The fluffy black cat rescued from a fence during a snowy storm in Syracuse in early January has had a bumpy road to recovery.

“When he came in, he was hypothermic and he was covered in mats and they were just solid,” recalls Marcie Marshall with the Veterinary Medical Center in Dewitt.

Stuck alone in a snow storm, his tail had wedged into a fence as chunks of hair froze to the wood. 

After someone alerted police, an officer came to the rescue. But, survival was not guaranteed.

Without surgery, the infection in his broken tail would spread.

“It’s just heart crushing. So, being able to help him just means a lot,” says Jacqui Foss, with the Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse. “Every one that you can help is one more that is going to be adopted.”

Members of the Animal Alliance promised to find a way to pay for medical care through donations to their Leg Up program, an effort that is ongoing.

But, before surgery, veterinarians noticed another issue…a small hole in the cat’s heart and an irregular heartbeat.

“We don’t really know whether he’ll have a completely normal long and healthy life or if it could be shortened significantly because of his problem,” Marshall explains.

Under the circumstances, removing the cat’s tail would be more risky. The procedure was delayed, so the idea could be reconsidered. But, the infection got worse. 

Over the weekend, Foss says a decision was made to move forward with surgery and hope for the best.

The cat that had already survived so much, persevered again. Caretakers say signs of his snowy scare are slowly melting away.

“Shockingly, no. He has no residual effects, that we know of at this point anyway,” Marshall adds. “He seems to be fine.”

With no guarantees, there’s one more hurdle – perhaps the toughest of all…finding the right home.

The tough feline is bound for Dewitt Animal Hospital, where adoption applications will be collected. Click here to follow his progress on the Animal Alliance’s Facebook page.

Based on a dental exam, VMC staff are guessing he’s 3-5 years old. But, he’ll still need someone with the patience and time to care for a special needs animal.

“Given his situation, the calmer the environment the better, and he just loves attention,” Foss says. “I think he’d like to soak up all of your attention anyways. So, a nice lap cat for someone.”

Until then, veterinarians have given their resilient patient a nickname – Jack Frost.