How does a rescue work?
07 April 2017
We were called in by Housing Staff and the owner would not let us in, she was mentally ill so we had to be patient to gain entry. We at last got in when the owner was finally moved to a place of safety. We had been given an hours notice to pack the van with carriers and it was 3 days before Christmas but off we went. Panic set in then. We were met by Housing staff putting on masks and overalls.
What a stench and what a mess. These poor cats have always been indoor cats, never seen a litter tray. Even the owners toilet hadn't worked for sometime. No one knew what was going on upstairs until the ceiling of the flat below started to leak and smell. It truly was awful. Not a cat in sight until I put some sardines into a dish.
Was it really I cat I was seeing, it didn't really look like one, but it was. We quickly got 8 cats into carriers as needed to get into the fresh air. Left food down in case any had been too frightened to come forward. There was so much filth and rubbish we couldn't begin to search. Housing staff called the next day but the food was untouched.
We rushed the cats to the vets and had to go in the back way as not only were the cats filthy so were we. I have to tell you I couldn't eat a thing for the rest of the day.
The vets were appalled, they had never seen such sights. All the cats needed neutering, they had never been fed cat food and were so ill they thankfully were unable to breed which was a blessing. All their teeth had to be removed as their mouths were so infected. They were crawling in fleas and the poor cats had such sore skins just caused by all the bites.
The vets worked into the night to make sure the cats were made comfortable. We have no idea how old these cats were, they could be quite young but due to lack of proper care and attention and vet treatment they all looked elderly. We collected them the next day.
The poor cats were traumatised, they were split into two pens and four huddled up close to each other for comfort. All the cats had to return to the vets for another bath after Christmas as the filth was so ingrained and they also needed further treatment for damage caused by untreated flu. They soon learned to trust us and as their pains disappeared and they felt stronger they started to come and say 'hello'. It took us ages to get the cats to use a litter tray. They had never seen one before. First of all they started to use an empty tray, then they progressed to a sheet of paper in the tray, then they got used to a sprinkle of litter then they got the message.
At the same time we had to slowly introduce them to cat food, they had lived off scraps and dog food which hadn't helped their general health. We didn't want to make things worse. We had no idea at this stage what colour these cats really were.They were so stained we had to patiently wait for it to grow out. After a few months we realised that they were actually white cats with some ginger patches.
We were amazed. It has been hard work but worth it to see them so happy and content.........and clean. They have been homed as indoor cats and the four most damaged ones went off together. They cannot play out and mix with other cats as they are flu carriers and have been left with sinus damage due to lack of vet treatment prior to them arriving with us. It doesn't stop them from playing though, they thoroughly enjoy meal times, and like nothing better than to lie near the window and soak up the sun. After all they had never seen daylight , nor proper cat food for many years so plenty of catching up to do. Never mind if they are a bit overweight now, they aren't complaining, they will think about exercising tomorrow. A harrowing tale with a happy ending
It is hard to believe that in a country of animal lovers that such neglect and cruelty goes on. Sadly it does and this was only 5 miles from the heart of our patch in Wharfe Valley.