It’s heartbreaking when animals get abandoned for no fault of their own. But sometimes, certain circumstances can’t be helped. For instance, take this story of a senior cat. Thomas was surrendered to a shelter after his owner became very sick. He couldn’t care for him anymore.
When Thomas arrived at Baltimore County Animal Services, the staff there began looking for a rescue that would accept him. Thomas was a little too much to handle for them because he was already 26 years old.
Senior animals usually have a hard time getting adopted. Senior cats that are around 10 to 13 years old rarely get the chance. Because he was already 26, the shelter knew that Thomas’ chances of finding a home were almost nonexistent. Not many people want to take in such an old cat and don’t want to face the medical challenges that come with the age. The shelter knew it would be a challenge to even find a shelter that would accept him, but they kept trying. Thankfully, a very kind woman offered to help.
Laura Cassiday is a webmail administrator and foster mom with Animal Allies Rescue Foundation (AARF). She saw a post about Thomas and was immediately drawn in by his story. She made a connection with him since he was around the same age as her. She knew the old cat wouldn’t find anyone willing to take him, so she didn’t waste any time in taking him in.
“I was scrolling through my news feed and read ‘26’ and stopped in my tracks,” Cassiday said. “I had never even heard of a cat that old. It was a snap decision; I commented that they could stop looking and I’d take him, and we called the shelter to say AARF would pull him. I picked him up the next morning.”
Instead of putting him up for adoption through AARF, Cassiday took him home with her. She knew he didn’t have a lot of time left, so she decided to foster him and give him hospice care as well.
“We basically took him on knowing that he’d never get adopted for the sole purpose of saving his life,” Cassiday said.
A vet diagnosed Thomas with hyperthyroidism and severe dental disease. He was put on medication to treat both conditions. Apart from that, Thomas was a very healthy cat for his age. His new family was both shocked and happy.
It’s only been a week since Thomas started living in his new home, and he’s slowly getting used to everything. He might have lived in the same home for 26 years, so leaving such a familiar environment might have been strange for him. Cassiday is happy to look after him and adores his elderly personality. She already has four cats of her own, in addition to two other foster cats. They are all much younger than Thomas. He brings the calm amongst all that chaos in the house.
“Young cats are a lot of work,” Cassiday noted. “They get into stuff. I waste so much money on toilet paper because Juniper unrolls it all at least once a week. Thomas lays in his bed quietly all day and doesn’t bother anyone. He is the ideal pet. I’m not saying everyone has to go out and adopt a 26-year-old cat, but when you’re looking to adopt, maybe give that 12- or 13-year-old a second glance. They need you way more than a kitten does.”
Cassiday and her family have gotten a lot of love for their incredible gesture towards the senior cat. They have gotten tons of comments, messages and donations from people who want to support Thomas in his golden years. The kindness was overwhelming, but Thomas didn’t seem too fazed by it all.
“He is definitely a crotchety old man,” Cassiday shared. “He hates the stardom and fame and wants to be left alone. I kind of don’t blame him. His one true love is food. I’m feeding him as much as he wants because I feel like he’s 26 and he deserves it. He does enjoy being petted and will play with toys a tiny bit, but it’s mostly sleeping and eating for this old dude.”
Cassiday doesn’t know how much time she’ll have with Thomas. She is helping him enjoy every passing day, and is grateful for the chance to care for such a senior cat.
“I feel like an ordinary person caught in an extraordinary moment,” Cassiday said. “In my mind, I did what anyone else should have done. I saw an animal that needed help and knew I had the capacity to help, so I did.”
Perhaps this story will inspire more people to do the same for other animals in need.
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