Norwich - It's odd to use the word "lucky" to describe a cat found shot by an arrow clean through his chest, but Elliot is one lucky cat.
Nick DiStasio was campaigning with Mayor Peter Nystrom Monday on Gates Road when something odd on a porch caught his eye. DiStasio thought it was a stuffed animal with an arrow through its body.
"Then I heard it cry," DiStasio said.
Nystrom called police, who sent an animal control officer to rush Elliot to All Friends Animal Hospital on New London Turnpike. Within an hour, Elliot was put under anesthesia, and doctors cut the short arrow or crossbow bolt and pulled it through his body.
"We took an X-ray and found the arrow did not go through anything major, just muscle and skin," All Friends co-owner Lona Harrelle said. "How did this not hit anything vital? … He actually looked remarkably good for a cat with an arrow through his chest."
Not only that, but Elliot had virtually no blood loss. The arrow missed his heart, bones, lungs and major blood vessels.
Animal Control Officer Michele Kellough said she canvassed the neighborhood asking about the cat and if anyone had spotted someone with a bow or crossbow.
"Most of the neighbors seemed to know this cat," Kellough said. "They fed him, pet him. He was extremely friendly. I'm very disappointed in humanity to see something like that."
Whoever shot the cat is likely to face animal cruelty charges, she said.
Owner Marian Mann said Elliot, 1½, had been missing for two days. She arrived home during the commotion and followed the animal control officer to All Friends.
"He is the best cat you could ever want," Mann said. "He is so sweet. I'm just glad he found his way home."
Dr. Kathleen Tangari brought Elliot home with her Monday night to keep a close eye on him. She said Tuesday he had a fever, but that had dissipated by Tuesday morning. Elliot purred when Tangari's dog licked his face. Elliot had some trouble walking and may have muscle trauma, she said.
"It's going to be a slow recovery, but he seems to be coming out of the woods," she said. "He is just the sweetest thing. It will take the next couple days to see how the meds work, and hopefully we'll be getting him back to full recovery."
Nystrom, too, visited Elliot Monday afternoon and made a donation to the Angel Fund, which covers medical expenses for emergencies, accidents, strays and for catastrophic costs for families in need, Harrelle said. All Friends often works with local animal control agencies that take in strays suffering from injuries or illnesses.
Harrelle said the Angel Fund will pay for Elliot's care. Mann is on medical disability and welcomed the help.
"I'm happy that we were able to help out," Harrelle said. "This cat is one lucky boy."
Staff Writer Greg Smith contributed to this report.