Sona RIP: Abuse Survivor Succumbs to Cancer Attributed to her Attack

No Comments

Photo of author

By Karen Harrison Binette



Sona received worldwide love and support after she was rescued following a pellet gun attack that injured both her eyes.  The beloved cat passed away due to a tumor caused by the attack.

Sona was severely injured when found in Mainland, Newfoundland, on the Port-au-Port Peninsula, in July, and was picked up for rescue by Gwen Samms of SCAPA (Society for Care and Protection of Animals) in nearby Stephenville and  a couple of rescuers from Scaredy Cat Rescue in Corner Brook. She was taken to West Coast Veterinary Services, where it was deterimned that she’d been shot in both eyes with a pellet gun and had  a great deal of tissue and bone deterioration surrounding a wound to her front paw.

Sona was pregnant at the time of her rescue, but had to lose her kittens due to her serious injuries and fragile condition.

A story in The Telegram on July 13 discussed Sona’s rescue, her medical issues and the incident of animal abuse that injured her.

Sona remained in the care of SCAPA, in a foster home, and gained widespread support and affection like an earlier rescue, Trooper, the cat Gwen Samms rescued after he’d been frozen to a driveway for days while a family ignored his plight.

Sona received multiple surgeries on her eyes, had her injured paw amputated, and came to know love and attentive care as she recovered.

A recent trip to the Atlantic Veterinary College in PEI for a CT scan revealed that Sona had an aggressive form of cancer manifested as an inoperable squamous cell  tumor in her face that had invaded her skull and nasal cavity and would spread to her brain.  With no real options for treatment, and no hope for a positive outcome, the decision was made to euthanize her.

Sona passed away on Friday, October 18.

A SCAPA press release dated today tells  about Sona, her strong will and her loving personality, the cancer that finally took her life, and the battle against abuse and abusers:


OCTOBER 22, 2013: Sona, the second SCAPA-rescued cat to gain world-wide attention and support, was euthanized on Friday, October 18th.

The President of the Society For The Care And Protection Of Animals in Stephenville, Gwen Samms, says the recent trip to the Atlantic Veterinary College in PEI for a CT scan indicated a very aggressive squamous cell carcinoma.

“There was a tumor on the side of her face invading the skull bones, the nasal cavity, and getting close to spreading to her brain. The news was devastating! Unfortunately it was inoperable and our only option was to bring her home and give her the best of care until it was time for her to transition to the Rainbow Bridge.”

Both Dr. Bailey in PEI and Dr. Beth Marshall at the Avalon Animal Hospital in St. John’s believe the cancer developed because of the inflammation caused by the horrible injuries sustained after being shot in the face with a pellet gun. In spite of the abuse, however, Samms says the courageous feline never stopped fighting.

“Sona had a very strong will to live! Even though she was blind and missing a paw, she wanted to experience whatever was available to her. She didn’t play because she couldn’t see; but she loved to be loved! When stroked, she would roll over on her back and present you with her belly, purring loudly. She loved to explore her surroundings and then fall asleep listening to the nature radio channel. But most of all, she loved to eat!

“I can never say ‘Thank You’ enough to everyone who has loved and supported Sona over the past few months, especially Dr. Beth Marshall and her staff at the Avalon Animal Hospital who provided first-rate care!”

Samms says that while Sona lost her personal battle, the war against animal cruelty and abuse is far from over and continues to be fought by animal advocates world-wide.

“Our numbers are growing. More and more people are becoming educated and standing up to speak out against inadequate and/or poorly enforced legislation. More and more are willing to get down into the trenches and man the front lines. And more and more, that’s due in no small part to animals like Sona who put a face on animal cruelty and abuse. It’s a small comfort, but it does help to know that their suffering was not entirely in vain.”




Gwen wrote to Sona’s friends and supporters on October 18, saying:

“I’m so sorry everyone..

“It is with a broken heart that we must inform Sona’s world wide family that

“SONA CROSSED OVER THE RAINBOW BRIDGE TODAY.. This is one update we hoped we wouldn’t have to post for awhile yet.. As you all know we recently learned that b/c of the abuse Sona suffered at the hand of a monster and the direct result of being shot in both eyes by that ugly monster she developed cancer in her face.. The specialist said that the cancer had set in long before we rescued this sweet innocent girl..This was a very aggressive cancer and we knew it was only a matter of time before it would take our precious girl but we had hope to have her with us for awhile longer but her angels needed Sona home with them now.. It is believed she was living a life of torture for a few years. Living with those pellets embedded in her face all that time.. Her precious little body just couldn’t fight anymore. She took a very bad turn for the worst and began to suffer. We agreed that our sweet Sona has suffered more then any living being should ever have to in their life. We also all agreed that our sweet girl was ready to fly home with her angels.

“She was helped across the rainbow bridge today by her very compassionate vet, Dr. Beth Marshall while in the loving arms of her foster mom ( REAL mom Debbie Brett in all sense of the word). Sona received a lot of love from those who were with her since her rescue but esp. from her loving mom Debbie who has been by Sona’s side since she was transported to St. John’s to be under the care of an amazing vet/person ,Dr. Beth.. Sona wanted for nothing, was treated like a princess, given the best of everything by her angels here on earth. Now she is home with her angels in heaven.

“THANK YOU Debbie for being Sona’s mommy for the last months of her life.. She finally got to know what is means to be LOVED.. You gave her a life time of cuddles, kisses and love . Our sweet girl went to the bridge knowing she was loved by you and so many more…

Thank you to EVERYONE who helped us to try and give Sweet Sona a second chance..

“This has been a very hard day for all of us who have had the pleasure of knowing Sona’s love for life and people.. She never gave up on humans even after she was treated so cruel by a few horrible humans.. They couldn’t take that from her…

Good-bye my sweet precious little angel.. You were a warrior , a fighter, you had a heart so pure and strong . You fought a good battle and now it’s your time to be free, free of pain and torture. Run free my sweet little friend.. You truly did earn your wings. You will be missed by us all.



You can find:  Scapa (No-kill, No-Cage Animal Shelter) at Facebook



About Author

Leave a Comment