Sweetleaf - A Cat Rescue Story
by Lynn Walker
When we first saw her she was in a cage for an exhibit for the Cleveland Animal Protective League. She was so sweet butting up against the bars for us to scratch her ears. I fell in love with her bright blue eyes. She was entirely white with just a stub of a tail and totally deaf according to the APL person. My son and I fell instantly in love with her but we had neither the money or a way to get her home having gone downtown to the street fair on a bus. I asked if they would have her the next day and the APL person told us yes and and if she weren't adopted by day's end the following day she would be put to sleep because no one, apparently, wanted a deaf animal.
We went home and told my husband and after some cajoling got him to agree to the cat's adoption. I called the APL and asked if they could keep the cat there to make it easier for us to adopt her and they agreed. The following morning we went after her first thing and brought her home. Her adoption papers said her name was Tootie and none of us liked that. My son and I, being big Black Sabbath fans, finally came up with the name Sweetleaf.
In the beginning she was terrified, always keeping to a corner where she could keep an eye everything going on. We determined she must have been mistreated because a) she was absolutely terrified of me, it took years for her to finally trust any woman let alone myself and b) she had been beaten with a belt. She loved my husband from the first after a week but one day he went to put his belt on and she was laying on the couch not far from him. As soon as he picked the belt up she cowered and shook like a leaf, this was a fear she never got over and we always tried to make sure she wasn't around when he put his
belt on. Ans she was absolutely terrified when she saw me with a broom in my hands, she simply fled. This too, was a fear she never got over.
She took to my husband and son immediately and my husband soon found out that if he rapped the floor, Sweetie would come running to him. She took turns sleeping with the guys. In all respects except for her fears she was like any other cat, her deafness didn't seem to limit her. She knew when my husband came in from work and it wasn't unusual for her to greet him at the door.
As I said it took years, she was 2-3 when we adopted her and she was just under twelve when she crossed the Rainbow Bridge, before she would trust me. But I did eventually win her over in the last three or four years of her life. She began by laying on my lap while I watched tv, on her own, I was always careful not to seem aggressive with her. I would take her out to lay in the sun on the porch and she would stay close to me but if strangers came up she wanted in the house, fast!
When we moved into this house which has two floors she had no trouble getting up the stairs but coming down she pressed against the wall to carefully come down but it wasn't long before she was chasing our other cats up and down the steps in play.
She was a sweetheart of a little cat and I just can't fathom why anyone would deliberately hurt or be mean to her. Unfortunately, I don't have any of her pictures in electronic form to upload. But I will never forget those sky blue eyes and pink nose of hers in the time she was with us.
Comment from Kate (site owner)
What a wonderful story and god bless you for rescuing her. We too rescued a cat who may have been mistreated and she too preferred men to women. But I too won her over eventually. :)