THE THIRD SAVE OF CHRISTMAS: DUDLEY
Dudley was brought into a shelter by a woman and her adult daughter. The mom said the cat’s name was Mittens. He had been the daughter’s cat, but she had grown up and no longer wanted him. Neither did she. They signed him over and, according to the shelter worker, very matter-of-factly asked that the shelter immediately euthanize him. The shelter refused this nasty request but knew that they could also not put “Mittens” up for adoption, because to be adoptable by a shelter, a cat needs to be in perfect health, and this one 1) was in need of a dental and 2) had a lump, possibly a tumor, the size of a kidney bean on his back. That’s how he ended up on the Needs Rescue list that goes out by email every morning and night to accepted rescues.
What an appealing face he had, with his crumpled flat ears and deep green eyes. He looked like a Scottish Fold, but as we later said in his bio, it was more likely untreated ear infections during kittenhood that resulted in his cute, Scottish Fold look. Regardless, he was irresistible. I hurried to the shelter to get him before his time ran out. At the shelter it was easy to guess why he’d been named “Mittens”. Look at those polydactyl feet!
“Mittens” looked more like a “Dudley” to me, so I discarded that old name as part of the unhappy life that Dudley was escaping. How long had he sensed that he was no longer wanted? In any case, he was a mess when he arrived in rescue. He was filthy, his mouth was painful, quite a few of his claws had grown up into the pads of his feet, and his coat was dull. As for his mood, he was polite but understandably glum. With help from a shelter grant, we had his dental done, removing many diseased teeth. At the same time we had his lump removed and were relieved to learn that it was just a fatty cyst. We bathed him, brushed him, gave him great food, and tended to the toes that had been wounded by those overgrown claws.
Soon everyone fell in love with the funny character Dudley turned out to be. When you’re doing dishes or otherwise inaccessible, this lazy guy is happy to hang out with his feline friends, but when you’re sitting down, there he is with his dog-like little face, ready to butt his head into yours. All the time.
Everyone wanted to take him home, but only one family would get the chance. One day, I got an email from a woman in her forties who works at home. The email said that the woman and her husband had seen Dudley on our website and fallen in love with him at first sight. “He may not be a Fold, you know”, we pointed out. “Oh, we don’t care”, they said. “He is wonderful, whatever he is”–which was of course true. It proved to be a great match, and home he went.
Now this affable guy who, a few months ago, was unwanted and forlorn is this childless couple’s little treasure. How gratifying to see him in a home that will love him forever. A place where he belongs.