Over 7 million animals are in shelters in the U.S., with around 3.4 million of them being cats. A lot of them end up there because people are no longer able to care for them for financial reasons, changes in circumstances, or an illness meaning they can’t continue to have an animal in the house. In fact, before heading out to the pet store, a brilliant place to search for a new pet for your family is at the local shelter. Not only do you know what the animal will turn out like (as most of them are already mature), but you will also be giving them the loving home they have always dreamed about. Over 40% of Americans own a pet, with nearly half of those people owning a cat themselves. Whether you have one, two, or a hundred pets, there is nothing quite like the love an animal can give you.
Cats are brilliant creatures. They have given us some excellent memes over the years, as well as provided us with plenty of entertainment – we mean, have you ever tried to watch a feline climb into a tiny cardboard box? Not only this, but cats are brilliant at looking after themselves compared to their dog counterparts. Cats are incredibly beneficial to anyone of any age, but when it comes to having a pet as an elder, there can be a whole load more reasons as to why you should be welcoming a furry friend into your life. If the person lives on their own, or is looking for an excuse to remain active in later life, then adopting a pet can be a brilliant way to tackle both issues.
Sadly, when it comes to a senior owning a pet, there can often be added complications when it comes to their care. Extra arrangements also need to be made in case something means that the owner is no longer there to look after their pet. For Paul Russell and his wife, they discovered the damage that can be done from owning a pet while you are not fully able to care for them. On a routine visit to check over the house of a distant relative, Paul uncovered something, unlike anything he had ever seen. The sight left him absolutely terrified, but curiosity got the better of him. Venturing back into the uninhibited home gave Paul the biggest shock that would change his life forever…
Calling in for a checkup
It was just another day for Paul Russell when he decided to check in on one of his elderly relatives. However, Paul never imagined just what he’d be walking into when he opened the door. A creature straight from an extraterrestrial movie emerged from the shadows; Paul was left in a state of shock. He couldn’t understand what the little being could be as it didn’t look like anything he’d ever seen before. When he discovered the truth, Paul thought the doctors were mad.
In need of help
Sadly, Paul’s 82-year-old relative had been the one living in the house before his Alzheimer’s became too much. Previously Paul’s relation had been able to care for himself, but now his family believed it was best that he move to a nursing home that was closer to them allowing more frequent family visits. Little did the family know that by moving their relative out of his house, they would start an incredible chain reaction of some very unpredictable events.
No pets allowed
The nursing home that Paul’s relative moved to had a very strict rule: no pets allowed at any time. Being left behind was his beloved 17-year-old Siam the Siamese cat. Paul couldn’t see the poor animal suffer with no one at home to care for him, so he and his wife decided to take on the pet as one of their own. The two had always been animal lovers so adding one more cat to the family wasn’t an issue. However, there was another creature lurking around that may need some love of its own…
The struggle for care
Many doctors have concluded that owning a pet in later life can help to keep your blood pressure low as well as keeping stress to a minimum. Sadly though there are problems that can come with the elderly owning pets. Sometimes people can begin to struggle with looking after themselves before even having time to consider their pet’s well-being. Dogs can become hostile if they no longer go out to get the enrichment they need, while cats can have an issue with obesity.
Paul’s relative had not only grown unable to care for himself, but he was in no state to be able to look after his animals properly either. The house had gradually deteriorated over the years, while Siam had begun to suffer from health issues. It was when Paul decided to check in on his new cat friend that the discovery was made. Walking inside, Paul expected things to be a little out of order but never did he imagine what he was about to see.
Paul carefully opened the door to uncover the scene that looked as though it was straight from a hoarding programme with the boxes piled high to the ceiling, and years of junk in every room. It seemed as though nobody had been in here for years. However, there was another clue on the walls – tiny scratches. Paul searched and searched, but he couldn’t find Siam anywhere. If no one had been to the house, where could poor Siam possibly be?
Temptation of food
In a bid to lure Siam out of his hiding place, Paul filled the cat’s bowl with food to tempt him out into the open. Paul was left confused. After being alone for so long, the cat was still nowhere to be seen, even with a bowl full of grub. Paul began frantically calling Siam’s name, but he couldn’t see any sign of him. Pulling the years of junk out the way, the search for his friend began. It was a nightmare even trying to see the floor let alone a cat, but Paul started to hear some noises. Some very animal-like noises.
Paul searched through boxes upon boxes in the hope that Siam had curled up in one of the cardboard hideouts to keep safe. However, it wasn’t until he went into the bathroom that Siam was discovered curled up in the tub. The poor cat was starving. Paul had no idea when he had last been given a proper meal so set about deciding what he was going to do in the meantime. It was then that Paul heard a noise. A noise from somewhere in the house. A noise that scared him to his soul.
Braving the cellar
From somewhere in the house Paul heard the low grumblings of a growl. But where was the noise coming from? And if Siam was with Paul, then what could possibly be making the noise? Paul assumed that it must be a raccoon or another wild animal that had made the deserted house its home. He isolated the sound to the cellar which would explain what caused Siam to hide in the bathroom. Paul took a breath, calmed his nerves, and began the descent down to the basement.
Walking into the dark
Perhaps there was a reason Paul had always got along so well with felines; they both had the same level of curiosity. Just like something out of a horror movie, an enormous creature ran out from underneath one of the beds and quickly darted down the stairs that led to the cellar. Paul didn’t hang around to find out what was going on. As soon as he saw the movement, Paul was out the house. He needed to discover what had run through the house, but Paul was left shaking from the experience.
Paul didn’t know what to make of the creature he had just witnessed. What could it possibly be? Perhaps something had got caught up underneath a blanket and was running blind? Or maybe there was a mutant that had evolved in the house? The following day Paul had mustered up the courage to venture into the cellar. Flashlight in hand, the brave Paul took one step at a time until he spotted her. The poor cat in the corner. Paul grabbed his wife, Jill, and the pair rushed straight to the vets.
Paul decided to give the little girl a name, Hidey, after she had been able to hide away for so long. It transpired that Paul’s relative had completely forgotten he even had Hidey. She had gained too much weight for her to be able to groom herself which meant the extra hair had begun to mat. With no way of getting to it, Hidey’s fur continued to grow in great big matted clumps until she was weighed down by several pounds of it. The vets had to think of a way to get all the fur off, and fast.
Everyone at the veterinary clinic was left in a state of shock at the poor cat they had to deal with. No one there had ever seen any animal like it before in their lives. They quickly searched online to find any stories that may help guide them what to do, but there was nothing like it. They decided the only thing to do what to shave the dreadlocks off. Everyone on the team knew that they couldn’t make a single mistake. Hidey was knocked out, and the team set to work.
Releasing the inner cat
The team shared their success story on their Facebook page. They had managed to uncover the true Hidey that had been trapped underneath all her fur for so long. All in all the vets managed to remove two pounds of hair from the little cat! Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only issue for Hidey; she was hugely overweight. And this tubby feline was now left homeless. Everyone had fallen in love with her after such an ordeal, and she just wanted a place to call home.
A new family
However, Hidey wasn’t left without a home for long. Her saviors, Paul, and his wife were there to collect their little companion as soon as she was able to come home. After believing they would be bringing one cat home, the couple now had two new felines to add to their two dogs and three cat family. Paul has said that Hidey still hasn’t come out of herself, but she is much happier without all her hair dragging her down. Hopefully, it won’t be long until she realizes there is a home for life with her new adoptees! But would Hidey be able to trust a human ever again?
Life without the fur
Hidey had been through years of torment before she found herself in the arms of Paul and his family. Initially, Hidey had been keeping herself under the bed until Paul lifted her out from underneath. He spent time getting Hidey used to being handled by people and even started to enjoy it if the purring was anything to go by! A few days later and Hidey was coming out into the world all by herself. In fact, she even started to use her dedicated cat bed to sleep.
Helping those in need
The Animal Rescue League Shelter has advised anyone with elderly neighbors or relatives that own a pet should check in with them regularly to ensure the animals are being looked after properly. They have said how when the person’s health begins to decline it is especially important to check in on how they are doing. Finally, the shelter has said that they will never turn a pet away if the family has no other choice than to put them up for adoption.
Coming out of her shell
While Hidey may still be recovering from her life in the hoarder house, she is slowly getting used to the idea of being handled – even if she appears to be still standoffish with her new family. Paul’s wife, Jill, has spoken how she thinks in just six months they will have a completely different cat on their hands, even one that takes the top spot over all the other animals. Hopefully, next year Hidey will be able to start enjoying her new life with her new, loving family.