He was the sorriest looking animal I had ever seen, shaved completely from head to middle, one ear missing, the other not too pretty either, and a tube coming from a huge abscess in his neck. When he shook his head, pus splattered, and his smell was bad. As an evening volunteer at the clinic, I had no idea if he was friendly, and I wasn't eager to change his litter, let alone touch him. I tentatively and gingerly scratched his head with one finger. What happened next still makes me teary. He repeatedly and gratefully kissed my face, purring all the while, so willing to forget all that he had been through.
I later learned that his owners abandoned him when they moved away. Because he had never been outside, he hid under a neighbor’s porch. After days without food and water, he ventured out from the porch only to be attacked when trying to scavenge food from a nearby source. Returning to his hiding place, the insulation under the porch irritated his wounds more. Months went by and although his sparring partners learned to accept him, the constant irritation from the insulation caused him to scratch himself, leaving large gaping holes in his infected flesh. After making many futile attempts to find help for this poor cat, the owner of the porch gave up, until she became aware of Forgotten Cats. Once contacted, Forgotten Cats caught him and provided the necessary medical care. Unfortunately, his ear was damaged beyond repair, earning him the loving nickname of "Van," short for "Van Gogh." After several surgeries he was on the path to recovery.
Van was a large cat and our clinic is not set up for long-time guests. I worked on my husband, appealing to his softer side. Why couldn't Van live at Goodwill Industries where he works? He could stay in the warehouse, and it would be a whole lot better than that cage. After all, doesn't Goodwill champion the disadvantaged?
Armed with litter box, food, and toys, I carried the black cat over one morning. Many of the people in the office were curious, but not pleased with the sorry looking cat. It wasn't long, however, before everyone was won over and Van became "G-Willy." Now, people who were not previously cat people keep treats for him in their desks; developmentally disabled clients are drawn to him; and visitors who come to the center ask to be taken to see Willy, as his reputation has spread outside the organization.
G-Willy is a gentle, loving cat that has the magical ability to bring a smile to the faces of those around him. Thank you employees of Goodwill Industries for your compassion and love! Thank you volunteers of Forgotten Cats who made this rescue possible.
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