The First Save of Christmas 2017: The Sphynx Sisters
Foster moms and dads are, as we often say, the backbone of our rescue, but if that is true, our transport volunteers are the legs—those hardy individuals who drive to pick up cats from all over our territory (which includes parts of California, Nevada, and Oregon) and deliver them either directly to a foster home or to another volunteer, who will carry the cat on the next leg of the journey. Our transport volunteers are never the people lavished with praise by our adopters, but they are often the first rescuers to meet and attempt to comfort a frightened cat. This story about our fabulous Sphynx girls, Mary Theresa and Princess, was written party by the volunteers who conveyed that intrepid pair from Reno, NV to their foster home in Elk Grove, near Sacramento, CA.
The First Leg: Reno, NV to Truckee, CA
One day I got a call from a shelter in Nevada. An owner had dropped off two 8-year-old Sphinx kitties because they were moving and could not keep them any more. These beautiful sisters had already been at the shelter for weeks, and several families had been interested, but Sphynxes need special care, especially grooming. Once potential adopters learned about the care these cats would require, they decided not to adopt. So the director at the shelter called me!
I met the girls at the shelter. They were drop dead gorgeous and as sweet as could be. Despite the locale and the fact that I was a stranger, they climbed up on me, purring and wanting love. Of course, we had to take them! My husband and I could not foster them, because we had no space, but another foster mom was ready and willing to take them on. She was in Elk Grove, about 150 miles away.
My husband took the girls to Truckee for the first leg of their journey. When he looked in on them as he prepared for the trip, they looked back at him with curiosity, not fear. In fact, during the entire trip they made no sounds of fear; there was just an occasional meow from one of them, as if asking for some attention. When he got to Truckee and met the Transport Coordinator, for the next leg of the trip, he opened the back of the SUV and pulled the cage to the edge of the tailgate.
Our meeting place in Truckee is a gas station located right next to the freeway on and off ramps. There are 8 gas pumps and several parking spaces for propane tanks to be filled nearby. There are diesel trucks, large and small, coming and going almost constantly, with all their attendant diesel noise. At that very moment, a large diesel semi-truck started up nearby. My husband looked at the cats, expecting them to be cowering at the back of the cage, as far from the noise as possible. But all they were doing was looking around and making biscuits on the blanket at the bottom of the cage! Putting his hand near the cage elicited rubbing and paw taps from both cats. They showed no fear whatsoever at all the noise around them and only wanted attention from both humans.
Neither my husband nor the transport coordinator had ever seen cats so unconcerned about strange places and outside noises. The girls were moved, cage and all, to the other SUV for the next leg of the trip. The plan was for them to stay at the transport coordinator’s house for a few hours while waiting for their foster mom to pick them up.
My husband watched them drive away with a small degree of sadness. He had never seen such a loving pair of cats, so calm with so much going on around them.
The Second Leg: Truckee to Elk Grove
Among the rewards of being Transport Coordinator are visiting shelters and their wonderful workers, reassuring people forced to give up little ones whom they love, or just plain rescuing a sad, frightened, disheveled kitty who has reached a no hope situation. It is always a pleasure to meet fellow volunteers on a transportation route; in this case, the goal was to get these two Sphynxes from the beautiful Donner Lake area to their new foster home in Elk Grove. I suppose I have transported hundreds of cats, but I knew this particular pair might be special. Without hair, they would need protection from drafts, and they might be sensitive to startling changes of light, noise, et cetera. So I had some apprehensions and had spoken with the other transporters in advance to be prepared for this eventuality
Haa! The joke was on us. Never had I seen such a pair. These two were so relaxed and curious about what was going on. Clearly, they were well socialized and had no fear for their well-being. These two obviously came from a loving home that, through unforeseen circumstances, were taken to the shelter. Now they seemed to be saying, “You guys need get your act together and get us to our foster, or else.” Or in my case, “Why can’t you take us home?” A challenging part of rescue is one sees so many special kitties one would love to adopt.
My wife and I did have the privilege of keeping them for a few hours at our house while we waited for the foster mom to get home from work. I am a huggy cat person. In other words, I want to pick them up and nuzzle my face into them, hoping for cozy fuzzy nuzzles back. Well, these two were awesome loving nuzzlers, but something was wrong! I should have realized that nuzzling a hairless cat is quite a different sensory experience from nuzzling a soft purring fur-ball.
Wow, what an extraordinary pair. They just loved climbing all over me, paddy-paws on my lap, and just lounging. Nothing was out-of-bounds; they just loved listening to all the new sounds and checking everything out. Even in the short time I had with them, it was clear that these were just two precious little beings that bring out the best in any person who encounters them. What a pair of loves!
I, too, felt a big empty space in my heart when I handed them over to their new foster mom. However, it is with joy that I know their future is bright and a wonderful home awaits them.
Grooving in Elk Grove
The new foster mom was ecstatic for the opportunity to care for these cats–Mary Theresa and Princess. These outgoing girls did not know what a stranger was! As soon as the carrier was opened, they came out and wanted love.
During their time in foster care, their foster mom spent a lot of time with them, because they loved her lap, where they would first sit together and then try to crowd each other out. They came running when she approached and were always so glad to see her. They would rub up on her chin, her glasses, pretty much anywhere. They were loves from the beginning.
The one heartbreaking thing was they had each had all four paws declawed. Fortunately, this choice on the part of their former owners seemed more disconcerting to the humans around them than to them. They are just amazing girls who would not know an enemy if they saw one. Utterly trusting and loving, they would rather have affection than food!
Of course, there was a huge amount of interest in them, but finding an appropriate home for a Sphynx cat is not an easy task.
Love at First Sight
Eventually the right home did come along. The girls are now in their forever home with a wonderful couple who have another Sphynx, a younger male named Tobias.
When this couple, Elsie and Brandon, came to meet the girls at their foster home, Mary Theresa quickly jumped on a chair and stretched out to Brandon, rubbing against him and focusing on his beard. She was obviously in love. At the same time, Princess crawled into Elsie’s lap. When all the checks were done and they were approved adopters, we called, and they were so happy Elsie actually started crying. She had been so anxious.
Once the adoption was approved, the foster Mom brought the kitties to their new home. To no one’s surprise, they adapted quickly to their new domain. Not only do they love their new parents, but they enjoy meeting friends and family who visit the home. The couple’s daughters have been visiting more often, and on those occasions, one of the Sphynx girls follows around their grandson around like a puppy dog. The male Sphynx, Tobias, and the girls are now best of friends, or rather, the two girls lavish almost motherly attention on their younger brother. Brandon and Elsie feel like new parents and completely thrilled with this adoption. No doubt this is a perfect fit for all concerned.
Attitude is Everything
Life isn’t always easy, but if one keeps a certain attitude, it is usually interesting, and even a rough patch is easier to endure if one can think of it as merely a passageway to something else. By the time any of us met Mary Theresa and Princess, they had not only been abandoned by their caregivers but had already been in the shelter for five weeks! Yet they kept their eyes, their ears, and their hearts open, and now they are home, with what was undoubtedly an interesting adventure behind them.