Hidey, an elderly cat living in Pittsburgh, belonged to a man who sadly developed Alzheimer’s and eventually had to move to a nursing home. Paul, a distant relative of the man remembered that there had always been a cat in the house and wondered what had become of it. He decided to stop by and find out. What he was about to find surpassed anything he could have imagined!
Once he arrived he began looking around for the cat. He searched typical feline hiding places and nap locations, and then further, under furniture, behind curtains, and so on. But he didn’t find anything.
Then suddenly a wild-looking animal streaked out from under a bed and ran downstairs into the basement. “A creature,” as Paul described it. He wasn’t sure what kind of animal it was. “At first I thought it was a cat who had a blanket draped over her…”
Yes, in fact, it turned out to be the cat. But it wasn’t a blanket she was draped in, it was a huge amount of matted fur. All you could recognize was the black tail emerging from behind her.
Paul was terrified when he discovered her. “She hides down in the corner of the cellar. I’m down there with a flashlight looking — it was almost like a horror movie. And I found her hunkering in the corner.” Soon, though, he was more saddened than scared. She was “probably very scared. Probably in a lot of pain.”
At last he caught Hidey and brought her straight to the local animal rescue organization.
The vets there had never seen anything like this. The poor cat looked like a monster. Her hair had grown so long she had dreadlocks like tentacles. She could almost have been a great hairy octopus.
She was shivering from fear so they put her under a general anesthetic in order to remove all the excess fur safely. In the end, it was well over two lbs of hair. “It had to be years of matting for it to get that long.”
And more than just dirty and unkempt, the poor creature was overweight. She could hardly move her head so she couldn’t groom herself. Her owner had been sick and unable to look after her, or even to notice.
At last, with a good haircut and medical care, Hidey looked like a cat again! She was clearly exhausted: so many years of suffering and not having her basic needs met had left their mark.
Upset by the entire experience, Paul felt that the only right thing to do was adopt her so he took her home and indeed she recovered little by little. Now, finally, she gets to have a normal cat’s life again.
Lucky that someone thought of her, and found her. She still shows some signs of trauma, hiding under the bed as her name suggests, but the love of her new family has brought her further and further out of her shell.
It’s quite a reminder to keep an eye on our pets, check that they’re well-groomed, and be sure to plan for them, in case of sickness!