I clawed through the wallpaper – a wall behind it. Two friends tore through a screen but couldn’t get through the window. My cousin pulled down a drape.
Trapped. No way out. Hungry, hungry – and scared. Very scared. I was there. We were trapped – no, incarcerated.
I am Pele, named for the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes. . I’m a young tabby woman. I’ve been selected to tell our story because, well, I do spout off a lot. Most of us have what people call post-traumatic stress disorder – me, not so much. Although, when I think about it, I still shake.
Here’s how a human described it: “…you note the lovely setting and the great set up for horses. Then you get closer to the stables and notice the building that looked so great from a distance is boarded and patched and a room upstairs has patches of old-looking fur scattered on the floor. Across from the stables, a dead cat is decomposing on top of hay in the hayshed. Then there’s the house.”
“Blinds are askew, grass is high, there’s junk lying around, and there’s a sense of abandonment. And there’s the stench. Even though all windows and doors are shut, a nauseating stench exudes from the house.”
We, more than 60 of us, most still alive but starving, were the stench. Me and Luca and Marlin, Peyton and Paxton, Hendrix, Petunia and Posey, Henry, Trinket, more. Clearly, some of us are cousins, parents and children. We’re dark and tabby, with bright discerning eyes. We had thought we had a home. The person who owned this place simply “accumulated” us, then locked the doors and windows and walked away.
We clawed the walls, tore the screens, tried to get out. We screamed. No one heard us. No food. No water. Only each other. Several folks tried to climb through an air vent, didn’t make it, died in there. Terror. Sheer terror.
The realtor handling the property’s foreclosure discovered us. First, she cried. Then she contacted Vickie Lachelt, head of Feline Rescue’s Spay-Neuter-Outreach Program. Teams of volunteers arrived. Over the next several weeks, they returned again and again, bringing bags of dry cat food, cans of soft food, litter boxes and litter, and containers of water. They wore masks and surgical booties to enter the house. But were these people friends – or more foes?
Most of us quickly scurried into the live traps for the food. Should we trust – or scream? They put us in carriers and then into cars. We visited veterinarians – none of us had met one of those before. We went to foster homes. Some of us went to Feline Rescue’s Adoption Center. We learned to be cats again. One by one we took the chance and starting trusting two-leggeds again. Some of us, including me – yay!, now have real homes with real people. More of us expect adoption soon. Feline Rescue. They were friends – maybe angels. Our way out!