Smash Johnson was a stray that started turning up at Angie and Brad Short’s Mt. Pleasant home on occasion for food. One day Smash badly needed a vet, who suggested they put him to sleep after he tested positive for feline HIV. Instead, they nursed him at home with their other two cats, Essie and Millie. Six years later, Smash sleeps on his own pillow in the Short’s bed, enjoys basking in the sun and checking his Facebook followers. There’s no big story behind his name, they just liked the sound of it. Angie tells his story.
Banged up: We took Smash to the vet after he’d been in a massive cat-fight, and he recommended Smash be put to sleep due to the feline HIV. We knew he’d come to us for a reason – his vocal chords had been damaged and when he tries to meow, it’s still a very soft, quacking sound. So we decided to have our other two cats vaccinated so we could bring him home.
To the Man Cave: I tease Brad that he capitalized on Smash’s recovery. For the three months Smash had to be separated till the other cats’ vaccine series took effect, we turned his quarantine (i.e our empty bonus room) into a media room, complete with 60-inch TV and movie-style chairs. We’d spend nights and weekends in there so Smash wouldn’t be alone.
Da Bears: It took about eight months for him to heal entirely, but now, Smash has his own Chicago Bears jersey and watches the games with Brad. In the morning, he wrestles Essie with moves like WWE at the foot of the bed till we feed them. Since the cats are now indoors-only, we put a cat flap on the door to our screened-in porch, where Smash is almost always laying in direct sunlight, no matter how hot it is.
Against the odds: Smash now weighs 10 pounds, 12 in winter. He’s the healthiest he could be and there’s a chance he’ll never develop the auto-immune deficiency. We had no idea the misconceptions surrounding feline HIV till we had a reason to research it. He still sees the same vet and everyone in the office loves Smash. He’ll probably be fine the rest of his life, and we could have completely missed out on him. Hilary Trenda
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