it get me down. There is no use to worry about something you have no control over.

The pain medication worked wonders. I pushed past my awkwardness and went back to work. I have a patient who suffers from severe arthritis, so I put my own problems to the side and found a way to get into her lap to comfort her.

My family loves me, and they are determined to take care of me despite my newfound disabilities. I am going in for my surgery today. The doctor says I should pull through just fine. I’ve lost one of my nine lives, and I mourn the loss deeply. But I am a fighter, and I am determined to value and cherish the eight I have left.

Animal cruelty is a serious crime. In Washington State it is a felony, and a violator can face up to 5 years in jail and a fine of $10,000. Visit the links below to see what the laws are in your area and how you can report animal cruelty.

If you know an animal who is recovering from a serious injury, why not send them a card to let them know
you care. Their adoptive family will appreciate it more than you know.

Visit Greeting Card Universe to find the purr-fect sentiment:
And stay tuned for updates on Blackberry's recovery.


  1. What a gorgeous kittie Blackberry is. I know he will get well and continue to make your lives so rich and full. I look forward to your updates to follow Blackberry's journey. Take care.

  2. That is just precious, Tracie, and I'm so sorry that happened. I've started fostering dogs again and human cruelty never ceases to amaze me.

    Give Blackberry a hug when he gets out of surgery and back on three legs.


  3. This is such a heart-warming story. Love your images...elizabeth

  4. What a well-written, heart-warming story Tracie! And, Blackberry you sweet, beautiful lady . . . listen to your mom and get your strength back so you can romp the wilds faster than ever! The good news is that thousands of animals live wonderfully normal lives on three legs - they are in fact a good role model for humans who suffer a similar loss of limb.

  5. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story with amazing photos to go with it. Please have Blackberry update us as soon as possible.

  6. Thank you for the happy ending, Tracie. After reading about Blackberry on Facebook, I felt so sad and was really hoping that it would work out for him. So glad to hear it is. :) Lots of love to you, your family, and your beautiful, brave Blackberry.


  7. You are indeed an extraordinary story teller and photographer! I will never understand how anyone could do something like this...makes me feel so sad. Hugs to you and Blackberry!