Shelter Stories

In the cat shelter where I work, we’re surrounded by hard luck cases. Some are easier to deal with than others; some make me want to go home, curl up in bed with my head under the duvet, and never come out.

Above my desk is a photograph. It was taken about two weeks ago, and sent into us. It is a grey and white tuxedo cat named Mylo. Mylo’s adoptive Mummy sent it in. She found him, covered in dirt and bite marks, and brought him in.

Based on the bites, we think Mylo was used as bait for dog-fighting. We don’t have proof; of course, we just know what we saw, and what it looked like. He was then buried alive—we know this, because of the way he was completely caked in dirt. Poor kitty had to be shaved down almost to the skin to get all the dirt off so the vet could stitch him up and clean  up his wounds.

The lady who found him adopted him after his rather intensive recovery.  He’s now making a home with her and her other kitty, and is happy as can be.

Another tuxedo, a black and white this time, in the shelter is named Crisp. He was left on our doorstep over night, in a box; unfortunately by the time anyone came in at seven he was covered in ants and had been bitten quite badly. He’s finally starting to come around, after over a month here in the shelter with us; he’ll let us pet him if he’s off the floor (say on a cat castle, or up on the overhead cat walkways). He’ll talk to me now, and beg for attention, but only if he’s not on the floor.

I think part of him still worries he’ll end up back in a box, stuck on the ground, on an ant hill. I'm hoping he gets adopted soon, but it will have to be someone who understands and is willing to be patient. Once he blossoms, though, he's going to be one of the sweetest, most cuddly and loving cats I've ever met.

Our Director is fostering a cat, named Wonder. Wonder's adorable, and we're all thrilled to bits that she's doing so well, see, Wonder is a "tripod", meaning she has three legs. We had to amputate one of them. She was caught in a trap, and it cut her leg to the bone. There was no way to save it, so it came off, to save her life. Healing is always an uphill battle for cats when they lose a limb-- just like humans, and so we've been known to hover over the updates, worrying like bunches of mummy hens. She's doing a lot better now, though and I think our Boss will formally adopt her once the doctor gives the "healthy kitty" go-ahead.

Ninja is another tripod; she was bitten by a rattlesnake, and lost her leg. She was adopted just after our shelter's birthday party earlier this month. She's so full of life and amazing! She's also crazy as a bedbug, and cuddly. I know I miss her around the shelter, but I also know the lady who adopted her fell madly in love, and will spoil Ninja rotten!
I can’t lie and say I’m surprised at the depths of hatred that humans show to one another—while I know we’re not really evolutionarily bred for war, it sure seems as though governments like it. I am surprised, over and over again, at the evil that humans will show to animals—even though I’m slapped in the face with it, every single day that I go to work. It's usually the sweetest cats who are thrown away, too. And I mean that literally, often they're just thrown.

Some of our cats were thrown on the side of the road; some were abandoned at various veterinary offices. Some cats and kittens were thrown in the rubbish bins, and others were literally thrown from moving cars.

The four we adopted, Finn, Pippin, Bavard and Sadie were abandoned at the vet's office-- in a Tupperware bowl. They still had blue eyes, and shouldn't have been away from their mum. Now they're happy, healthy, spoiled five month old cats. Even though we saved them, the fact remains, they were thrown away.

Inkblot, our newest adoptee was also thrown away. He, and his three siblings were brought in so starved and dehydrated that they when right to the animal hospital. Two of the kittens never made it over to the shelter-- they died at the hospital. As my readers know, we lost Opie a few days after we brought him home. But Inkblot just turned 10 weeks old, and he's doing amazing. 

The shelter takes in the throw-aways, those with chronic illnesses like FIV and FeLV and diabetes. Cats that would be euthanized, because other shelters cannot, or will not, deal with their long term care. We take in the ones who should have died from exposure, neglect, sicknesses-- even being "hoarded". We take them in, love them and work our asses off trying to find them good, loving, forever homes. We just arranged to take in six FeLV cats from the local Humane Society before they were killed-- just because they have leukaemia! These cats are some of the most loving, amazing cats I've met, but they aren't adoptable, according to the HS, and so they were taking up valuable space that other cats could have.*
Now, we had three adoptions, and that was fucking awesome! I love taking the "going home" photos, and posting them to Facebook so all our supporters can celebrate with us. 

And I have an application on my desk that I'm going to process tomorrow; as well as a couple more out there that I'm thinking will come back in soon. I get excited when that happens, because I know that means another kitty has found their new family.

One of our sponsors came in, and found solace with one of our FIV kitties; she helped him today, as he's suffering from the very recent loss of his own FIV kitty. He's half in love with her already, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him back in to visit. It really seems to comfort people who's lost their beloved kitties, when they come in to see ours.

Another gentleman came in to introduce himself to our kitties. He too lost his cat, about a year ago, and is finally ready to be found by his new cat. That's what happens you see, cats find and adopt us. I was really happy to see his smile when he got ready to leave-- I know he felt a lot better when he left, than when he'd come in.

All those things are awesome, and are just a teeny fraction of the stories that I see every day that I work.

Some things are really bad, but come out OK, like little Crisp and Mylo. Others are just good.

I haven't had time to write about my work, because I've been too busy working! But I love my job. Crazy cat people, awesome volunteers, cats every place! I love it.

I just wish we could save all of them. I wish that no animal would ever be thrown away-- and that they'd all have a lap to snuggle down in, like one of our fosters is doing right now with me. Pippin is sprawled out on my desk right by my mouse, and she'll demand some attention soon, with her adorable little "mew". I want every cat out there to be loved, just as much as mine are.

I guess, when it comes down to it, that's why we do what we do. We want to be put out of our jobs, really. I know I would rejoice if tomorrow I got a call that there were no longer any unwanted, abused, hoarded, neglected cats. I'd do the happy dance down to the shelter to help pack it up and empty it out. That would be so cool!

Until then, I'll be there, in a teal polo that makes me look slightly greenish, answering the phone, or greeting you when you come in the door, "Hi! What can I do for you today?" before giving you a tour and introducing you to some of our residents.

*I know that wasn't the official reason we took them; and it's not abnormal for our shelter to transfer custody from another shelter or group to our own. It's part of our sanctuary thing. I also know that I'm biased against the HS, because they are more likely to euthanize kittens and queens, and anyone else they can't move within a week or so, rather than attempt to place them. Killing animals for convenience pisses me off.


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