This is Buddy, the Caring Hearts Rescue Cat. Buddy is a street wise old warrior with a huge spirit. He has had many names in his long difficult life. Once upon a time, he may have been called ’Lil Man’ or “Sweetie” by loving owners. But then, as he got older, his family started letting him outside, just for an hour or two, because “cats need some freedom” after all. And before long, he was roaming farther and farther from home, and he became known as “Missing Cat!” on posters taped throughout his neighbourhood. Soon, his old name was forgotten and he became ‘Stray’, as he roamed the streets at night, fighting and reproducing and searching for food and a place to stay warm on frigid winter nights.
Although a life on the streets made him skittish and wary of strangers, a part of him retained his attachment to humans and he found allies who began to leave out food and water for him, and provide shelter to keep him warm and dry. Without them, this former pet would never have survived. Many cats like Buddy end up dead on the side of the road after only a short time as a stray.
Buddy’s human caregivers named him White Sox for his distinctive white paws. Several families kept an eye for him for many years, at least 10 by their estimation, doing their best to help him survive the many perils faced by lost or unwanted cats. However, life on the streets was taking its toil and Buddy began to show it through the battle wounds he carried.
On January 15th, Buddy was caught by one of his human friends who could see the battered stray was in desperate need of medical attention. Buddy was picked up by Caring Hearts Cat Rescue volunteers and immediately brought to Highview Animal Clinic. While desperately afraid and in severe pain, Buddy allowed his rescuers to help him.
Unfortunately, the news from the clinic wasn’t good. Buddy’s right eye was terribly infected and beyond saving. He also tested positive for FIV (Feline immunodeficiency virus). Despite his diagnosis, Caring Hearts and the medical team at Highview felt he deserved a chance. After all, isn’t that what rescue is all about?
Buddy’s condition was very poor and he needed intensive veterinary care. Despite not knowing whether he could survive the operation, his eye was removed and he was neutered. His strong spirit saw him through his operation and a few days later he was moved to a loving Caring Hearts foster home, where he is once again receiving the care and attention he’s been missing for so long. Buddy may only have days or weeks left to live. No one really knows at this point. However, it is Caring Hearts hope that Buddy’s story can help make people aware of the heartbreaking reality of cat rescue.
Caring Hearts strive to educate the public on the need to spay and neuter and promote responsible pet ownership. Their vision is to reduce the number of homeless and abandoned cats, including feral cats, by providing them with a safe, warm and loving home in their two sanctuaries and in foster homes.
Please help Caring Hearts continue their mission. Ways you can help. Never allow your cat to roam freely outside. Keep them indoors or safely contained/supervised outdoors for short periods. It is illegal to allow your cat to roam freely.
- If you see a cat roaming outside in this frigid winter weather, step up and try to help. If you can catch the cat, bring him in from the cold and call City of Thunder Bay Animal Services or reach out to a local rescue like Caring Hearts. If the cat is afraid or feral, provide outdoor shelter. There are many plans available for building outdoor cat shelters.
- Spay/neuter your cat. Thunder Bay now has a low cost Spay/Neuter clinic run by the Thunder Bay Humane Society.
- Do not allow your cat to have ‘just one litter”. There are far too many unwanted cats in our city. If you love animals, please don’t contribute to the growing problem. Caring Hearts rescues and rehomes hundreds of cats each year. Many end up living in their sanctuaries because they carry transmittable diseases or are too feral to be adopted out.
- Please consider adopting from a rescue, or if you are unable to adopt, become a foster, a volunteer or a donor. Caring Hearts receives no municipal or government funding. The dedicated volunteers are not paid. They give freely of their time and their own money to help lost or unwanted cats like Buddy get a second chance.