Matt Fagan

The cat formerly known as Mr. Woo has a new lease on life after one of Paterson’s bravest pulled the feline from a March 7 fire.

He has new digs, a new family and a new name now, but for a time things looked grim.

The apartment fire on Fair Street displaced 18 people and resulted in a daring rescue of a man and his toddler daughter. It also upended the small world of Mr. Woo, who was hiding under a bed on the third floor when a firefighter from Paterson 1 discovered him and pulled him out.

“He was covered in smoke and soot, his paws were purple, [he was] dehydrated and lethargic,” said Paterson Firefighter Michael Scherer. “He had wheezing and crackling in the lungs from smoke inhalation. He wouldn’t eat or drink or use the litter box.”

Things looked bleak, especially since the fire displaced his family, who could no longer keep him. The firefighters brought him back to their firehouse.

“Nobody wanted to adopt him, so I brought him home,” said Scherer, whose shift was the next day. “We had been looking to adopt a cat for a while.”

It was meant to be.

But Mr. Woo was not well. When he wouldn’t move and kept falling asleep, Scherer found a vet at All Creatures Great and Small of Denville, which donated time and money to help get him back on his paws.

It took a couple of visits to the office, bloodwork, X-rays, fluid injections and a bath, but soon the cat was feeling better.

Dr. Ilija Mitrovic said the cat, who he figures to be 20 to 30 months old, could be on the path to a full recovery.

A veteran of veterinary emergency rooms, Mitrovic could tell the cat was suffering from smoke inhalation when he was brought in. The X-rays showed no apparent damage, but the cat was wheezing and there was some lung crackling.

“I gave him some oxygen and some steroids,” Mitrovic said. “He’s a young cat.”

At home with Scherer, he has regained his appetite. “His paws are now pink again, he’s oxygenating and breathing better,” Scherer reported.

He fits in well in his Parsippany home. He has taken a shine to Scherer’s wife, Elana, and kids Mazie and Odin.

“He’s really kind, is now purring, and [is] loving pets and snuggles from the kids,” Scherer said.

And for the final phase of his makeover, Mr. Woo was renamed “Mr. Smoky.”

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