Terry came into our care a few months ago, and has walked straight into everyone’s hearts.
This is the second ginger Terry to come our way – Terry (I) was a long-term resident who passed only a few years ago; he was one of those ferals who became half-way tame in his last years. Terry (II) came to us a couple of months ago as one of many cats who arrived with us because the place he was living couldn’t manage his problems any longer. With some cats, like Ollie, peeing problems occurred because that’s what Ollie wanted to do; with other cats, the peeing is symptomatic of a stress situation at home – a new baby, a barking dog, loud arguments… Terry’s problem is entirely involuntary: he was hit by a car several years ago. For whatever reason, his injury was not treated properly and his pelvis and legs “healed” in a twisted position that left them entirely stiff. Not surprisingly, he has no control over his bladder and bowels.
I talked to Leslie about him and discovered that Terry is actually an immigrant! He was picked up following his accident on a road in some middle eastern country – Leslie wasn’t sure where. His owner had him for some years, but when she moved, her partner said “Him or me!” She was obviously concerned that surrendering him to a regular shelter would mean he would be put down, and she found a private shelter that was willing to take him on. The shelter had him well vet-checked and was told that there was nothing to be done now in the way of rehab or corrective surgery. He was much loved there, but living with a cat that has no control is very hard on a home. So Terry came to us.
For the first while he lived in a cage in the SingleWide. Immediately he endeared himself to all his visitors, enjoying attention from humans (in his cage) and from cats (sniffing through the mesh).
Because of his disability he was set up with a small staircase so he could access the upper level as well as the floor. It’s astonishing to watch him climb – he obviously has developed front-body strength, and effectively he walks on his front paws, using his back legs just to help balance.
It was decided that he would probably do better where he had more space to roam; the Single-Wide is limited in area, and though it appeared that the other cats were going to accept him, it would be very difficult for him to get away if another cat took against him. He was relocated to the Double-Wide, and then released, under a degree of cautious supervision.
Terry loved being out again. He has no fear of exploring, and can be found roaming the back pens quite happily.
Our concern for the behaviour of other cats was, to some extent, justified. Cats, like people, are not always kind to those who are disabled or different in any way. However, Terry is not afraid of a scrap and is quite ready to defend himself! Unfortunately, two other recent newcomers – Licorice and Digby – seem to have taken him in dislike, and Terry is usually caged at night for his own safety. Currently he’s recovering from an injury inflicted by Licorice; as a recently-neutered male, the latter is probably reacting to the smell of Terry’s pee, which he perceives as a territorial challenge.
Terry is getting lots of love and attention from the med staff and from the Kitty Comforters – but he’s obviously longing to be out and about the back pens again, or mountaineering his way to the top of the cages.
Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Melanie Draper, Jenny Reid, Debbie Wolanski, Michele Wright