Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Halloween Warning

"It's not just an urban myth black cats if left outside can be prey to animal abusers particularly around Halloween time. I know this because of a small kitten, named Rowan, who was rescued shortly after Halloween. I was volunteering at the Hopalong office 3 years ago when a call came in from an employee at the Pet Food Express store in San Leandro. The employee stated that a woman had rescued a kitten from some boys who were abusing him in the parking lot. I volunteered to go and pick him up and bring him back to the office. When I picked him up another store employee mentioned that he was missing hair on his back legs.

Back at the office Andy checked him out and diagnosed that his back legs had been burned. I volunteered to foster him and give him lots of love and TLC. Hoping that I could help him to heal physically and emotionally. When I brought him home he allowed me to put aloe vera gel on his hind legs and to cuddle him, but he seemed to be in shock. When I let him down on the carpet he ran under my bed and I rarely saw him for the next 6 months. He still came out to eat and to use the litter box but then would run back under the bed. With time and patience he ventured out into the living room but would run whenever I got near him. He also avoided my cats. But one day things changed and I found him cuddled up with my senior cat, Hannibal, in one of the cat beds in the bedroom. It' has been three years and he's come a long way. He enjoys playing with the many kittens I've fostered and comes up to me occasionally to be petted. He also likes to smell whatever food I'm eating. Recently he's let me brush him a little bit. But he's still easily startled and at times still runs from me. I don't know if he'll ever feel totally safe but that's my wish for him."

Many people have heard anecdotal stories like these around this time of year. But this one is true. And this little kitten was lucky enough to survive and to find a loving home where he will never suffer from abuse again.