Feral Paws Rescue: Senior Bailey

 by Paula Hunsaker

I will begin this story with the dumping of a senior cat at a high-kill shelter. It is so very wrong to dump them at a high-kill shelter after years of love to their family that they grew old with. Life is already so short, and many senior cats dumped at high-kill shelters go through extreme grief, confusion, and depression. This is just so very sad.

When I personally see a senior at a high-kill shelter their real hope is if a rescue will step up for them. Time is so short for a surrendered cat at a kill shelter. They just don’t stand a chance in making it out alive. It just rips my heart out seeing them in the back of their cold metal kennel scared and feeling so lost, and they just can’t understand what they did wrong to get put in this cold place, far from their warm bed they once had at the home they grew old at. What happened to the family they gave so much love to? Why did they leave them alone at this ugly place with the smell of death all around them, hearing cries from other cats being pulled from their kennels and taken to be euthanized? 

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I personally, being a rescue and helping as much as I can to save lives at a kill shelter, can’t wrap my feelings around why this continues to happen. We should hold on to every second we have still on this earth with our loving pet that has given us so much joy over their life with our family. It’s the laughs and the joys they have given our family over the years. But we can be so heartless and cold and dump them to die at a kill shelter in just a few days? What is wrong with humans? What happens to a pet being family for life? Through the good and bad times? To do such a thing has to be the most heartless person on this earth!

Bailey was a senior dumped at a kill shelter. We were told about Bailey that wasn’t doing well at the shelter. She is fifteen years old, and her family dumped her! They weren’t even honest at the shelter when they dumped her. The shelter told our rescue that when staff went to clear her kennel, Bailey would hiss and act aggressive towards staff. They didn’t want to take a chance with Bailey, so she was going to be euthanized. I did tag Bailey to come to our rescue. 

When I went to pick up Bailey, the staff at the shelter told me to be careful around her; she is very aggressive toward anyone approaching her. I was told she would hiss, strike at you, and doesn’t want to be picked up. When I got her to the rescue, I found Bailey didn’t like being around other cats. So, we housed her alone to keep an eye on her. Something didn’t seem right with Bailey. I kept watching her and her reactions toward us approaching her. When we approached her and talked to her before reaching out to touch her or pick her up things began to change. If we talked before reaching for her, there was no hissing or aggressive reaction. In fact, it was totally different. She would purr and rub against our hands, allowing us to pick her up. She wasn’t aggressive, and she was truly a loving kitty. 

When I began to examine her, I noticed her eyes didn’t look right. The pupils didn’t look right; they were so big and dark. I took her to our rescue vet and found that Bailey was totally blind! That explained her fear when you approached her and her reaction of being negative toward being approached not knowing who or what was coming at her. I was so angry that the person that dumped her at the shelter never said anything about her being blind, the shelter didn’t notice this about Bailey just labeled her as being aggressive. Bailey would have died at the shelter as being labeled aggressive! But she was just a lovebug once we understood what was going on with her. We took the time to find that out. And we didn’t just rush and say she was aggressive and not adoptable.  

We reached out to a senior on our waiting list for a senior cat to see if anyone wanted to adopt Bailey! With a happy ending for Bailey, she was placed into our senior-to-senior program and will have a wonderful life to live out her years. When cats act out in an aggressive manner, take the time to understand why this is happening. There is always a reason don’t label them as aggressive without taking the time to understand why.

If you’ve a cat who is approaching senior years, please know there are a lot of good articles on the internet to help you and your cat journey through this additional change in your lives together. Pets are for LIFE...they are family, treat them with respect.

Check out the Feral Paws website to learn more about them, and keep an eye on their Facebook Page. They are based in Fresno, CA.

Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section on Kings River Life, and the Pets section here on KRL News & Reviews. Check back every month for another animal rescue adventure from Feral Paws. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to a local animal rescue. We also have a special Facebook Group for our pet articles--join and never miss a pet article.