By Anita Kelsey
My second feel good story does not involve any dogs (nothing wrong with dogs mind you!!) but a feral cat whom we shall call Bella and her cat guardian whom we shall call Celia.
Celia, an elderly guardian angel of the feral cat world, was the feeder/carer of 6 rescue cats. Two of them were domestic cats that settled straight away, but the other 4 cats, a Mum with 4 kittens, were really wild. Celia saw them running around in her area, a small agriculture village, with no one caring for them so took it upon herself to be their guardian angel.
Now no longer driving, after a stroke and extremely worried regarding the state of Bella’s coat, Celia emailed me desperate for help and seeking advice.
It was clear this was going to be extremely difficult. Celia lived in a small village with no animal rescue support nearby and with a vet 10 miles away whose solution to the problem was to put her to sleep. Celia, thankfully, ignored this advice, horrified to hear the solution being given rather than real help.
I knew Celia had no other choice but to take Bella to a professional organisation to de-matt her under sedation but how would we catch her and how could I convince Celia that maybe some kind folk out there would be willing to assist with the financial costs, also that the de-matting might not be as expensive as she was presuming?
Emails went back and forth whereby we worked closely together on trying to build on Bella’s trust using jackpot food and plenty of patience. Advice was also given regarding a good sized carrier to get Bella used to resting in it. As time went on Bella would allow Celia to get closer, especially seeing as her kittens, now adults, were looking pretty relaxed on her terrace.
Celia was so scared of trapping Bella. She knew she might get bitten or scratched and so patience was also required talking through what Celia finally had to do. Get Bella in a suitable carrier again and ask for help from kind neighbours of friends.
I felt so sorry for Celia. This burden was really weighing heavy on her mind. A lot to ask for a 70 year old pensioner who was dealing with recovering from a stroke.
But Celia persevered. I convinced her to try and find an animal hospital rather than a vet. She was still terrified it was going to cost a fortune but I felt sure that anyone she spoke to would have sympathy and would help out. The main thing was to catch Bella, no matter how tough, and get her shaved whilst asleep.
I gave advice as much as I could. I won’t reveal Celia’s country but it’s right to assume she was an international client. If in the UK I could have been so much more of a help.
Then weeks went past without me hearing anything until an email popped in my inbox.
The email read:
Thanks to your HELP and replies, I decided to catch my 50/50 tame feral cat and get her to the Hospital Clinic where they sedated her under excellent care. I did manage to catch Mama Cat after all. I am so very pleased I took the step!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. I am sure she is very happy as well. The strange result is that she suddenly has become a much more tame cat and now lets me stroke over her whole body for the first time. She was never like that and would have bitten or shows her claws. What a change, I can hardly believe how she has changed in behaviour. Now I would say in a few days she is 75% tame but I still work on all the feral cats to tame them, a gentle stroke at the time.
I am sure you will be very happy to know how you played a big part is helping this poor thing get rid of her mats. I am sure if she could you would tell you so.
Me and Mama Cat will be for ever grateful for your advice and patience answering a lady far away….who needed desperate help with one of her cats…. You have given the courage and confidence and professional advice that I needed and had looked for for so long.
A big, big thank you
Celia, Mama cat and friends
This made my day. It did indeed take so much courage for Celia to catch Bella.
So what happened. How did she manage it and who did the shave? I was so excited to hear more.
The cats are never far from my sliding door where they have their two small rabbit kennels (cat kennels were to big for winter) and high roofs. When they hear the door opening they all come running. I always sit down and try in one way or another to touch them.
Arriving home, I put her in her cage in the bathroom with cat sand and some water only and it took a while before she was fully awake, crying to get out and jumping all over the place. This was proof enough that she could be let outside again. She was so very happy to be with her babies again which are now grown up of course.
My eyes filled with tears reading this and the photo’s were amazing.
I take my hat off to Celia. With circumstances stacked against her she never gave up and eventually made all the difference to a cat calling out for desperate help.
I wanted to share this story on social media and asked her permission. In true Celia fashion she asked that I didn’t reveal her name or country of origin which I have respected.
What a true cat guardian. God bless you Celia.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anita Kelsey holds a first class honours degree in Feline Behaviour and Psychology (work based BA Hons) and runs a vet referral service dedicated strictly to the diagnosis and treatment of behaviour problems in cats. She is also a qualified cat groomer and specialises in grooming aggressive or phobic cats. Anita writes for Your Cat Magazine and is on their experts panel answering readers questions on cat grooming. She also advises on feline behaviour for the CFBA (Canine and Feline Behaviour) magazine as well as being a full member. Anita, a strong advocate of a vegan lifestyle, is based in Notting Hill, London but consults all over the UK as well as international requests. She lives with her husband, a music producer, and two Norwegian Forest cats, Kiki and Zaza. Her debut booked is published by John Blake and is called Claws, Confessions Of A Cat Groomer.
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Anita Kelsey holds a first class honours degree in Feline Behaviour and Psychology (work based BA Hons) and runs a vet referral service dedicated strictly to the diagnosis and treatment of behaviour problems in cats. She is also a qualified cat groomer and specialises in grooming aggressive or phobic cats. Anita writes for Your Cat Magazine and is on their experts panel answering readers questions on cat grooming. She also advises on feline behaviour for the CFBA (Canine and Feline Behaviour) magazine as well as being a full member. Anita is based in Notting Hill, London but consults all over the UK as well as international requests. She lives with her husband, a music producer, and two Norwegian Forest cats, Kiki and Zaza.