Daisy-Mae and Dora-Bella
I have loved (and lost) so many cats. My last cat, Josef, died in 2015 only a short time after the death of his brother, Ossie and my beloved cat, Otto. Josef’s leaving was just one loss too many and I stopped writing on my blog. This is the story of the two rescue cats who I gave a home to soon after Josef died.
Dora and Daisy had been homeless and had known very hard times. They only survived at all because of the work of The Cats Action Trust. This charity rescues and saves feral cats which other charities will not take. Dora was completely feral. It is said that her exquisite beauty came about by chance when a top breeder of Rag Doll cats moved away from Cornwall leaving the male cat behind to breed with all the stray cats in the area! Her striking blue eyes and pretty markings helped to save her life the first time when a farmers wife saw that some one had kicked her eye, took pity on her and took her to the vets. Dora’s life was saved a second time at the surgery when the vet there decided she was not worth operating on and had the syringe ready to put her to sleep, but his conscience stopped him at the last moment. Heathcliff, who works for the charity happened to be in the waiting room and when asked he said at once,” I will take her’.
I can only guess at Daisy’s experiences. Found emaciated and half starved she must have felt so frightened to be suddenly fending for herself on the street. For Daisy had been a domestic pet and had once had a home. Dora and Daisy bonded in their foster home and became inseparable as Daisy helped to care for Dora after the surgery to remove her eye.
But still no one would take them on because they were totally traumatised and timid.
For Dora and Daisy coming to me in April 2016 was just another upheaval which they had to endure. These terrified cats hid for weeks in my house and could not feel the love I had for them. It was a very difficult for months and I really was not getting anywhere. They both needed medical attention for various issues and I could not touch, catch or hold them with out damaging their relationship with me even further. Then, just when it seemed nothing could get harder, Daisy then started to scratch and scratch and scratch herself. It started in a tiny area above her eyes. She needed treatment immediately. So she had to be cornered and trapped and taken in the car to the vets. But she responded to none of the treatment they gave her. She got worse and worse and scratched herself with her claws until the fur was gone and nothing but raw, bloody skin was left. When the medicine did not work, the vets suggested that Daisy was unhappy with being at my house and should be re-homed. It was a tough time for us all.
She could not sleep or rest and eventually ripped almost all the fur off her back as well. then she began to give up hope and slept in her litter tray. I contacted Heathcliff at the Cats Action Trust in tears. He asked for a photo and acted upon it immediately. He said “Daisy is giving up”. and he set about making an appointment for Daisy to see the top Veterinary Dermatologist in the next city. Daisy, the expert concluded, had allergies and this caused itching so bad that she was driven to tear herself to bits. He said she was the worst case he had ever seen in 25 years of practice. He suggested giving her Piriton, a antihistamine and special food and biscuits incase she was allergic to something she was eating. Watching her suffer was unbearably painful. Meantime Dora seemed very fragile and thin as well. Was I going to be able to help these two dear little cats?
Yet by Christmas 2016 they were both sitting on my knee every evening. It was such a blessed gift to me. I still could not pick them up but they chose night after night to spend time with me whilst being totally intertwined with each other. I was in heaven.
But tragically, just as I was getting somewhere with them both. Dora suddenly died of heart failure on Mothers Day, Sunday 26th March last year. She had not even been with me for a year.
She was the most beautiful cat and one who lit up every room she came into. And sadly, the only time that I was able to pick her up was the night before she died when she was feeling so poorly.
Daisy is much better now, for I found a vet to help her. She has to have a steroid injection every few months which helps to control her desire to scratch and her fur has grown back. But it is impossible to know what she is allergic to.
The day before Dora died Daisy ‘spoke’ to me with a meow as I passed her by and this was the beginning of her interacting with me and allowing me to stroke her. Something in her altered when Dora died. She became quite kitten like, as though a burden had been lifted from her shoulders. For it was always Daisy who groomed and cared for Dora, never the other way around.
It has been such a time of heartache and yet great achievement. Many people who saw Daisy when she was so poorly commented that I should have had her put to sleep. Well I did not and look at her now!
Daisy has many favourite pastimes and hobbies including sleeping on my best duvet, sitting on my knee in front of the fire. But her very favourite thing is…..pony riding!
lovely to have you back..blogging…have missed you !
Thank you so much Melody ! I hear wonderful things about your sewing via Jo Gilbert .
Hello! Was thinking you’d stopped blogging for good. Great to see you back.
Did you know Mr Hicks had a hideous dust allergy and used to rip the fur off his back and had terrible scaring under his fur? Took us several us years to get on top of it and then it was high maintenance and, although we were ‘on top of it’, he did still had horrible septic eruptions from time to time. Wish I’d know about Daisy, I’d have been one of the ones cheering you on to hang on in there. So glad you did 🙂
Thank you so much for your message. I wish you had known about Daisy too. It would have been great to have had your input. Daisy would have died if I had not found the right help. It was terrible to see her rip all fur and skin off to try and relieve her discomfort. Dear Daisy….she is very busy these days monitoring the mice who dare to come into the house! It’s a big job and takes all day 😸
Jeez, Karen–I am so happy to have you back . . . and yet I’m crying. Those poor beautiful cats! And poor beautiful you–you’ve been through so much, too. Dora knew she she was loved . . . i’m sure of it. And Daisy– what a tough girl she is! I’m happy for the at-least-partly-happy ending and I think you’re amazing!
Hello! I feel so fortunate that you have remembered me and are so pleased that I am back. Thank you.
I reached a point where the losses were all too much and I felt too old to recover. I still am too old! But with Daisy’s recovery is coming a more harmonious time.
I have another little story to tell. It is the story of Harry. Because the cat charity felt concern for me struggling with Daisy and Dora, they gave me lovable, cuddly, easy going Harry. He had come from the same foster home as the other two so they were already friends. But of course, due to ill treatment he too has been in the wars. So I now have Daisy and Harry.
But most importantly, how is Gigi? I can’t wait to catch up with the news on your blog.
Oh, I’m glad you have Harry, too–I can’t imagine you with only one cat and Daisy needed a friend, too, after all she has been through! Gigi is fine! She’s all grown up and likes food better than anything so she’s really too plump. Unlike your cats, she’s never had a scary, painful day in her life . . . lucky girl.
Dear Karen, what a sad but still nice story. Dora really was a beauty and she was very unlucky in her life that people treated her so badly. You have tried your best to love and help her, but maybe her heart was broken too much. Fortunately, you could help Daisy to recover from her itching. All the best for you and your cats, Mitza
My Dear Mitza. How lovely to hear from you! Of course I know that no one empathises with the pain which cruelly treated or neglected cats suffer more than you.
I did my very best for Dora and I really must learn that the suffering which these stray cats have experienced does so badly alter their life expectancy.
I am possibly the best person to care for the damaged ones and yet the worst person to be able to deal with their departure.
My love to you and I will be catching up with your news soon when I visit your blog. X X
Welcome back! I quite understand why you haven’t been blogging – what a time you’ve had of it. What a wonderful life you gave Dora for her albeit short-time with you, knowing she was loved and wanted means so much to any of us. Wishing you many happy memories with your pony-riding Daisy – it appears her cheeky side is only just unfolding.😁
Hello Joanne! Thank you so much for welcoming me back. It means a lot.
You are right about Daisy, she is enjoying life so much more. I don’t know what kind of deal was made between her and Dora in the foster home, but Daisy took her care of Dora very seriously. Now it is her time to play.
Maybe that could be a lesson to us all?
I’m glad to see you are back, Karen, I’ve missed you! Although Dora’s story was sad, you gave her love and security during the time she had. And what a remarkable turnaround in Daisy’s health and friendliness! I have seen both ferals and/or cats who have been outside a long time slowly come around, hiding at first, then gradually allowing contact.
I can’t wait to catch up with your news! And bless you for missing me. It is lovely to see how loyal my blogging friends have been to me.
I also care for a stray cat who lives in my greenhouse. He is not able to show affection so when he wants food he swipes me round the legs with his paws 😺. But recently I have been putting a special pet hot water bottle in his bed…all day! He luxuriates on his bed now, just loving the warmth and comfort. It gives me so much happiness to see him so at peace and having a treat. Life is so hard for all those stray cats out there. X
So many animals, birds need help because of what humans have done. Beautiful that you took them in and cared for them. It does wrench the soul when they leave. Be well….both of you.
Hello Gretchen. Thank you so much for your message. I would like to help so many more cats, but because they are territorial it is often cruel to place them amongst others who they are fearful of.
I care for cats indoors and out…..but it is never enough.
I am so looking forward to catching up with your beautiful blog. X
Oh, what a remarkable post, Karen. You, I know, have been loving to your two companions, and you gave them the best life possible. My condolences on the loss of Dora — how painful for you. But how lovely also to see Daisy thriving. Wonderful. Welcome back, Karen.
Hello Cynthia. Thank you so much for your fabulous welcome! I can’t wait to see what you have been up to. I know that you will be taking me down the meandering path of your life story and filling me with the joy of living seen from your creative perspective. Here’s to the next stage of our journey😃
I missed you a lot, dear Karen!
My Zoey the Cool Cat scratched herself bloody and raw when I first got her. The vet said she has “extraordinarily dry skin” and recommended that I give her a bath semi-annually, or earlier if she started scratching badly. He recommended a special cat moisturizing shampoo. It worked. She now gets a semi-annual bath. I have had no problems in the ensuing ten years.
As an aside, the first time I gave her a bath, it was a hot sunny day in San Diego. My doors and windows were open. She howled and howled like it was the last day on Earth. About 5 minutes after finishing the bath and drying her off, two police cars with four officers showed up. A neighbor had reported the howling, thinking it was child or animal abuse. I brought Zoey the Cool Cat out to show them. She was still damp. One officer laughed and said, “Been there, done that.”
Wow! So Zoey the Cool Cat had problems too! I am so pleased to hear that a solution was found for her as well.
I have to tell you that you made me laugh out loud with your story about the police being called 😻. That is soooo funny! Although it did make me think that it must be far easier for people to get away with bad things when they live in a rural community. I live on Dartmoor and although I live in a village the houses are set quite far apart.
I do hope that your neighbours are now aware when it is Zoey the Cool Cat’s bathtime.
A lovely post to begin the New Year with! I missed you heaps!
You have lovely cats too! 🙂 A lovely post!
Missed you too Sophie. Love all your enthusiasm for growing and cooking😀