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Norwich Bulletin - 12/28/2008

A Miracle For Carat

It was a really cold wintery night back in November of 2007, when we got a call about a very handsome red tabby cat who had been left in a feral colony. One of the groups that does roundups (trapping all the cats, having them altered and then returned), realized that this poor, frightened cat was definitely not a feral, but rather a very scared cat who was once someone’s pet and was abandoned in the colony to fend for himself.

Whoever did this certainly did not know (or at least I hope they didn’t), that he would not be accepted by the colony and they would not allow him to share food or space with them. He would be treated as a pariah and picked on at every turn. Even though he was not able to be touched and he was extremely cowed, the vets also determined he was not feral.

And so one of our foster homes was willing to take him and try to work with him. She remembers that Carat (named for his beautiful gold coloring), had the saddest eyes she had ever seen and her heart broke for him. He hid all the time, but was never mean nor aggressive- she knew without a doubt he did not belong in a feral population, but it was doubtful that he would ever come around again enough to trust another human.

We all were quite certain that Carat was destined to live out his life as a foster cat, well taken care of, but without that special human companionship we felt he deserved after everything he has gone through.

But who would adopt a cat they could not even touch? Was there anyone who had that much patience and love in their heart for one poor, forgotten, adult kitty? Enter, Dave Rose. First of all, we all assume that it is women who will give the time and patience needed to bring about a change in a very frightened animal, so I was surprised when I found out that it was a gentleman that adopted Carat. He was able to see how handsome a fellow Carat was, but he was not able to touch him.

In fact, when he came back to pick him up, Carat was already in a carrier waiting for him, because it had taken so long for the foster home to get him and put him into a carrier. But it was near Christmas, 2007, and we had asked for a special home for Carat for the holidays, and it seemed that we got one. I never believed for a minute that Mr. Rose would keep Carat, much less be able to bring him around, but I was thankful that Carat would have his own space for the holidays, and I hoped for the best.

The first report came right after Christmas. He had been in his new home for three weeks and there was actually no progress to report. Carat would not come near his new owner and, in fact, he either hid under the bed or under the TV stand. He would tentatively venture out of his hiding spots to eat or use the litter, but if he saw Dave, he immediately hid again.

Dave would lie on the floor so as not to appear too tall and overbearing, and he would talk quietly to Carat. It seemed to have no effect and the new owner was looking for some words of wisdom and guidance. Of course, it had only been three weeks and the scars this cat carried needed a lot more time to heal.

In January of 2008 we received another update that let us know that Carat was coming out of hiding and getting used to his new home. He would not allow Dave to get near him, but he was laying out in plain sight and not running to hide everytime the human came into the room. This was progress, although minimal.

Six months went by and we honestly felt we had heard the last of Dave and Carat and that no news was good news. But in July, we received an email that lifted our hearts and gave us hope for our feline rescue. Carat had started to allow Dave to pet and play with him.

All of a sudden one day there was a break through and Carat meowed for the first time! He then started going through Dave’s legs and brushing up against him, obviously marking him as his own. After he did this several times, Dave reached down and started petting him and scratching his neck. As long as there were no quick movements, things went along smoothly.

September 1, 2008 – nine months after Carat was adopted, Dave let us know that he was able to pick his cat up. Carat was also demanding attention and everytime Dave walked into a room, he would meow at him and do a lot of head butting until he got that attention. He was chasing tennis balls and sharing chicken, which he was willing to take right out of Dave’s hands. Both cat and human seemed to be extremely happy and Dave was thrilled at the difference that nine months of love and patience could make.

Sunday, September 20, 2008, we received our last report on Carat. Dave reported a strong bond that had developed between the two. He was allowing himself to be brushed and rewarded Dave’s love with his satisfied purr! This was the final step in a very long journey. Dave’s email thanked Helping Paws for making Carat available to him – he said he knew that Carat was a special cat and he recognized that in the frightened kitty he brought home.

One of his original reasons for adopting Carat was his fear that a forever home would never be found for him because of his history. Carat and Dave have both succeeded beyond our wildest dreams and we are sharing this Christmas miracle with you.

Perhaps as you are making your New Year’s resolutions, you might consider adopting one of our other scared and lonely abandoned kitties we have had for months, and make a difference in one more life? It is a truly rewarding experience.

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