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November 10, 2023

Happily Homed: Oscar

Amanda Huggett

While many cats who come to Cat Care Society have a pretty short stay, once in a while, we get someone who has a harder time finding the right adopter to bring them home. This was the case with Oscar, who was with us for nearly two years — one of our longest stays ever!

Oscar first came to us in 2021 as a transfer from another shelter in Colorado with notes that he didn’t get along well with other cats. No stranger to a challenge, we were happy to accept him. Immediately, we realized that not only was he an unregulated diabetic, but he also had a large infected wound on his head from a suspected cat bite and had severe dental disease.

It took just a few days of medication for his wound to begin healing. We were thrilled that it had closed, stopped draining and swelling. Oscar also started gaining weight and was eating well. Meanwhile, we got to work on his larger treatment plan and how to handle his insulin and dietary needs.

Oscar moved into a foster home, where he loved snuggling into bed, playing with his laser pointer and sitting on his cat tree. By the next summer, he received his dental procedure to treat his tartar and gingivitis and extract several teeth. He appeared afraid of the experience but recovered well. His foster said that he had been hiding for awhile after, but two weeks later was back to exploring.

However, his foster then experienced issues testing his blood glucose levels and was worried about it harming his mental state to be poked with no successful blood drawn. Shortly after, he became uninterested in food and began losing weight. We tried a variety of things to turn this around for him, but he appeared more agitated from the efforts. When he came back to the shelter, he would hiss and hide anytime large items like beds or blanket would be moved near him.

We took new tests and added new supplements to his care routine. After mild success, we found that he needed to be monitored and comforted to eat. Our medical team came up with a chart for his care to encourage both eating and medication management, accounting for about every scenario we could plan for. However, our concerns mounted when we couldn’t administer insulin due to his inappetence. Finally, the addition of an anti-depressant and appetite stimulant did the trick … for just a few days.

Oscar was back to irregular eating and was considered anorexic, which again affected his insulin schedule. Our team was on a roller-coaster trying to get Oscar back to normal — a normal that we had not yet seen, no less.

Despite his issues with food lately, he did not seem dehydrated, was using his litterbox well, and seeking attention. When he was calm, Oscar was incredibly sweet. He loved chin pets, watching out the window and was a master biscuit maker. We were stumped by how to get his routine back on track and how to get him in a home.

We did another round of blood and urine tests, but when it came to his fluids, Oscar became fractious and unable to be restrained, lashing out at the staff trying to help him. It seemed were all stressed by the situation.

By this point, we’d had Oscar over a year already.

Oscar became a member of our Lonely Hearts Club, representing cats who are older, not as eye-catching, have specific medical needs or just haven’t found the right family yet. They’re cats who may have been overlooked and misunderstood, but have so much love to give.

We wanted to send Oscar back into a foster home with the hope that a home setting would calm things down and get him to eat again, but were unable to find someone with the skills to care for him. Thankfully he started eating at the shelter again with the patience of our animal care team helping him. But when there were too many shelter visitors, Oscar became stressed and overstimulated. He wanted pets, but swatted away the attention. His appetite became better for a couple months, then dipped again. Both his appetite and his attitude in being handled and hand-fed had as much sway as the Colorado weather.

Finally, someone stepped forward, and Oscar went home as part of our foster-to-adopt (FTA) program. We sent Carley and Oscar home with his diabetic food, supplies and appetite stimulant. The first night, he refused food, as was usual for his periods of transition. But the next day he came out of hiding for both attention and a meal. Then, we got the good news that his foster was ready to formally adopt Oscar and treat his diabetes at her personal vet.

Before Carley came to the shelter, she knew she wanted an adult cat. “I’m more drawn to the senior cats, as I’ve adopted two senior cats in the past and a middle-aged cat,” she said. “I actually went to your website and read through all the cats bios and came in with a list of about six cats to visit. Oscar being one of them just based off the fact he had been there the longest. I took my 4-year-old with me, and he responded best to her. Came out of his bed and immediately started purring.”

a tabby cat stands next to a small child on the floor

Carley learned of Oscar’s history and wasn’t bothered by it in the least, realizing that the cause of much of it was likely due to his environment. It also helped that her young daughter fell in love with this tiger boy.

Today, she reports that he is doing fantastic and eating like a champ — though it took a few weeks for him to adjust. “His diabetes is under control, and he’s very healthy according to his vet. He still sometimes gets startled, but he’s such a loving, friendly cat. He would be content just cuddling all day! I will never understand why he was overlooked for so long. He’s a really great cat!”

This was also her family’s first experience with a diabetic cat. But Carley previously had a cat with hyperthyroidism so was used to caring for cats with special needs. Our medical team helped coach her with administering his medication. “It seemed pretty overwhelming at first, but now that he’s eating regularly it’s super easy,” she said. “I just give him his insulin twice a day after he eats and that’s it! He had a curve done at his vet here and he said Oscar is really healthy. Once he got comfortable and started eating normally, it got much easier.”

Carley reports that Oscar is sometimes still skittish but always wants to be pet, follows the family around, is very playful and seeks attention. Once he warms up to new people, he loves receiving love and becomes vocal when it’s time to eat. His favorite thing to do is still napping on his window seat and watching the world go by.

a tabby cat lays in a windowsill

While Carley feels disappointed that he was overlooked for so long, she is so happy having him in her family now. “His diabetes is very easy to manage on top of his older age,” she said. “I think it’s important for people to understand just because a cat has extra needs doesn’t mean they’ll be more difficult to care for. Every cat deserves a loving home.”

We couldn’t agree more. Oscar is just one of many examples of why cats of any age and ability deserve a loving home and a second chance at life.

Have you adopted from CCS in the past? We’d love to hear how it’s going! Send us your adoption success stories (and photos!) to be featured in our #adoptionupdate series on social media or on our website.

Feel compelled by our work and want to help more cats in need find loving homes? Please send us a financial gift to provide life-saving medical care and adoption services to cats like Oscar. Donations can be made online HERE (and all funds received from Nov. 1 to Dec. 5, 2023, count for our Colorado Gives Day fundraising goal, with extra opportunities for matching incentive funds. We appreciate your support!

2 Responses

  1. So thrilled reading about Oscar’s happy ending! I’m so glad Cat Cares never gives up on helping cats like him and so happy he is with a stable, loving home now and doing well with his health.

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