Daisy-Mae and Dora-Bella
I have loved (and lost) so many cats. My last cat, Josef, died in 2015 only a short time after the death of his brother, Ossie and my beloved cat, Otto. Josef’s leaving was just one loss too many and I stopped writing on my blog. This is the story of the two rescue cats who I gave a home to soon after Josef died.
Dora and Daisy had been homeless and had known very hard times. They only survived at all because of the work of The Cats Action Trust. This charity rescues and saves feral cats which other charities will not take. Dora was completely feral. It is said that her exquisite beauty came about by chance when a top breeder of Rag Doll cats moved away from Cornwall leaving the male cat behind to breed with all the stray cats in the area! Her striking blue eyes and pretty markings helped to save her life the first time when a farmers wife saw that some one had kicked her eye, took pity on her and took her to the vets. Dora’s life was saved a second time at the surgery when the vet there decided she was not worth operating on and had the syringe ready to put her to sleep, but his conscience stopped him at the last moment. Heathcliff, who works for the charity happened to be in the waiting room and when asked he said at once,” I will take her’.
I can only guess at Daisy’s experiences. Found emaciated and half starved she must have felt so frightened to be suddenly fending for herself on the street. For Daisy had been a domestic pet and had once had a home. Dora and Daisy bonded in their foster home and became inseparable as Daisy helped to care for Dora after the surgery to remove her eye.
But still no one would take them on because they were totally traumatised and timid.
For Dora and Daisy coming to me in April 2016 was just another upheaval which they had to endure. These terrified cats hid for weeks in my house and could not feel the love I had for them. It was a very difficult for months and I really was not getting anywhere. They both needed medical attention for various issues and I could not touch, catch or hold them with out damaging their relationship with me even further. Then, just when it seemed nothing could get harder, Daisy then started to scratch and scratch and scratch herself. It started in a tiny area above her eyes. She needed treatment immediately. So she had to be cornered and trapped and taken in the car to the vets. But she responded to none of the treatment they gave her. She got worse and worse and scratched herself with her claws until the fur was gone and nothing but raw, bloody skin was left. When the medicine did not work, the vets suggested that Daisy was unhappy with being at my house and should be re-homed. It was a tough time for us all.
She could not sleep or rest and eventually ripped almost all the fur off her back as well. then she began to give up hope and slept in her litter tray. I contacted Heathcliff at the Cats Action Trust in tears. He asked for a photo and acted upon it immediately. He said “Daisy is giving up”. and he set about making an appointment for Daisy to see the top Veterinary Dermatologist in the next city. Daisy, the expert concluded, had allergies and this caused itching so bad that she was driven to tear herself to bits. He said she was the worst case he had ever seen in 25 years of practice. He suggested giving her Piriton, a antihistamine and special food and biscuits incase she was allergic to something she was eating. Watching her suffer was unbearably painful. Meantime Dora seemed very fragile and thin as well. Was I going to be able to help these two dear little cats?
Yet by Christmas 2016 they were both sitting on my knee every evening. It was such a blessed gift to me. I still could not pick them up but they chose night after night to spend time with me whilst being totally intertwined with each other. I was in heaven.
But tragically, just as I was getting somewhere with them both. Dora suddenly died of heart failure on Mothers Day, Sunday 26th March last year. She had not even been with me for a year.
She was the most beautiful cat and one who lit up every room she came into. And sadly, the only time that I was able to pick her up was the night before she died when she was feeling so poorly.
Daisy is much better now, for I found a vet to help her. She has to have a steroid injection every few months which helps to control her desire to scratch and her fur has grown back. But it is impossible to know what she is allergic to.
The day before Dora died Daisy ‘spoke’ to me with a meow as I passed her by and this was the beginning of her interacting with me and allowing me to stroke her. Something in her altered when Dora died. She became quite kitten like, as though a burden had been lifted from her shoulders. For it was always Daisy who groomed and cared for Dora, never the other way around.
It has been such a time of heartache and yet great achievement. Many people who saw Daisy when she was so poorly commented that I should have had her put to sleep. Well I did not and look at her now!
Daisy has many favourite pastimes and hobbies including sleeping on my best duvet, sitting on my knee in front of the fire. But her very favourite thing is…..pony riding!