French Connection: Hoarded Cat Finds Forever Love

Emergency Relief grant saves dozens of cats

cat by windowIts floors were covered with urine and feces, but the house was Puck’s home in Ypsilanti, Michigan, for the first year of his life. 87 other cats called the place home too.

Fortunately, a concerned neighbor alerted the authorities after smelling something horrible and seeing many cats in a large window. Investigators called it a classic hoarding situation — the cats’ owner meant well, but they suspect a mental condition led her to keep more cats than she could handle.

September 24, 2013, was a lucky day for Puck and his housemates. It was the day the Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) rescued them.

Crucial funding rescues cats from uncertain fate

Puck and his feline friends weren’t in the clear just yet. He, and the rest of the cats, had a number of health issues. It was too much for the small shelter to handle, but a PetSmart Charities® Emergency Relief grant worth more than $11,000 made it possible to save nearly all of them.

“It took all of our vet staff working on these guys. Almost every one of them had some sort of health issue and needed aggressive treatment,” said Michele Baxter, manager of cruelty investigations and emergency rescue at HSHV. “It was a huge financial hit. We had other pets to take care of, and without the grant, the cats may have been euthanized.”

Given their condition, it took a few months for the cats to find homes — even Puck.

Former French teacher seeks friend for her farm cat

Enter Susan Blake. The former French teacher wanted to add to her fur family so her cat Matou could have a playmate.

Matou, which is French for “tom cat,” came into her life a few years earlier when she rescued him from a barn where he wasn’t cared for properly. He joined 2 female cats in Susan’s home: Cosette, named after a character in Les Misérables, and Minette, which means “female cat” in French.

The trouble was that the girls didn’t like to play with Matou. “He is just a big love. He wants to play with the girls, but Minette hisses at him and Cosette shrieks if he tries to play,” Susan said.

She spoke with her veterinarian about the best type of cat to adopt for Matou. They agreed that a younger male who was used to other cats would be an ideal friend for him.

Cat signals he found his perfect human

Susan often spent time volunteering at HSHV, and she was careful about her search for a new cat. She had met Puck before, but she wanted to be certain to adopt the right match for her family.

cats cuddlingOne day, Puck made it known that he wanted to go home with her. “He just reached up through the cage, and he climbed right up onto my shoulders,” Susan said.

With tears in their eyes, the staff at HSHV told her Puck had never done this to anyone else before. Susan took him home that day. She named him Bisou, which is French for “little kiss.”

Bisou finds true love in his new home

Bisou and Matou became fast friends. They love to play while Susan cleans. They’re often found wrestling, grooming each other or playing in the cat tree.

Susan thinks Bisou adjusted well because he was used to living with so many other cats.

Both Bisou and Matou have congenital herpes in their eyes, which is often a result of inbreeding. Susan makes sure to clean their eyes every day. She also keeps all of her cats on a regular veterinary schedule. “It’s been a labor of love saving the life of my little farm guy, and now Bisou,” she said.

Bisou’s left eye has a white cloud, and his right eye is indented. “He doesn’t have great vision, but he blows me away every day with the way he jumps around,” Susan said.

He walks on his hind legs sometimes, and Susan thinks it’s his way of making up for not having full use of his vision.

“He’s a sweetheart, and if that comes with a disability, it doesn’t make a difference,” she said.

Susan often thinks of Bisou’s old home and housemates, and she knows he’s much happier with her.

She wants people to know that even though they came from a rough past, these cats make perfect pets. “I know many people adopted those cats, and I want everyone to know how beautiful they are.”

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