Thursday, September 13, 2012
"Unadoptable" Is Nothing But A Word
Willow will be arriving at my shelter by the end of the week! She doesn’t have a clue about it yet, but she would most certainly be excited if she knew that she is rapidly approaching the end of her tiring journey. I hope that one day she’ll be able to overcome and forget everything that has happened to her over all of those years that she spent unimportant and unwanted. She has come a long way from that cemetery in which she’d lived her entire life…
I have a real soft spot for disabled kitties. Just the thought of a deaf, blind or tripod cat that is spending its days in despicable conditions, all alone, without proper food and vet care, makes me feel enraged and desperate. All of these kitties have been deemed unadoptable, although they can live a completely normal life, with just a little more care. I guess that a disability is seen as shameful and that’s why disabled animals usually don’t stand a chance.
As all of you already know, Willow is a tripod stray kitty who apparently lost her left back leg as the result of a vicious dog attack. She somehow managed to recover on her own and continued to live in the cemetery where the attack took place. No one kept an eye on her well-being. Like all of the other cats there, she’d been rummaging through garbage for food scraps and fleeing from imminent danger for years. Being disabled, Willow was at especially high risk – she shunned humans and was never at ease, I am guessing that she slept with one eye open. There she learned the most important rule “Trust no one”.
From personal experience with disabled kitties, I was confident that a disabled stray cat can live a full and enjoyable life if given a chance. When I saw a photo of Willow standing near the garbage bin I knew I wanted to take her in. But a few problems arose – she wasn’t easy to catch and it was questionable how she would behave in her foster home. I had even heard that she was happy in the cemetery and that she should be left there. People who have never had a special needs animal might wonder why I would want a disabled cat. Those who have, they understand.
A small tripod tabby arrived at her foster home, shy, scared and withdrawn, yet she immediately recognized the benefits of eating regular, tasty meals. She soon found out how it felt to rest on a cozy bed; she adapted perfectly to an indoor life. She no longer jumps at every sound, and has stopped constantly looking over her shoulder. She's finally relaxing and accepts a human touch.
Willow now plays with mouse shaped toys and wrestles with blankets. She enjoys play fighting with kittens, as well as the “chase me” game and mutual grooming with her mates sharing the household. Like most stray cats, she obviously hasn’t had the opportunity to be a kitten, or to behave like a kitten while she was little; she was forced to grow up fast in order to survive. She is now making up for all of those lost years, and for everything she has missed.
Her foster mom says that Willow is still quite shy. She has no problems with other cats, she has a problem with humans. She hides and refuses to eat whenever she hears an unfamiliar voice like whenever guests come to her current home. She evidently continues to believe that all people are bad – all but one. Yet it’s a good sign - if she was able to let one human into her life, she will surely be able to admit another.
I have no delusions that she will ever be a cuddly lap kitty. She won’t and she doesn’t need to. But she will have a happy and fulfilled life, safety, care and a place she can consider to be her true home.
This is not a story of only my Willow, this is a tale of all Willows throughout the world, all imperfect, abused, neglected and easily overlooked kitties. This is a story of love and respect for all fearful, distrustful, unapproachable and allegedly unadoptable animals on the planet. Each and every one of them deserves a chance, the maximum chance of a better life.