Happy Cats

A happy ending for one of our long stay residents.

In August 2004 we received a plea for help. A stray cat was living under cars in a road just off the Oxford Road in Reading. He had been there for a while and a lady had been feeding him but he was very frightened and could not be touched. The lady's daughter contacted us and we provided a trap to catch him. As he was so hungry it did not take long to catch him. The cat was taken, in the trap, to Castle Vets in Reading where he was blood tested for FIV and FeLV before being neutered. After that he was collected by Mandy, one of our fosterers, and installed in her cat house.

The cat, who became known as Billy, was very nervous and seemed particularly frightened of both men and children. Gradually, over the months, with a lot of coaxing from Mandy he started to become more confident with her but was still frightened of strangers. We thought perhaps a home with a single lady might be right for him and in November he was rehomed. Unfortunately the lady had not fully understood how nervous Billy could be and quickly brought him back again. Perhaps we had let him go too soon but we thought he might gain confidence better in a home than in a cat house.

The months passed and Billy did improve. In fact with Mandy he was completely normal but still wary of strangers, especially men. Eventually, in September 2005 we were contacted by Miss C who seemed to be offering exactly the type of home we felt Billy needed. As you can see, Billy has found his perfect home!

Billy Hi, I'm Billy

After a very long human year in a kind and caring foster home, I have found a new permanent "comfy pad". I have three beds, one where I can either curl up or have a stretch, an igloo where I can hide if things get too scary and a large divan bed. The latter, my owner insists on sharing with me at night, but that is useful because I can wake her up if I feel lonely! I have plenty of toys to play with, enjoy being brushed, stroked and having my tummy tickled. I'm very good and keep my claws retracted and purr loudly when a fuss is made of me. I'm still a little scared of my surroundings, but my confidence is growing daily!

Jessie by Karen and Chris

Sophie, our big, fluffy, white and ginger cat was killed by a car. If truth be told, we were trying to replace her when we logged onto the TVAW web site to see what cats were looking for a new home. Of course it is impossible to "replace" any cat, and especially when that cat was such a character. But of all the cats on the web site we fell for Jessie, a long-haired, tartan, tortoiseshell female.

Jessie in one of our cat houses before rehoming The only problem was how to get to see her as neither of us drives and Monica, who was fostering Jessie, lives quite some distance away from us. Then she came up with a solution: as she was due to come to Reading on the following Monday, why not bring Jessie along, leave her with us and come back later to see how we'd got on together. Karen was away at a conference so it was just Chris who would decide whether we gave Jessie a new home.

Jessie in one of our cat houses before rehoming

Monica arrived and brought the cat carrier into the house. A very sorry looking creature emerged from the carrier. She had not travelled well. We took Jessie into the bathroom and cleaned her up to make her a little more presentable. After Monica left, Chris sat on the bathroom floor with her. She was nervous but came out from behind the toilet and within twenty minutes she had climbed onto his lap, purring and wanting a fuss.  Jessie in her new home

She has settled down with us wonderfully. She is a very affectionate cat and often comes up to Chris in bed for a cuddle, snuggling up to him with her head on his arm and a front leg dangling over his arm. Or she settles down on Karen's chest, always purring ecstatically. And what a purr! Her meows are mostly silent and at best she can only manage a tiny squeak, but she makes up for it in other ways.

We have identified at least four different trills in a kind of Brrr - Prrr alternating melody. She also loves to be groomed and will come to us if we hold out her brush or comb, again purring ecstatically, lying on her back, front legs stretched out and flexing each pawful of claws alternately.

Jessie in her new home    

Over the last ten months that she has been with us, her confidence has grown. The demur cat, who let us sleep and wake up in our own time, now leaps purposefully onto the bed - or directly onto us! - at any time from three in the morning onwards, purring and demanding her food.

The character of "Jessie the hunter" has also emerged. From arriving as a "small" cat, who "doesn't go out", "can't use a cat flap" and "doesn't eat very much", as we were led to believe, she has metamorphosed into a different feline altogether. Once her few remaining teeth were removed (most had already been extracted because of gum disease), her appetite doubled and soon she was less "small". She now weighs in at about 10 lb, very different from the hollow-sided waif she was at first. Then when she realised that we wouldn't open the back door for her on demand, she took enthusiastically to the cat flap: in-out, in-out, like a new toy. This has enabled her to go on regular extended hunting trips in the back gardens.

We foolishly believed that a cat without teeth would spare us from "presents" but, no, we have found her to be most generous. So far she has bestowed upon us at least three mice, nine frogs, and any number of moths - some the size of your palm! Being "dentally challenged" she cannot kill her catches very easily, so many's the hour we have spent retrieving and releasing her menagerie back into the wild. But we wouldn't have her any other way. She is a purrfect member of our family.