Cindy's Spirit a Cat Rescue Story

by Stephanie DeMello
(New Bedford, Mass)

Our rescued cat

Our rescued cat

The temperatures in the fishing city of New Bedford were dropping rapidly. The weather stations were advising folks to stay inside as they were predicting several days of sustained temperatures below zero. With forecasts like this, cat rescue groups mobilized to reinforce the feral cat shelters on the city’s waterfront and to make sure there was adequate food for the cold days ahead. With a little help from people, the managed colonies of feral cats on the waterfront were prepared for the storm, but one little grey cat was not.

How she arrived in St. Mary’s cemetery nobody really knows. Likely, she was one of the many unwanted cats that find themselves looking for a warm nook to snuggle up in and some kibble to eat. Eventually, a concerned family brought the little, grey cat to Habitat for Cats when they realized that she was getting thinner and thinner…sicker and sicker. Unlike feral cats, stray or homeless cats are not equipped to deal with cold weather and scavenging for food. They do not have the same survival instincts as feral cats that are born and raised in the wild.

You could hear the cat’s heavy breathing through the carrier. When she stepped out, the volunteers were heartbroken to see a cat with ribs protruding from her sides. Her eyes were nearly glued shut from infection and she was breathing through her mouth because she was so congested. This was one sorry cat.

The cat was put into the coziest section of the shelter, given a fleece blanket and offered a dish of warm food. The grateful little feline gobbled it up and purred happily.

The little cat settled happily into her new routine of sitting atop the dryer in the laundry room, breathing in the warm steamy air and enjoying dishes of food. It was then discovered as the little cat stretched out contentedly, that this forlorn cat was also declawed. Someone has taken from this cat her ability to defend herself.

After a couple of days, it became apparent to volunteers that the little grey cat was not out of the woods. The skin on her nose had begun sloughing off and her tail was extremely brittle. A trip to the veterinarian confirmed what volunteers suspected….severe frostbite. The veterinarian informed volunteers that Cindy Lou Hoo (as she had become to be known) would lose her nose and ears and her tail would need to be removed due to the frost bite. The vet also stated that Cindy Lou was about 12 years old.

Cindy Lou Hoo is still healing. Her soft little ears became more brittle and the tips fell off. While she has become very protective of “her” dryer and she has gained weight she still has medical issues. Her frost bitten nose did eventually fall off giving Cindy Lou Hoo, a rather unusual, yet endearing appearance. Being nose-less has not prevented Cindy Lou from being a huge fan of Fancy Feast tuna and shrimp canned food. Cindy loves to be stroked and petted and all you need to do is smile at her and she begins to purr. Cindy may look very different than the other cats at the shelter, but what makes her special is not her physical appearance, but her amazing will to survive against such tremendous odds: elderly, declawed, sickly and frozen. While preserving her love and trust of humans.

Comment by Kate
What a sad and also endearing story. Thank goodness she is safe now. If you have a picture of her even without her nose etc i would be happy to add it to this post.

Thank you for submitting your story.

best wishes Kate

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