Lachine’s unsung heroine helps abandoned cats

grey cat sleeps in hallway next to food and water dishesShe probably doesn’t want her name published. Or at least she gives me the impression she’s not seeking recognition.

The woman I’m describing is nothing short of amazing.

A month ago we found a young cat sleeping in the hallway of our apartment building. The small, grey, cat appeared cared for and I was sure she belonged to someone. I asked around my building but no one had ever seen this cat. A neighbour put out a bowl of food. I added a container of water and my boyfriend bought a disposable litter box.

I posted a notice about the cat on a Web site where Montrealers report lost and found pets. This woman made sure the kitten/cat’s photo appeared on the Montreal SPCA’s Web site. She answered my posts and asked if anyone was feeding this cat.

A day after we found the cat I came home to learn the cat was no longer in the shared hallway upstairs but was wandering around the basement laundry room getting dusty. My son worried about the cat’s safety and said we couldn’t leave her there. So we took the little cat in. We still had the disposable litter box.

I put out bowls with tuna and water and the next day called the SPCA, asking if they could pick up the cat since at that point I didn’t have a carrier and I don’t drive or have a car. They referred me to the Lachine borough. I called Lachine’s 311 number so that the borough’s Animal Control department would take the cat to the SPCA.

But Animal Control never showed (I found out later they went to the wrong address because someone noted the wrong apartment number) and we decided to keep the cat for the time being. She was in heat and acting crazy. I worried about my son getting sick because he’s allergic to cats but he does not react to this cat at all. Our budgie, a nice snack from the cat’s perspective, was sequestered in my son’s room. My boyfriend and I discussed getting the cat spayed. We figured the vet exam, operation and vaccinations would cost at least $250. We decided to share the expense, even though it wouldn’t be easy for either of us to find the extra dollars.

Then the woman followed up again. I mentioned that I needed help finding the cat a home and that the little cat needed to be spayed and she said, sure she’d arrange it , was I available during the day? When I said ‘yes,’ she got back to me saying she’d booked an appointment with a vet that Friday. I was astonished. I’ve never seen anyone offer to pay for something with no strings attached but there was no reason to believe she had any ulterior motive. We exchanged emails throughout the week. The cat was getting crazy and aggressive and we had a parade of male cats at one of our windows. Usually they were staring at the budgie but the lineup of mostly male suitors was no doubt linked to our kitty refugee.

When Friday morning came I didn’t know what to expect. But our saviour came through. She brought a cat carrier (I had offered another carrier that the cat seemed to like but she said the spaying operation was through a program and the vet would associate her carrier with the program). Both she and the woman who accompanied her to my door looked kind. She brought the cat back later that evening, dazed and sore but otherwise fine. Thanks to this woman the cat was spayed, vaccinated, treated for worms and fleas (though she did not have any). She told me the cat is between six and nine months old and healthy. She checked on the cat’s recovery.

I offered money towards the vet costs but she refused. She said she regularly neuters and spays abandoned cats in low-income sections of town, places where people can’t afford to look after their cats properly.

The little grey cat (she responds to “Kitty” but my son has christened her “Expo”) still lives with us and is mellowing into a soft, affectionate beastie. Her previous owner does not appear to be looking for her. I will give this generous woman regular updates on the cat’s progress.

I’m still shaking my head in wonder and admiration.


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