Date: Jan 23, 2009
Tiger came to CRAFT in early November. He was a shorthair, orange striped tabby, found sitting on the porch of a vacant house by a concerned woman who was looking at the house. She said he was very vocal, and very thin. She had previously adopted a cat from CRAFT and thought we would be the best ones to try to help him. Nighttime temperatures were in the 20's, very dangerous even for a robust cat. She could not take him into her household, but felt she could not just leave him there.
When Tiger was examined, it was found that besides being extremely thin, he was dehydrated, had parasites, and had been declawed on all four feet. We also learned quickly that he was very social and loved attention. The vet determined that Tiger was at least ten years old. Tiger was tested for disease, treated for his ailments and vaccinated; we then worked on trying to get a few pounds on him, along with finding a new family that would provide a decent, caring, inside-only home. He was found to have a thyroid condition that required a pill each day as well, but he loved his canned food and never noticed the pill inside of it. Probably because he was totally declawed and had almost no way to defend himself, he did not like other cats.
After a couple of months we began to think that Tiger would have to spend the rest of his days in a cage or small room, since he did not want to interact with other cats at all. But with him being so very social with people, it was heartbreaking that he could not get more one-on-one attention. Most potential adopters either had other cats, or did not want to adopt an older cat, although we know that with proper care cats can live for more than 20 years.
One day in January Lucy called. Lucy was in her 80's, blind, and looking for a companion cat. She had spent the holidays alone and did not want to spend another one without a cat for company, one that was friendly and low-maintenance. She had not yet made a lot of friends in the retirement home and did not have any family nearby. One of the CRAFT volunteers brought a couple of cats to Lucy's home for her to decide if one might be right for her. Tiger was one of them. Lucy decided she wanted to visit the cattery to learn more about the other cats, but during the car ride Tiger and Lucy had a long conversation, and by the time they reached the cattery, Lucy knew that he was the one. The volunteers arranged for Tiger's food and supplies, and he went home with Lucy.
When he was released from the carrier, he immediately walked around inside his new home, jumped on the bed and settled in like he had always belonged there. The next day Lucy reported that he slept with her during a nap and through the night and had made himself right at home. One of the residents put a sign on the door that said, "Don't let the Tiger out", with a photo of a tiger on it. Immediately other residents began visiting Tiger and Lucy.
Since then Lucy disclosed that she had been very lonely, depressed and "grumpy" before, and kept to herself, but with Tiger in her life she has made new friends and her life is so much better than it was. The volunteers told Lucy that when she adopted Tiger, he came with a family. Some of the volunteers visit them on a regular basis to make sure they are both doing well, which they are.
This successful adoption story proves once again what the volunteers already know - that as people connect with their pets, they also connect with other people, and the lives of all involved are enriched. Especially in the case of the elderly or handicapped, having a pet can do much more than give companionship - it can provide a reason for them to get up in the morning and make their lives much more fulfilled.