|Snow - Elderly & flea ridden|
|Mollie - A dainty damsel in distress|
In a world where we seem to be bombarded with negative news I would like to tell you a story to warm the cockles of your heart.
Please don’t do a social media flit through and just like the story; read through to the end and share the love.
Now grab yourself a cup of tea or coffee, maybe a biscuit or a slice of cake and read the story of Operation OAP (Old Age Pussycats).
A couple of weeks ago I heard the sorry tail (see what I did there) of 3 rather elderly cats.
|Nutty - Longed for fuss|
Snow, Nutty and Mollie were rescue cats who had been adopted by somebody my friend knows. She loved and cared for them and all
was well in their world.
Then several months ago she moved in with a man and abandoned the cats –WRONG CHOICE MISSUS!
Her sister took them in as a last resort and I can only imagine the shock and sadness these cats felt as their lives changed dramatically at probably the worst time it could happen – in their twilight years.
Whilst the motives of the sister were kind, the reality unfortunately is a bit of an EastEnders storyline. She already has one dog, three children and one young grandchild in the house and it is tough making ends meet. She and the original loved up owner made a few attempts to find homes for the cats, including contacting rescue centres.
Tragically the general consensus was that 3 would be a struggle, especially at their ages and the eldest, the gorgeous Snow, would be an immediate PTS. Any other option would require very expensive tests before they would accept them, which no one had the resources for.
Things were going from bad to worse for our sorry felines. They became riddled with fleas and were turned out of the house. They were fed and watered, but the food could be intermittent and had no cosy beds or corners to sleep. But most of all they weren’t having any of the TLC they craved.
My friend tried to help by taking food and flea collars round and look for a home. She has 2 elderly rescue cats already, including a neurotic ginger whose mind would be fully blown by having other cats coming to live with him. She has had anxious moments trying to think of how to help.
|The Hoff - he says NO!|
I met up with my friend the other week and she told me the story. My immediate reaction was to want to rush round there and rescue them. But then what would I do with them? I also have a neurotic ginger cat and ‘the Hoff’ gets stressed out if another cat moves into the county, never mind being joined by 3 cats in his home…
It was time to get the thinking cap on and I started to put out the feelers, but it was not looking good.
I was gradually getting the full picture and it was becoming worse the more I heard: 3 elderly cats; Snow is around 16, Nutty 14 and Mollie 14.
Mollie is a girl (I know, nothing wrong with my powers of deduction) Nutty and Snow are both boys. As they were from a rescue they were neutered.
BUT they were all riddled with fleas, especially Snow; they probably had worms; their vaccinations had not been kept up to date; they were living outside and in the words of The Game of Thrones ‘Winter is coming’.
I reached out to an amazing friend on Facebook who has been involved in the collection of ex battery hens and finding new lovely homes for them. You’re probably not supposed to use the term battery hens anymore, but I have seen what they look like after intensive egg laying in horrendous conditions and it is not good. Anyway, Mel has worked tirelessly for these birds and cares so much about all animals. I knew that if anyone had a contact who would want to help these OAPs it wold be Mel.
I contacted her on the Sunday morning. By Sunday evening the plan was sorted. This was all thanks to the amazing Fenland Animal Rescue http://www.fenlandanimalrescue.org.uk/ in Peterborough.
Joshua and his small but brilliant team swung into action. The plan was made with offers of lifts, beds, bedding, scratching posts, food etc. A home was found for all 3 to stay together.
|One of many cosy corners|
We then just faced one problem, where could they stay to get their initial assessments, treatments and fleas sorted. Their future owner has cats and whilst she was delighted to offer a home to our OAPs, she was less keen that their thousands of friends came with them.
I asked Hoff, but he slapped me across the face with his paw, so back to Mel then.
She has an aviary in the garden (bigger than my lounge). It is water proof there are paving slabs and rubber mats. By the time she had finished making into a pussycat palatial paradise it was the ideal staging post. It wouldn’t be too big a shock for the cats and would make a perfect location for the de-fleaing process.
|It is taking a lot of resources to|
care for these loving & lovely cats
I picked up the cats on Wednesday, which I was able to do because my boss gave me the afternoon off. She also gave me a donation for what is going to be an expensive programme of care for the cats be warned, I will be returning to this point later (hint hint).
I went to where they have been living and I am not going to lie, it was not a good place. The first thing I must say is the woman who took them in did so with a kind heart because she didn’t want them to be put to sleep, but unfortunately the care was lacking.
Basically they were living outdoors and in an alleyway down the side of the house, which was very smelly. Even the condition of the garden was not good and there were a lot of hazards for them to contend with. The cats ran towards me when I got there and clearly they were absolutely desperate for love.
Any residual doubts I had about if it was the right thing to get involved and if their plight was really as desperate as I imagined disappeared at this moment.
|Packed up and ready for their new lives...|
I loaded Snow, Nutty and Mollie into the boot of the estate car I had borrowed, thanks Dad, and gave them some biscuits before starting the journey to their halfway house.
Turns out that Snow is quite a chatty catty and we conversed for most of the journey whilst Nutty and Mollie snuggled up together. It was a long drive and they did very well, but it was a great relief to get to Mel’s.
We took them straight to their temporary home and let them out. Mel had put down food, biscuits and water and all 3 dived in and polished off the lot – which is quite unusual for elderly cats to want such big portions at one sitting.
|A little uncertain, as they have been through a lot|
We sat with them and had a coffee whilst they settled in. Mollie and Nutty headed for a little hen house with fresh smelling bedding and curled up together, a few moments later they were washing themselves.
Snow was more anxious, but also clearly keen to be around us. They had all been round for strokes and seemed to just enjoy having the company.
Mel had set up various cosy, enclosed beds at different levels with planks of woods as ramps, litter trays, a heat lamp and heating pads.
I gave Snow a lovely stroke before I left and got a rub around my legs. I opened the lid of where Mollie and Nutty were nestled and was greeted by the sound of them purring…
|Nutty & Mollie settle in - their purring contentment makes it all worth while!|
|Nutty tucks in|
Mel is giving me regular reports and they have all settled into their routine. They don’t eat as much as on day one, but it is still a lot for older cats and it is obvious that Nutty and Snow especially are food anxious. In just a couple of days their characters are starting to show and they clearly love having all the TLC and time that Mel is giving them.
They are not out of the woods yet. They have been to the vets and received treatments for fleas and worms with blood tests being taken to check for any major issues. They had to wait for their vaccinations because the vet advised that Snow especially needed to improve his general condition since it is a live virus which could knock them sideways.
|Snow's coat was brown with flea poo|
& he was teeming with fleas
Mel said that she has never seen anything like the number of fleas coming off Snow and believe me she has been involved in a lot of rescues. The poor wee man even has them on his face, forehead and between his toes. He also has cystitis and Mel has some cranberry juice to add to his water. The vet has also fallen in love with them because all 3 behaved so well and even gave him a lot of love!
The thing I found so sad when I first heard the story, was that all 3 faced the possibility of being put to sleep just because they are old and their final memories would then have been the worst time of their lives; just when they had every right to expect a warm, loving and safe home to see out their days.
Whatever happens over the coming weeks and months they are getting that now with Mel and they have a loving owner and cosy home waiting for them.
|Much deserved fuss for this gorgeous old boy|
I am sharing this story because I’m not embarrassed to say that it has made my heart swell.
We are bombarded with bad news and stories which only spotlight the truly awful people and terrible events and I truly believe that this has a negative impact on how we view the world.
|Snow & Mollie enoying the comfort of a heat lamp|
and freshly groomed coats
This story is about those who go out of their way to help. It is not an easy thing to do and it is going to cost Fenland Animal Rescue a lot of money to help not only our 3 OAPs, but every other animal that they rescue.
|Mollie, starting to relax knowing she is loved and cared for|
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