Hello Cat Emporium friends. Those of you who follow us on social media will know already about Milly. She was left in a box outside the cafe on Sunday 27th Jan with the following note:
We brought her in and Laura helped her out of the box she was in. She'd been left with some food - a cooked chicken leg! - so this is why the letter is a little greasy.
Milly was pretty scared. We set up the isolation room with a number of hide areas made of cardboard boxes and blankets. We included the cardboard box she had been brought in with, in case it smelled like home. Often when cats are suddenly moved, they like to have something that smells familiar and in the past we've found some cats retreat to the safety of their enclosures when they're uncertain.
For two days, Milly wouldn't come out, ate only a little, but when we'd come into the cafe in the morning, we'd find she had chewed at and scratched the box she came in. The first night we thought this might be out of boredom, but the second night we came in and the box was really shredded up and it looked like she'd had a proper go at it. We realised that the box being in the room wasn't giving her comfort, but actually was upsetting her.
We took it out straight away and took the lesson on board that the 'something that smells like home' rule absolutely has exceptions and you have to be aware of the behaviour that occurs when you *aren't* there. Milly had done a very typical cat thing of projecting the trauma of her experience onto the part of her experience she most understood and had most contact with. All she knew was she was in a cold box on a noisy street, so therefore it must be the box's fault that it happened. It's a very cat thing to do.
After the box was gone, Milly became a tiny bit bolder, but still very, very nervous. She has scratched Laura quite badly and we haven't been able to give her a good check over yet. During our first attempt to do a preliminary health check, she panicked and destroyed the cat room. It was such a mess! It seemed unbelievable that one cat could wreak so much havoc, but she managed!
Despite our cat care team being very gentle and extremely skilled at handling cats, Milly was beside herself and there was nothing they could do on the first day but leave her alone with food, water, toilet, beds and warmth.
We'd like to get her to a vet so that they can sedate her for spaying and do all the health checks they need to do safely, but she's not really ready for that and we may set her back further if we push to do this too soon.
The note mentions that Milly has had kittens, and we've found grass in her poo, so she likely was an outdoor cat, which means the isolation room we have may be little better than a box to her. If she's used to roaming, she may not settle with us at all because she's a healthy outdoor cat being held in a little room designed for sick cats.
Milly is likely to be fostered with one of our team in the coming days, if we can get her calm enough to travel. There she'll be able to have a larger and quieter space until she's well enough to have medical care and be re-homed permanently. We think there's a lovely companion inside underneath all the trauma, we just have to give her a little bit of time and some positive reinforcement and try to bring out her best before rehoming her.
If anyone in our community has experience with traumatised cats and is willing to adopt and help Milly even while she's in this state, please do let us know as the less often we move her around, the better it will be for Milly. We'll cover her medical bills before rehoming her, so anyone who adopts her will not need to worry about that. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to talk with Laura or Lauren about this.
Every time we've had an abandoned cat cross our path, many of our friends online offer to help. We also are aware of the free neutering services offered by Cats Protection, but we choose to not burden a charity. We would prefer that their resources and complimentary support services remain available for people who really can't afford to pay, and we can manage.
That said, if you do feel compelled to help out with Milly's care, we are always grateful for support with unexpected costs like these and you're welcome to send contributions to email@example.com via PayPal. Please mention Milly in the reference so that we know it's a donation. We also take booking payments via Paypal so we may not be able to tell between them and we would want to thank you for your support if you do donate, so do help us know who you are!
We know times are tight for a lot of people and we don't expect this support nor take it for granted by any means. We are expecting a total cost of £200 to have her spayed, wormed, flea treated and blood tests carried out to check if she has FIV or FeLV. Food and cat things we'll just share what we have with Milly.
Good luck little Milly! We're rooting for you and we hope you start to feel safe soon.