Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Happy Ending for Tommy


Several weeks ago my shop neighbor came in to borrow one of my cat carriers so he could take the cat he had adopted nine months ago back to the SPCA and surrender him.  Most of his family was going away for the winter and as his wife was very allergic to cats, he thought this was the only solution to his dilemma.  He had already looked into boarding kennels but the cost would have been prohibitive, well over a thousand dollars.  His financial situation was precarious and the cat problem was about to send him over the edge.  He told me, “Mar, I feel like my head is going to explode.”

Luckily for the cat, named Tommy, the SPCA had a five-month waiting list for surrenders so they turned him away without even looking at him.  The neighbor and I discussed the situation and decided that I would be able to keep Tommy in a crate in my shop for the duration if the crate and food and litter were provided.  I even planned to let him roam freely in the shop if he and shop cat Mama Lucy were able to become friends.

Tommy arrived Monday evening, one very unhappy cat.  He had embarrassed himself by soiling the carrier and when he burst out the open door, I could see that he was very overweight and he had a horrid thick mat in the middle of his back that he had been unable to groom.  He hissed at Lucy and she yowled at him – so into the crate he went.

Tuesday morning I could see he was a very sad kitty.  Lucy was upset also, giving me accusing looks all day.  The one bright spot in the day came when my friend Richard stopped in for a visit and fell totally in love with Tommy.  When I later mentioned this to the cat’s owner, he said, “Give the cat to Richard!”

We spent the next two days trying to figure out the details of the ownership transfer and find a vet or a groomer who could relieve poor Tommy of his painful mat.  It was so tangled and matted - it looked like a hairy block of wood glued onto his too wide back!  Possible solutions were discussed on Facebook.  Tommy’s vet could not take him for another three weeks.  They estimated the cost could go as high as $300, if he required blood work and anesthesia.  I could not let this cat suffer for three more weeks.  And I did not have $300!

I phoned my friend Chris from 10th Chance Rescue and she was able to make an appointment for Friday morning with Kenmore Animal Hospital, a veterinary partner in the rescue group.  We both agreed that this was a bonafide rescue since the original owner had tried to return the cat to the SPCA.

 I spent a lot of time with Tommy, petting him and telling him of all the people who were working to try to help him out of his bad situation.  He seemed friendly enough, but still sad to be in the crate with that awful mat pulling at his delicate skin.  The rest of his coat was clean and well groomed – he did the best he could with the areas within his reach.

We did not know how Tommy would react to any procedure – shaving or whatever – would he have to be sedated?  Tommy was less than thrilled about being stuffed into the hated carrier and the ride to the vet, but once there, he settled into the classic “meatloaf” posture, signifying his ease.  I am positive he knew we were all trying to help him.  Once inside the examining room, he became a little cross with Chris when she trimmed his claws, but he behaved fairly well for the vet especially after she gave him a stern lecture when he tried to bite her.  He gave her an astonished look, jumped off the table and rubbed apologetically against her ankles. 

They whisked him into the back for the “procedure” which took about five minutes and included expressing his anal glands, which were full to bursting from his weight problem.  The mat came off with expertise and the correct implements and it turned out he did not even have to be shaved – he returned to us with hair intact!

Tommy was happy, not even meowing on the way back to the shop, and he looked comfortable when he went back into the crate for his breakfast.  Richard came by soon after and I opened the crate door.  Tommy walked right up to Richard for some petting.  This made me very happy!

Richard lives only a block away so he made several trips with cat food, bowls, cat toys and such, then he returned for Tommy himself.  Tommy did not want to go back into the carrier, but Richard told me, once he was released, he spent a lot of time roaming around his new home, finding the hidey holes, the soft places to sit, and stretching his legs.  When Richard sat on the sofa, Tommy promptly jumped up onto his lap.  I had given Richard a slicker brush to use on Tommy, and Tommy thoroughly enjoyed his first brushing session.

One of Richard’s neighbors, a woman who is known to possess special powers of intuition, came by for a visit and had a little “chat” with the cat.  Tommy indicated to her that he had a very special message for me:  “Thank you!”

So in the end - Tommy is happy in his new home, Richard is happy with his new friend, the former owner is happy to be relieved of the burdens of pet ownership, and even the SPCA is happy!!!  Mama Lucy is once again happy to be the queen of her little realm, and me?  I am ecstatic!