We have the story of Hampster, very much the “ugly duckling” of rescue. This tiny creature, barely more than 6 ounces when he arrived at this rescue, was one of the most pathetic kittens we had ever seen. His fur was scraggly and thin, he had a huge pot belly from worms, his eyes were all infected and he had this weird undershot jaw that just didn’t add to the overall aesthetic appearance (see photo on left). He really looked like a fuzzy baby bird, though as he cleaned up a bit he looked far more like a long-haired hamster due to his tiny size. He had been abandoned at a shelter in Indiana, probably the runt of a breeding project, and was not expected to live. Fortunately, due to the initial efforts of the shelter staff who got food into him right away and then to the big heart of one of our volunteers who transported him up to one of our foster homes, Hamster proceeded to defy expectations and thrive anyway!
About a year and a half later and here is Hampster (renamed BINX) who turned out to be a STUNNING BLUE POINT RAGDOLL! He was adopted by one of our “frequent flyer” adopter families who has become one of our foster homes and biggest supporters! Binx is the youngest daughter’s best friend and is always with her, around her and waiting for her to come home from school. He turned into a BIG boy and is a typical representative of his breed…a FLOP cat with a temperament so easy-going that nothing ever seems to bother him. Who ever would have thought that ugly little scrap of kitty could turn into such a gorgeous swan?
The Legend of Jimmy the Himmy
Jimmy was a Sealpoint Himalayan who came into our rescue about a year ago and gained “legendary” status with our volunteers not only because of all he suffered to find his Purrfect Forever Home, but because he had an amazing Purrsonality like no other! Jimmy was surrendered, along with a Siamese, to a shelter in Illinois by a mentally ill individual who had kept both of them in terrible conditions. Jimmy was only a year old but his fur was so matted and covered with his own feces that he was unable to walk. As soon as one of our rescue volunteers retrieved him from the shelter he was rushed to a vet where he was anesthetized and completely shaved, except for his beautiful tail. The stress of his ordeal sent him into a severe bout of upper respiratory illness and skin staph infection that almost did him in. It was very touch and go for a while but with LOTS of TLC and by force of his own personality, Jimmy pulled through.
He soon took to “posing for pictures” at his new foster home and was developing into a very cute little fur-man. Jimmy was a very intelligent, active, confident kitty, delighting us all with his antics. Shortly after this picture was taken an older couple who had just lost their older Persian adopted Jimmy. Despite our advice to let him calm down and get used to a new situation, the couple proceeded to chase Jimmy around the house with a brush the very minute he came out of his crate, scaring him half to death. The very next morning the foster person got a call about the “vicious, nasty cat” we had foisted on them and they brought Jimmy back in a carrier COMPLETELY WRAPPED IN DUCT TAPE so the “terrible kitty” couldn’t burst his way out. Needless to say Jimmy was very happy to see his foster mom again and so was she! After another failed adoption in which we learned that Jimmy “liked to pee on other cats” (we are still trying to figure out how that is physically possible) Jimmy FINALLY found his Forever Home inMinnesota with a gentleman and no other cats (Jimmy really wanted to be King of the Castle anyway). This intelligent, charming little being (who apparently makes “quacking” noises and will now do it on command) just needed someone who understood him! AND HOW ABOUT THAT MAGNIFICENT COAT??
Here’s a note from “Jimmy”:
Hello everyone! I have been with my new roommate, Michael, since last July, and things are going great… one might say quacktastic! After a few, uh hem, misstarts, I am very happy and thriving in my domain. I now go by the name Muggeroos, which apparently was a migration from Jimmy to Jimmy Uggs, to Uggers, to Muggeroos…. When Michael and his friend Jenn first saw my picture, my fur-do (shave) made it look like I was wearing little Ugg Boots! I am the King of my Castle and fill my days by chasing the invisible, sleeping on the office chair, cuddling with my roomie, and quacking for food. Thank you for everything you did to help make me better and find me the PURRFECT Forever Home!
For all practical purposes, Frankie doesn’t look as bad in this “before” photo as most of the other cats that come into this rescue. But her adorable looks don’t show the incredible amount of pain and suffering she had endured before she got here. Frankie was found in Indiana as a stray and, like so many that wind up in our hands, her discovery and transport were due entirely to the time and kindness of selfless volunteers, always looking to help. She was indeed the tiniest silver Persian (or Persian of any color) we had ever seen. She was slightly over TWO POUNDS, and severely underweight. The reason for her starvation was soon evident…a mouthful of severely infected teeth so painful she simply could not eat. While she was spayed the vet removed 13 rotting teeth. Several weeks after her spay, X-rays revealed some of the largest bladder stones our vet had ever seen in a cat. They had been with her a long time, causing severe pain with every urination, and were now at a point where she could barely urinate at all. A second surgery soon followed to remove the stones and we knew she would have to find a very special home that would monitor her condition and made sure she had the special food she needed to keep healthy. Fortunately, just the right person discovered our website around the time Frankie was ready to go. Her darling, “stuffed animal” looks and gentle nature quickly won over her a new family in Chicago and she has made great strides!
Here’s a letter from her new mom:
Frankie is really settling in now… she seems to have caught up on sleep and gained enough weight. Her new ‘fun-time’ hang out is the kitchen counter area. Every morning I wake up now and she is sprinting back and forth, dodging appliances and hopping over the sink. It is a wonderful sight to see her shake her little bottom and run around the house. Our new little girl sleeps with me every night, right beside my head on my pillow. She still wakes up crying now and again, but she is very easily calmed and reassured that she is safe. She even squeaks at me when I get home every night until I come by and say hello…I admit to tearing up the first few times she did that!!
We see the vet about every 3 months and have her urine checked for crystals…so far, so good. I think all she needed was some love…which she now gets for sure. I even get to hear her meow every once in awhile…she is such a wonderful addition to my family!
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES!
The story of Zoey and Gracie
Our introduction to Zoey (top) was when one volunteer met another volunteer in a parking lot to trade off cats that had been transported from a shelter. “Do you think this kitten has ringworm?” said one to the other. “Because if she does, nobody will take her and she will die.” A quick glance revealed the tiny (Siamese? It was impossible to tell) kitten was indeed recovering from a very bad bout with the fungal infection but even from the start her personality was SO HUGE that we had no doubt she would fully recover and thrive. We knew she had been taken away from her mother at 4 weeks of age and sold to someone and by 6 weeks was thrown into a local shelter, unwanted, sick, and very unlikely to survive. It was pure chance (and the kindness of our volunteers) she wound up with us. We treated her infection and the “ugly duckling” kitten with the incredible personality started to thrive, just as we knew she would. Meanwhile, Gracie also found herself in a shelter. Thin, sickly and extremely stressed in a cage, rescue was her last hope. She would not eat, drink or relate to people in any calm way being kept in anything but a room of her own. Fortunately just the right foster situation opened up for her and she was able to start the healing. And then the Heffernans contacted us….
Zoey and Gracie Today
Here is a note from Zoey and Gracie’s mom:
After losing both my 16 and 181/2 year old Siamese girls within a year, our home was so EMPTY! Somehow I found the SPCR site on the web and adopted Gracie, a lynxpoint and torti Siamese with pale blue eyes. She had been picked up as a stray and was found in a shelter. She had an infected canine tooth, had it removed, and was in so much pain she stayed under the bed in her foster Mom Karen’s home for 3 weeks. She was nursed back to health by Karen and her husband, which included IV feedings twice a day. In the meantime, Kirsten was fostering a neglected Siamese kitten whom she had nicknamed “Miss Insanity”. She said we may also be able to adopt her. “Zoey” had been taken from her mother at 4 weeks old, was very neglected and had terrible infections on her skin. Kirsten nursed her back to health AND enjoyed her wild antics! SHE was VERY tempted to keep her herself. But she decided we would give her a good home and she became ours!! After their unhappy beginnings, we have two very beautiful, happy kitties. Gracie was very awkward and uncomfortable playing. Her first and favorite game is retrieving! She brings her feather toy and mews ’til it’s put on the top of her cat tree, and the game repeats. She loves “hiding in boxes games” with Zoey and even though she isn’t a cuddler, she LOVES people. Zoey is, well, always busy! EVERYTHING is a toy!! My husband finds fruit (cherries, tomatoes, grapes, etc.) in his shoes. Removing the drawer under the stove revealed 7 chapsticks and other assorted goodies! (so THAT’S what she was doing in my purse!!) She is always an impulsive, outrageous kitty! We really never know what to expect and we love it! Thanks to Kirsten and foster mom, Karen! Our home is happier (and pretty crazy) with our two cool kitties!! ~The Heffernans