GUEST POST: Mari’s Story – A Tail of a Bulgarian Cat Rescue

Mari has made a great recovery

Can you adopt a cat? – This one-eyed loving Bulgarian cat seeks adoption: Warning this cat is one seriously loving kitty and requires regular cuddles

Mari’s Stats:

Species: Feline
Sex: Male neutered
Age: Approximately 2 years

Color: Almost all white with a few ginger markings

Weight: Approx 5kg
Languages spoken/understood: Cat, Bulgarian, and English
Personality: Exceptionally loving, cheeky, and playful
Favourite food: Chicken & pork sushi-style, Felix & Whiskas pouches, Whiskas junior biscuits.
Favourite things to do: Cuddles, playing, eating, and sleeping

Special needs: Although Mari does not consider himself a special needs kitty he lacks peripheral vision and should be kept indoors

Now luck’s a funny thing. When we talk about cats, we often speak about luck as these curious little creatures get from one scrape to the next luckily living on – yet losing just one of their nine lives.

Well, luck hasn’t always been on Mari’s side. He is, after all, a one-eyed cat. But then we often make our own luck – and Mari’s certainly did just that – by being the adorable and loving little fellow he is.

Sweet Mari before he lost his eye

The Early Days – One of the Lucky Ones

Well, not everything is known about Mari’s early days. But with him being a Bulgarian cat, it’s fair to guess how life started out for him.

Unlike kittens in the UK, most people adopt a cat in Bulgaria by scooping a kitten from the streets. That’s the norm. Maybe Mari was a spring/summer kitten, or perhaps he was born in the wintertime.

Bulgarian summers are balmy. Temperatures reach the nineties, and from June through to late September, the weather is fantastic. However, the winters are cruel, dark, bitterly cold, and far colder than British winters. Torrential downpours are commonplace with regular flooding and snows that are a foot high.

It’s highly unlikely Mari was born to an indoor cat mommy. But he was a lucky kitten as he was likely taken from the streets very early on since he’s so sociable and loving.

Because there are so many kittens on the streets, it’s all too easy to pluck one of the little guys from the streets; when you’re in no real position to commit to him or her in terms of what they need. Which is obviously to love, care, feed, provide healthcare, and shelter for all his or her life.

So while Mari was lucky to be taken in and to learn how to love humans, the person who took Mari for his formative kitten “years” just wasn’t able to keep on loving and caring for him.

Mari fending for himself and making friends

Mari’s luck runs out

Now for every person in Bulgaria that has a heart for these defenseless creatures, I’ll show you ten that couldn’t care less. They care more about their potted plants and flowerbeds than these irritating vermin.

Bulgarian cat rescue charities will tell you that the problem with the stray cats is people not neutering them. But plenty of other people will say that the problem is people feeding stray cats. They’d rather they starved to death. Which they do. And that solves the problem, in their eyes, basically.

People complain about cats. They toss kittens in rubbish bins. And there are even bylaws that will have you fined for feeding stray cats in some parts of Bulgaria. The idea being to starve the problem away is part of this ignorant legislation.

Once a person has made a complaint about a cat – for whatever minuscule perceived reason – that person’s complaint is given significant priority – and you are supposed to take deference to it.

A young woman chose to adopt Mari and give him a home. But my guess is that someone had made a complaint about Mari because of his caterwauling. Either that or she knew she had to move on soon and trying to find accommodation with a cat in tow – would be challenging. Landlords can’t afford to have their furniture wrecked by scratching and peeing cats. So finding pet-friendly housing is tough.

Mari is a beautiful long lean almost all-white cat with a few ginger markings

Mari makes his own luck out on the streets

Well, for whatever reason it was, Mari found himself out on the streets. Now his owner did make a lot of effort to help Mari out. Like I say it, she likely found herself in a tight spot.

She attempted to make a little bed and shelter for Mari outside the local shop that she left him at. I’ve no idea why she left him there precisely. She lived close by; I guess. And a shop that sells cat food is not the stupidest place to dump your cat if you have to dump him.

Now I feel for so many of these homeless strays. But I felt more for Mari than others because once you have felt the warmth and softness of cushions and bedding – the real security of a roof over your head and four walls; being cast out to the streets seems harder than if you’d never experienced what life could be like.

I passed by the shop every day, and Mari would want to sit on my lap and cuddle along with eating the pouch of food I would buy for him! I would check on him daily and worry about him if I hadn’t seen him.

I’m new to cats, so I still know little about them. For some time, Mari was the cat with one green eye and one blue eye. I did not understand that’s a sign of an ulcer and not a thing!

But yes, his eye looked sore sometimes. I chatted with his owner, though, and she claimed that Mari’s sick eye was all under control. She said she had got antibiotics for it, and it was just that Mari preferred outside living.

I don’t know which parts of these statements she considered the truth. While Mari may have wanted to go outside as all un-neutered tom cats do, that doesn’t mean he wanted to live outside.

Kids want to wander off and play outside. And yet they don’t really have a deep desire to get lost, run over and killed. So by the same logic, neither did Mari want to be dumped outside a shop fending for himself.

Sweet little Mari plays after having the twig removed from his eye.

Often, I’d stop outside the shop for longer than intended on a busy day while Mari enjoyed his cuddle. He seemed to desperately need and absorb the care and protection from the contact. When I had to leave, it was hard. He would follow me, and I really felt for the little guy. He did not come across as a cat on the prowl. He came across as abandoned, and it tugged at my heartstrings each time I left him at the shop.

Weeks and months went by, I suspect Mari was out on the streets in March. The cold spring turned to summer. I worried less about the cold temperatures at night for him. But his blue eye was sore. Very sore.

One day I saw him and thought he’d been in a fight. But it was just bloody discharge from his eye all over his face. I cleaned him up as best as I could and went home even more concerned than ever.

Time went by, then one day in June, I found him just laying out in the baking sun. He looked thin, exhausted, and wretched. And his eye was a mess.

I was past caring about cultural differences/protocols/and legal technicalities – Mari needed help. I asked the shopkeeper where Mari’s owner was. The simple answer was she had left to take a job in nearby Sunny Beach.

Appalled and running on adrenaline, I marched home and picked up a cat carrier.

Finally, some good luck

Back at the shop, I put a second pouch of food in a bowl at the back of the cat carrier, and with not much of a fight, I pushed the wretched little fellow in.

I don’t know how many people passed Mari by -myself included – and did NOTHING. I am not passing judgment because seeing an animal in pain and caring and being able to do something about it are two entirely different things. I just could not leave sweet Mari in so much pain any longer.

Mari’s eye when I took him from the streets

The source of his pain

At the vet, the next day, Mari began treatment for a deep ulcer caused by some kind of trauma he explained. And Mari would need more luck. Sure the ointments and drops he prescribed might work. But if not, eye surgery may save his eye but would be expensive, and he may need to have his eye removed.

So I went home and crossed my proverbial fingers that we would get a lucky break. That was a Thursday. Come Saturday evening when Mari was rubbing his face with his paw, he shrieked in pain, and his whole body spasmed. He closed both his eyes and waited for the intolerable pain that must have been a 100 on the 10-point pain scale to get down to a 50, perhaps.

On Sunday morning, I telephoned the vet to get him some pain relief. It was heartbreaking to see an animal in so much pain. Back at the vet after a week, Mari was doing better than he had been. And his pain was under control. It was then that the vets pointed out a foreign body like a small twig was now visible in his eye. It had been lodged in his eye all this time. Can you imagine having a twig in your eye for a second? A minute? Mari had endured it for MONTHS while trying to fend for himself outdoors. Not least, it had been there before he was dumped!

Mari when we thought we could save his eye

I turned away as they removed it. And that was that. The vets seemed happy that the problem was over, and he’d make a full recovery. Since he pooped his carrier on each visit, they said he didn’t need to come back.

So we fully expected Mari’s eye to heal. A few weeks on, it seemed all good, and we got in contact with Bulgarian Stray Cat Rescue BSCRRC. They kindly uploaded his details to their facebook site but no luck in terms of anyone wanting to adopt this adorable cat. I also posted his details on my cat blog.

More bad luck for Mari

Well, it wasn’t to be in terms of Mari’s eye. We continued his ointment and drops, but a few weeks later, infection set in. Back at the vets, they explained that Mari had no vision in his eye, and it was past saving. The infection could pass to his brain, and he needed his eye removing. A few hours later Mari came home minus 1 eye and 2 testicles. And began his recovery.

He’s made an excellent recovery, but he’s now looking for some more luck.

Can you adopt a cat and give Mari a furrever home
Can you adopt a cat and give Mari a furrever home?

So here’s why Mari is looking for a new home

Mari is not the first little kitty that I found in need. Last summer, I had taken it upon myself to feed a mother cat and her kittens (that’s another story for another day). But the upshot of it is I have already chosen to adopt a cat twice now. We also have two other rescue cats, Biden and Kinsey. I also found Biden with a twig lodged in his eye. But he only suffered a minimal amount of pain as we got him to a vet shortly after the incident as a 3-month-old kitten. He also had an umbilical hernia which the vets fixed up for him too.

Little Biden another beautiful Bulgarian kitty rescued from the streets

Sadly, as expats in a foreign country, we are just not in a position to adopt a cat again as we live in a small rented villa. We don’t know people to look after our cats if we want to take a break, so we can take two cats somewhere with us to a pet-friendly hotel. But three cats is bordering on the ridiculous as hand luggage!

It will break my heart when and if Mari is adopted, but that’s cat rescue. And I know he needs someone who can commit to him or the rest of his life.

Mari proves beauty is in the EYE of the beholder

It’s so hard to get a cat successfully adopted in Bulgaria. I am not aware of any physical cat shelters in Bulgaria. Cat rescue in Bulgaria comprises cat-loving people fostering cats from one home to the next. I see so many Bulgarian people spending their hard-earned, and much needed low wages every day on thousands of kittens that are freezing to death on the streets of Bulgaria. Mari is undoubtedly not going to win any beauty contests soon. And his chances of being adopted are slim.

Mari has a one-eyed toy so, he knows it’s okay to just have one eye

Mari needs just a little more luck

It’s, for this reason, I’m reaching out to the fantastic cat-loving community of the UK that have far better resources than Bulgaria. I know it’s highly unlikely that you’re reading this post, and you can adopt a cat and give Mari the loving home and commitment he so desperately deserves.

But can you share this post on your Facebook or other social media accounts? Do you know someone who you think could help? Are you well connected in cat-loving circles? Can you mention Mari to someone who is cat-tastic in cat rescue terms?

I’ve been caring for Mari now for months. He absolutely adores me and the feeling is mutual. It will break my heart to let him go. And Mari still has that struggle and heartbreak ahead of him.

The truth of the matter is I just could not leave this cat on the street in the pain he was in. I imagine he would have died an excruciating and lonely death by now; just like thousands of Bulgarian cats do every week. After all, he has suffered, can you be the final stroke of luck that leads this adorable and amazing kitty to his furrever home?

Thank you so much for reading and if you have the time, please share this post. To adopt a cat or find out more about Bulgarian Cat Rescue and Pet Adoption in Bulgaria, just click the links. To find out more about our other cat rescues, please check out Miss Pet Paws. And to adopt Mari please leave a comment below or get in touch with me at Miss Pet Paws.

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11 thoughts on “GUEST POST: Mari’s Story – A Tail of a Bulgarian Cat Rescue

  1. 15andmeowing says:

    I wish I lived there to adopt him. I am in the USA , if there were a way to get him here, I would give him a forever home.

    • copylab878142661 says:

      Thanks Patricia. He has certainly been through a lot. He’s curled up on the sofa next to me, thinking he is the luckiest cat in the world, right now! I’ll take the best care of him until the luckiest cat parent in the world, adopts him.

      Bests,
      Mari’s foster mum
      Olivia

    • copylab878142661 says:

      Thanks Crystal for reading, commenting, and sharing. Mari is good to fly – I can travel with him back to the UK but he would have to fly as cargo for a trip that is longer.

      It’s wonderful that so many have already shared this post. Cats that need homes, don’t need donations- the currency needed for pet re-homing is social sharing! Please keep on doing so animal lovers!

      Love Mari & Olivia @ Miss Pet Paws

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