When staff arrived at the Douglas County Animal Care & Services and saw a carrier on their front porch, they knew it was another animal that had been dropped off into their care; unfortunately, not an unusual occurrence.
But when they looked inside, they were shocked at what they saw: a creature so matted they couldn’t even discern what species it was. "All we saw was a matted mess," said Liz Begovich, the shelter’s supervisor.
At first, Begovich thought the matted animal was a dog. “We couldn’t turn him around because of the way he was shoved in the carrier,” Liz said. “So we took the top off and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s a cat!’ I’ve never seen a cat in that sort of condition.”
The cat’s fur so densely encased his body, he essentially imprisoned in his own fur. Under nearly 5 pounds of matted fur, dirt, and feces, the poor cat was unable to move at all.
“He couldn’t even take a step,” Begovich said. "I’m guessing that wherever he was, he had his food and water right in front of him. There was just no way for him to move."
"We immediately took him to the vet where they sedated him," Begovich continued. "They shaved about 4.5 pounds of hair off of him. It filled a full-size kitchen trash bag."
The poor cat has been dubbed Bob Marley, though he happily no longer has his dreadlocks. After being freed from the confines of his own fur, Bob Marley’s true personality began to shine.
"Once the hair was off, he was walking around," Begovich saild. "I saw him looking up at the counter thinking, ‘I can jump up there.’ I thought, ‘No you can’t.’"
But with all the matting removed, shelter staff also realized that Bob had another problem: he was fairly overweight. Tipping the scales at 22 pounds, it’s no wonder Bob struggled to move with the extra 5 pounds of matting on top of it.
Thankfully, Bob was adopted shortly after the shelter shared his story. He now has a loving home, with a family who can help him recover from years of neglect and give him the happy, healthy life he truly deserve – this will likely include a diet to help him shed those extra pounds he’s carrying around.
As for how Bob Marley ended up at the shelter in the first place? Local police are currently investigating. On August 22nd, Nevada's Douglas County Sheriff’s Office posted an appeal for the community’s help in identifying a man who was captured on CCTV footage dropping the pet carrier on the front porch of the Douglas County Animal Care & Services.
Perhaps the man who dropped Bob Marley off at the shelter was simply a Good Samaritan who rescued the cat. No one knows for sure.
According to The Dodo, Begovich herself is reluctant to speculate if the man caught on CCTV is the person responsible for neglecting Bob for all these years, but his decision not to stick around or provide any information certainly raises red flags.
"Normally, when someone leaves an animal after hours, there’s usually more to the story. It’s typically not a Good Samaritan who found an animal on the side of the road," Begovich said. "We would really like to know the backstory. There could be other animals in this house, wherever this cat came from, who are in the same condition."
Hopefully, the truth will come out — but at least Bob Marley is in good hands and getting the happily ever after he deserves after everything he has been through.