Monday, July 20, 2015

An open letter to my rescue cat's first family (thank you!)

Black cat in a bright patch of sunshine
Let's face it: A lot of the things we see on social media sites are pretty darn depressing. There's one type of post in particular that gets me to weeping every single time. I call this the "open letter to a jerk" post. Here, people write up notes about the pets they've rescued and how wonderful they are, while deriding the original owner for abandoning the pet. (Here's just one example.)

Today, I want to do something different.

This is an open letter to the family that once had my rescue cat, Troy. But I don't want to berate them. I want to thank them. So here goes.

Hello, family!

I want you to know that Troy (or whatever his name was when you had him) is safe, happy and loved in a brand-new home. And I want to thank you for doing a lot of things right with this old guy.

Black cat curled up and sleeping
I volunteer at the local humane society, and I see a lot of cats like Troy that come in as strays. Often, they're thin and starved for attention. Troy was certainly both of those things. But he also seems to trust almost every single human being he meets, and he looks to humans to solve the problems he faces. He loved all of the volunteers he met while he was at the shelter, and now, he's the first cat to meet people who come to my house for a visit.

This kind of openness seems to suggest that your family loved him deeply, and you taught him to trust humans of all shapes and sizes. That's such a gift, both for me and for him. We started our relationship from a place of trust, and that made integrating him into my family so much easier.

Black cat looking at the camera while lying in the sunshine
I wish I knew how old Troy actually is, but since Troy can't talk and he didn't come with paperwork, I have to make guesses. At the moment, my veterinarian estimates that he's at least 10, but he could be as old as 15 (or more!). Despite his age, he doesn't have kidney problems, liver problems or heart troubles. He's not obese, and he came with a pretty coat that continues to fill in. Thank you for taking such good care of him for most of his life, so he could avoid so many of the illnesses that plague older cats. I'm hoping that means he'll stay with me a little longer.

Troy is fitting in here nicely, mainly because he has excellent pet manners. He knows how to greet other cats, and he's even become accustomed to living with dogs (after a period of adjustment). Thank you for introducing him to new animals and new situations so he can be integrated into new homes. If you hadn't done that work, it would be harder for me to make him a part of my family.

Did you feed him human food, by the way? I'll bet that you did. Troy is a notoriously picky eater that absolutely refuses to eat many different types of cat food, although he'll come running for both bacon and corn chips. He also likes to sit on the dining room chairs while we eat, and he always seems to expect a bite or two (which he doesn't get). I'll thank you for this, because it allows me to do things like the "What will Troy eat" challenge I'm doing with Weruva.

Hey, if you come back later this week, I'm even having a contest about that, so you can win cat food for the pets you might have now!
Closeup of cat feet after declaw surgery
And that brings me to my last point. If you do have cats, please don't do this to them again.

I know when you had Troy declawed, you probably thought it was a good decision. You may have had a veterinarian tell you that it was a smart thing to do. But Troy struggles with his mutilated feet. I don't know if you saw this, but he has trouble walking well. He has arthritis, because his gait is askew. His body just doesn't work like it should, because you lopped off the end of his toes. And when he got out of your house and became a stray, he had no weapons. He made it, but I don't know how.

So I have so much to thank you for. And I do thank you. But please. Don't do this to another cat, okay? Just don't.

So that's my letter!

Anyone have anything to add? I, of course, have no idea who to send this to. Troy was a stray that was brought in by good Samaritans, so we have no way of knowing who his owners are. And he was at the shelter for some 2-3 months without anyone coming to get him, so maybe he didn't slip out as much as get booted. But maybe the family will see this, at some point. Share your thoughts, won't you?

And do come back later this week for the Weruva contest and the results of the "What will Troy eat" challenge!


  1. What a touching letter. It's true, sometimes we don't appreciate the good side of what the earlier homes our cats have had must have offered them... and we are quick to blame them for things that they probably did in to them out of ignorance. We hope that Troy's family, wherever they are, help their next cat to become well-adjusted and happy. Troy sounds like a wonderful kitty who has a great forever home with you now.

    1. Thanks for the comment! It means a lot.