A visit to the local animal shelter

On Sunday afternoon I took myself and a large bag of catfood to the Ipswich Animal Shelter, to donate the bag and have a visit with the resident strays and rescues. As always, the shelter is a bright, cheerful place offering a comfortable refuge for animals in need of a home.

No dogs were in residence, but the kitten room was bustling with the antics of a dozen little ones, not quite old enough for adoption but big enough to scramble all over the cat tree and perching places, to tumble about wrestling, and to miaow pleadingly for the visiting human to pick them up and love them. There were two, perhaps three litters’ worth frolicking about. Many were mostly white with wild patches of dark tabby, some with comical smudges on their noses. Two solid near-black tabby kittens insisted on being held. Their soft fluffy bodies rumbled with purrs. It was so hard not to adopt one of those flower-faced sweethearts! But the menagerie currently in residence at my home would not be amused, so I retreated before my will buckled.

In the adults’ room there were half a dozen snoozing cats, some whose adoption is already in the works. In one corner was a large wire cage, its door open. In the far corner inside a pale plump tortoiseshell roused from her nap, mewed softly, and came out for some loving.

I let her sniff my hand, felt her rub her cheek against it, then stroked her. One stroke – she purred. Two strokes – she slashed my hand with her teeth and punched me with frantic clawless paws. One of the volunteers rushed in to warn me about her – too late. I brushed off the woman’s apologies, knowing how suddenly cats can be overwhelmed by the stimulation of being petted.

But this was worse, this went beyond into a pitiful territory no animal should ever inhabit. The poor cat stayed close to me where I crouched, her eyes wide and wild. Any small motion of my hand near her brought another furious flurry of punches. You could tell she desperately wanted affection, desperately wanted someone to be kind to her, caress her – but any attempt to offer it terrified her.

The volunteer told me she hadn’t been left at the shelter. Nope, she’d been rescued from abandonment. Some sorry excuse for a human being, having done who knows what to shatter her trust in people, had thrown her away, clawless, defenseless, like a broken toy. In the two months she’d been at the shelter, the volunteer said, the cat had made a lot of progress toward trusting. That alone sickened me – how badly must that cat have been abused, that the frightened little thing I saw was much improved?

Poor thing. It will take a special kind of person to adopt her, to slowly, patiently bring out whatever measure of trust this broken spirit can win its way to. Perhaps she’ll never find a home beyond the shelter. But at least there she has the loving care of people who’ll never let her be hurt again.

how old is the little kitty? if she is still young, she may heal, emotionally, before too long (which could be a year or two but still) if she is an adult cat, she may never ‘heal’ completely.

btw - you get many karma points for your visit as is.

Poor kitty! :frowning:

May both you and the “person” who did this to this poor cat get your karmic rewards swiftly.

The karma bonus points belong to the people who volunteer at the shelter, not me. I’m just an occasional visitor. They’re the ones who work hard at socializing feral or traumatized cats, who clean the cages, boxes, and rooms, who shower affection on the residents till some kind person adopts them.

It was a core group of volunteers who raised the money and worked their butts off to replace the old, cramped, tiny-caged shelter with the wonderful open, airy, comfortable facility that opened a few years ago.

I will agree, though, with all wishes for karmic justice to be visited upon the slime mold who abused and abandoned that cat.

Your shelter sounds very nice. Ours is grim and utilitarian, as well as stuffed to the rafters with unwanted cats and dogs.

I know I wouldn’t do well there as a volunteer, because my heart would be broken constantly. (One of the volunteers there says that none of the workers have less than four dogs). So, instead, we donate money every pay period. (Hubby’s workplace will take it automatically from your check.)

You’re right, Lissa, the local shelter is head and shoulders above the average facilities. I wrote about it here a few months ago.

Good news, by the way – the big black cat, George, I lusted to adopt before sanity prevailed has, I’m told, gone to an adoptive home a month or two ago. Hurrah!