Monday, July 22, 2013

She Walks in Beauty, like the Night

Nursing homes for elderly people often have companion cats, as it’s proven that these furry little creatures provide love and comfort to the seniors who have given up so much already. Kitties are frequently an elderly person’s only daily companions and are
considered to be a part of their second family, the one they got to know when they entered a nursing care facility to spend the rest of their lives there.

Unfortunately, sometimes the staff shows far too little compassion and
tolerance towards the needs of the residents and their pets, arrogantly ignoring the benefits of pet companionship to elderly adults who do not have adequate social interaction with other people. Their beloved kitties are proclaimed redundant at one point and need
to be removed. Futka was born in one of these places where empathy and kindness were lacking as taking care of the elderly was governed by strict rules that were leaving almost no space for tenderness and grace.

Faced with this
ruthless decision, many nice old ladies who loved their kitties and had been feeding them for months if not years, reached out for help to their children, relatives and friends and managed to rehome almost all of the cats they were able to catch. Futka, distrustful and shy as
she had always been, was left behind as she couldn’t be caught and that’s when I got a call from one of the residents who begged me to try and catch this last black kitten that was fearful and extremely skittish. The lonely little girl wasn’t more than three months old back then
and she was in a very bad shape, with mange and significant hair loss, scarily thin and extremely cautious.

Surprisingly, I caught her quite easily but just a few short days later she began to exhibit symptoms of panleukopenia, a
highly contagious, very serious and deadly feline disease, which is often fatal for cats, particularly for unvaccinated kittens. She miraculously succeeded to recover but not without consequences; she has been suffering from both cardiac and pulmonary asthma
ever since. After months of treatment she finally overcame most of her problems and is doing rather fine now, with no classic asthma attacks, although she does seem to be gasping for air and breathing heavily sometimes.

It took her quite some
time to become the stunning and gorgeous kitty she is today, with a beautiful, rich, luxurious, long-haired coat which turns from black to dark brown during the shedding season. Her personality didn’t change much, though; she is still distrustful
of new people and not really friendly towards other cats. While she was living in my apartment, she cuddled with me although she used to shy away from strangers, but since we've moved to the shelter, almost all of the cats have become somehow more
independent and distant than ever before and Futka is no exception. She still snuggles with me when she is in the mood and when there’re no other humans around, but it’s been extremely difficult to earn her trust and hospitality definitely isn’t one of
her qualities.

She is not aggressive towards the other cats, except when some corpulent tom tries to bully other kitties and starts getting on her nerves. The moment she's had enough, my calm and lazy girl quickly turns into a real fury
that charges at him full bore, hell bent to teach him a lesson and chases him through the yard until he realizes that his estimate was totally wrong. She also has a unique and kind of hostile “What do you think you’re doing here” look reserved for strangers with
such a clear message that no one is tempted to try and pet her, in spite of her shiny, smooth hair that makes her look like a soft, endearing, fluffy ball of fur.

Seven or eight years old now, Futka is a mature, self-conscious beauty with
a very strong personality and her likes and dislikes are well defined. Absolutely unwilling to compromise, she is not easy to deal with – things can be done only her way or won’t be done at all. Highly independent, determined, insubordinate and
recalcitrant, she ignores the rules with such nonchalance that it somehow seems right – maybe because I still remember a fearful, skinny and sad kitten she once was and when I look at her now, so dignified and so magnificent, I simply can’t reproach
her no matter what she does.

1 comment:

Everycat said...

What a beautiful girl Futka is, and how hard you worked to help her to good health.

In the UK hardly any homes for the elderly allow pets (some private ones do but not many)

To leave one's home and one's beloved pets behind must destroy the soul of a person.

Long life to Futka!