Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rescued cats perking up

Submitted by RedRover Responders volunteer Beth Gammie of Tallahassee, Florida

What is the sound of 700 cats purring?  We just might find out as the cats rescued from hoarding conditions perk up under the care of the UAN volunteers  (now known as the RedRover Responders). The effect of a full week of regular care--feeding, watering, clean quarters, medical treatment--shows. 

A kitten imitates King Kong
Volunteers notice the cats' appetites increased, they are more physically active and have brighter eyes. The cats are simply cleaner as they have the energy now to clean up and stay clean. As the cats recover from upper respiratory infections, and as their tiny lungs recover from years of breathing the toxic air in their former home, they are breathing easier. For some, the turnaround is remarkable, as if a switch was turned on. This makes kennel-cleaning an athletic event for volunteers who need to be on their toes to head off energetic escape attempts. 

Singer likes to serenade the volunteers
The healthier cats are beginning to act like, well, cats. Today a kitten climbed up the wire kennel wall and hung there like King Kong on the side of the Empire State Building. Singer, a very vocal kitty, serenades any person who ventures into his area of the shelter. Cats snooze in hammocks made by volunteers, while others curl up with their kennel mate. 

However, for many other cats, the road to recovery is longer. Years of untreated infection, illness and injury have caused serious medical problems. Laura Anderson, DVM, from the University of Florida's shelter medicine program said, "I'm surprised by how many ruptured eyeballs I'm seeing due to lack of treatment" for eye infections.  

Possum is blind due to an
untreated eye infection
Possum, a volunteer favorite, is one of these cats who is blind due to an untreated eye infection. His equanimity and affectionate nature have made this guy a favorite with volunteers and vets alike.

Possum illustrates the danger for hoarded animals. Once an animal becomes sick or injured in this environment of neglect, he or she is out of luck. There will be no trips to the vet, no medicine, no treatment. There is no good end for a sick animal in this environment: terminal diseases lead to drawn-out suffering, and treatable conditions morph into terminal ones. 

The massive effort underway to care for all the rescued cats and kittens is paying off--many are perking up, showing more energy, and coming back to life. Every volunteer is grateful that Alachua County Animal Services took action to investigate this case, reaching out, and giving the RedRover Responders a chance to give all these cats the love and care they deserve.


  1. How can I adopt Singer and Possum?

  2. Possum is Helen, one and the same featured cat in the Haven Acres adoption spot in the March 2011 Gainesville Critter Magazine. Her blindness was not a result of hoarding or animal cruelty. An Orlando rescue group was unable to adopt her out. Here are the specifics, per the Critter Magazine adoption spot on page 21 of the March 2011 edition: HELEN was found as a baby with extremely infected eyes. Her rescuer took her to vet but it was too late. She is blind in one eye and has only limited sight in the other. She doesn’t let that stop her, though, she is a real live-wire! She is about 8-months old and will need a special home with someone who won’t miss her baby blues - and who will appreciate everything she has overcome.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.