This is Pops. We don't know anything about his life prior to about ten days ago, when an anonymous woman near Canton found him in her yard during the worst of our recent bitter cold spell. He was emaciated to the point of starvation, dehydrated, hypothermic, and generally in very bad shape. She brought him inside, gave him warmth, water, and food, and began searching for a place to take him.
Clearly Pops is no feral cat, but most likely someone's long-time pet who had for some reason been left to fend for himself. He doesn't show typical feral behavior, and his poor physical condition is evidence that he wasn't used to surviving on his own.
Fortunately it's been a very good adoption month at Good Mews, so we had a space for him. First, though, we got Pops to a vet, who treated the hypothermia over several days, gave him fluids and food slowly and carefully, and medically evaluated him. Tests showed that he appears to be between twelve and fifteen years of age, which makes him Good Mews' oldest current resident. He also turns out to have hyperthyroid, which is treatable in cats just as it is in humans. His initial weight was a mere five and a quarter pounds, which is simply horrific. The pads of his feet are all torn up, and his teeth are in such bad shape that dry food is difficult for him to eat. Chances are most, if not all, of them will have to come out when he has his dental.
Pops' age and condition make me wonder if, when his prior owner found out about the medical issue, they just chose not to deal with it, or him, at all. If that's the case, well, there's a special place in hell for those people.
Now that we've gotten Pops into the shelter, he's slowly improving. His weight is up over six pounds already, though we can still feel every single bone in his body. He's starting to realize that he doesn't have to be food-aggressive, because there's plenty there and it's not going to run out. In fact, the challenge is to just give him small amounts at a time so he doesn't overeat and make himself sick.
His energy level is still very low, and it's clear he's still got a ways to go before he's completely recovered. He's still not strong enough to groom himself well, so Joyce Fetterman has been working on him bit by bit getting the knots and mats out of his coat. We could shave him, I suppose, but he needs what coat he has to keep him warm. Besides, as I commented today, "leave him what little dignity he has left."
With all he's been through, though, he is a love! He's been justifiably wary since he arrived, but we volunteers have been loving on him and trying to reassure him that he's safe now, he's cared for, and the nightmare is over. Apparently we're getting through to him. The notes on the Cat Catalog say he loves to be held. Also, this afternoon both Joyce and I were with him at separate times, and we both heard him very quietly, tentatively purr as we cuddled and petted him.
Cats like Pops are why I make my own small contribution to the animal rescue cause.