Written by Mandy Store, TEARS Animal Rescue Operational Manager
Professional photography by Fourpawz Photography
You know that feeling when you’re sitting on the couch with your kids watching a Disney movie, and you get those goosebumps and warm feeling inside your tummy and heart because “dreams do come true”? Well, that’s how this story goes…
I grew up not really knowing my own cat family as I was taken away from them at just five weeks old. Realising how cold it is to be on your own without your mom and siblings to keep you warm and safe, I found myself a spot under a Wendy House between a few bricks holding up the structure, and that kind of sheltered me from the rain and the wind.
I would try get the attention of my “new” family by meowing continuously in the hope they’d find me a spot inside, but that didn’t change! No more milk from mom, so I had to learn to scavenge the scraps thrown on the sandy ground outside the back door. I was surprised to hear myself growling every time I ran away with a chicken bone almost half the size of me to make sure no one else would take it away! I was lucky that the tap outside that back door was leaking so I could always have access to water, even though I had to drink off the sandy ground.
As I get to know my “people” I realise sometimes they only had two meals a day, and on a few occasions we’ve had only one! My mom stays home and cleans the house and also looks after the children. The dad of the house is our breadwinner and tries to find work every day so that he can feed our family. Life is tough, but I do what cats do best, and that is to survive!
I spend my days mostly trying to catch the cockroaches and bugs that try and enter the crevices of the Wendy House. Sometimes I’m lucky and I catch little mice and even rats, but they’re not so easy as they’re almost the same size as me! I spend my afternoon lying in the sun on the tin roof of our house, watching the kids running in the streets and the dogs barking and playing with them. I wonder what it’s like to play with the children, or even other cats. I’m too scared to leave our house and never venture outside the gate… I get a bad feeling in my tummy whenever I get the courage and then decide I’m happy here and it’s what I know.
One day I get woken up to the screaming of my name, “Kitsie, Kitsie”! There’s a man in a uniform and he’s holding a box. He takes me by the scruff and puts me in the box. I’ve never been so petrified in all my life. I see my mom crying and saying to him, “We can’t look after Kitsie anymore, and his skin is getting worse!” So off I go and end up at the TEARS clinic.
I get a doctor’s check by the resident vet, Dr Tracy Dicks. She says I have the terrible “ringworm” and a skin allergy, but with the right treatment I’ll be fine. So, I’m thinking that’s wonderful news, ‘cause then I get to go back home to my family! It’s so nice at the TEARS clinic; everyone here gives me cuddles and feeds me these little balls of food that taste like chicken!
I spend a few days in hospital and start to feel great again. Then I get sent off to the “cattery”, which I thought was a cat hotel! I realised I wasn’t going back home and now I have to find a new family and a home to stay in. Although my stay at the Cattery was first class and the food was the best, I still wanted a family to call my own. I spent most of my days just sleeping and watching the people go by in the hope that someone would notice me – the white cat with the “skin problem”!
Then finally that day came. It was my lucky day, and I got to meet a handsome fellow called Jacques. He picked me up and held me gently against his chest and gave me the nicest tickles on my cheeks that made me purrrrr! I’ve never felt such happiness before, and I was instantly in love!
Jacques was to be my new dad, and I’ve finally found a home and a family to call my own! Thank you to the TEARS clinic who gave me first-class veterinary care and cured me of all my sicknesses. Thank you to you, the supporters of TEARS, who help fund these amazing peeps who help animals and people in the communities who rely on the support of TEARS to care for their animals!
Jacques van Straaten, Aladdin’s new owner, shares…
My girlfriend, Siobahn, and I have been together for a year and a half now; we’d been living in a garden cottage for most of our relationship, and we both wanted an animal. Once we moved into a bigger house that was pet-friendly, we decided to adopt.
We first looked at dogs one Sunday, and we were so close to choosing a dog when Siobahn suggested we go across the road to have a look at the cats that are looking for homes. I’ve always been a cat person, as I’ve grown up with cats all my life.
When Siobahn and I walked into the first room of kittens that were available they all started meowing; it was as if they knew people were here to take one of them home. But there was one in the very first cage that caught my attention.
A handsome pure white cat just lying there quietly, not paying attention at all. For a split second he looked up at me and then put his head back down. It looked like he’d given up hope of being chosen ages ago. I immediately felt a connection with him and felt the urge to just sit with him. The lady helping Siobahn and me mentioned that no one ever paid any attention to him due to his fur colour, and he was never chosen by people looking to adopt.
I’ve had two white cats previously and I understand the importance of keeping them indoors mostly. I gave him some rubs and scratches and waited for the purring before picking him up. It was an instant connection, and the decision was made there and then!
Aladdin has settled in so nicely and is just full of joy and love. A huge thank you, TEARS, for allowing Siobahn and me the opportunity to adopt Aladdin and making the world a better place. Without TEARS, so many animals would have no hope and nowhere to go.