"Unadoptable" Stray Cat Rehabilitated by Rescuers Who Refused to Give Up February 21 2017, 6 Comments
In February 2016, Coconut was just another nameless, feral cat fighting for survival out on the cold, wintry streets of Boston.
Spotted by rescuers working for Boston’s Forgotten Felines (BFF), Coconut was captured on a TNR (Trap, Neuter, and Release) mission to a local feral cat colony. Joni Nelson, BFF’s founder and a seasoned cat rescuer for over 30 years, soon discovered that the all-white stray’s condition was worse than initially thought. It was clear he couldn’t simply be neutered and rereleased into his feral colony.
Coconut’s ears were torn and bloodied, his white coat matted and dirty, wary, blue eyes crusted and goopy. On top of that, he had a serious UTI, chronic diarrhea, a bad back leg and ear mites; Poor Coconut was a mess. But according to Joni Nelson, it wasn’t his appearance that made him “hard to like,” it was his nasty attitude.
At first, Coconut would hiss at anyone who came near him. Nelson struggled to give him medicine, clean his cage or even feed him; he would always lash out when she opened his cage.
Coconut wouldn’t lift his head all the way to look at anyone, and Nelson discovered Coconut was mostly blind and could likely only see shadows.
He was clearly a frightened cat who had never known love. Or, if he had known love, he'd been abandoned for so long (since the summer of 2015), that he had forgotten what love and affection truly was.
“Many people told me to put him to sleep, that he was unadoptable,” Nelson said. “I couldn't let him live his life in a cage, and I couldn't put him to sleep.”
It took months of dedication, care, and affection for Coconut to begin to finally feel safe. “It took a long time to get him to let me touch him. First just his head and only for a second or two.”
Understanding Coconut’s hostility and fear dawned on Nelson when she discovered that he was deaf as well as mostly blind. “No wonder he was so nasty,” she said. “He was frightened and no one knows the torture he went through living on the streets for so long in that condition.”
Sherri Deluca was Coconut’s first foster mom. It wasn’t easy, but Deluca helped further rehabilitate Coconut and put him closer to his finding forever home. “She never gave up on him,” Nelson says of Deluca. She even has “battle scars to prove it.” Nevertheless, she persisted.
Soon, it was time for Coconut to spread his wings and learn of the rest of love and care that was out there awaiting him. He went to a new foster home, and after only one day of hiding under the bed, he seemed to relax. “He loves the attention,” says Nelson.
Coconut has truly blossomed into a healthy, confident cat thanks to his rescue moms – and he’s quite the cuddly companion. “He purrs up a storm when being loved. He sleeps with [his foster mom] and cuddles.”
Coconut's transformation is truly incredible and shows just what love, safety, and attention can do for cats, like Coconut, who are desperately in need.
The Humane Society of the United States estimates that almost 3 million cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters each year, approximately 2.4 million (80%) are healthy and treatable and could have been adopted into new homes.
With numbers this alarming and a case as challenging as Coconut's, it’s akin to a miracle that Coconut didn’t become just another statistic; Coconut's miracle came in the form of the rescuers who gave him a chance when no one else would. But Coconut still needs one more miracle: to find a loving family to call his own.
If you're interested in giving Coconut his forever home, please contact Boston's Forgotten Felines.
You can find even more uplifting stories of rescue cats and their heroes in our new community, Cats Club!
h/t The Dodo
Written By: Cortney Licata