EWN Article 15/07/10: Against The Odds

This is my full article, part of which was published in the Euro Weekly News last week. The rest of the article will feature in future weeks. It talks about some of AlStray’s ‘special’ cats and kittens.

All the cats that I am involved in helping are special in their own way, and all, to an ardent cat lover, are welcome and beautiful. Some rescue cats however are, for particular reasons, more special, and some find their happy forever homes really ‘against the odds.’

AlStrays only started at the beginning of 2008, following Chris’s sterling effort in running a sponsored half marathon, to give me the initial funds. Slowly during that year our initial neutering program for females, expanded to include a re-homing program. In the meantime stray cats were still being fed in the port, and one litter of kittens that had been dumped by the sea, grew up into big strong, friendly ‘rock cats’. Most have subsequently been re-homed, but the ones that I remember with more emotion are the tougher stories, where the cats and kittens were in trouble or at serious risk, and I know that we have literally ‘saved’ them. All the cats that I am about to mention, feature on my blog alstrays.com, and you can find their stories easily by searching on their names.

Pepe, my first injured rescue kitten, had half his tail bitten off. Little Jasper (pictured), came limping out of the rocks one very rainy, windy day, with his 4 siblings, and with an obviously broken leg. Marty (left at the protectora on another horrid day … wet, wet, wet … hence his name!), also needed a plaster. All of these 3, were lovely little fellows, and tugged hugely at my heartstrings. Had I needed to foster them, I think I would have never let them go. And then there are the 4 ‘special ones’.

Chivers and Tommy, our rock Tomcats and rivals, were both diagnosed with FIV (cat HIV), which made them harder to re-home. Tommy’s case is the most special as he was my first FIV cat and at the time I was advised to put him to sleep. I loved this old bruiser on sight however, and fought for his chance. With the girls in Germany, and a great foster home here, we found a happy ending for this most loving gentle old boy, who I now believe was never a feral cat at all, but an abandoned tame one, forced to live outside for far too long.

Another of the ‘special’ ones is Smokey Boy. He was found initially with badly damaged paws, then later at the cat rescue, we then used, had epileptic fits, contracted a serious bacterial infection, and suffered nerve damage from a serious bite. I brought him back to Almerimar skeletal, and with a permanently, paralysed lower leg. Again there were doubters, but having taken advice, I knew we owed him a chance of life. He now lives in a fantastic home with 4 other lovely cuddle cats and every time we get photo updates he look happier and more beautiful. Animals cope well with disability and there is no need to give up on them.

Bono was another case. He is a beautiful siamese, persian cross, at the time of rescue, unable to open his mouth to eat. We fed him for over 6 weeks by syringe, before he could eat at all on his own. He now lives with a lady doctor who flew over from Switzerland to take him home. Fleur, who I wrote about last week is the 4th special rescue, with her badly broken femur. The other 3 I will feature more in the coming weeks.

Others I call my ‘moment in time’ rescues. These are the ones who are only alive today, because, someone came by at that moment, and not only cared but actually did something to save them.

Oscar is the most beautiful, gentle cat. He was drowning when friends heard cries, and were able to fish him out. Chris and I fostered him and then adopted him, and I am so grateful that he was saved, and that his rescuers chose to take a walk at that time on that particular evening. Baby Felix was also saved when other friends were out late at night and their dog sniffed him out in the bushes, age 2 weeks. Pippa meanwhile was heard crying from a rubbish bin, near where a friend had parked her car, Trixie was rescued literally from the jaws of a dog, and Strolchy was caught, just in time, by a busy road, where his 2 siblings had already been killed.

All these cats now have happy lives, and were saved either because people wouldn’t give up on them, or because at that ‘moment in time’ when they were in huge trouble, somebody cared enough to act. These are Alstrays’s biggest rescues. To the special ones we have not just give a better life, we have given a life. A big thank you to everyone who has helped them, AND to those people, who walked past at that ‘moment in time’ and were willing to help. Some cats, despite their 9 lives, really are alive against the odds, because the right people came along just when they needed them and did something. We need more of the right people, so if you can help, we would love to hear from you.

Little Jasper

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