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Shedding a heavy burden

From Animal Sheltering magazine Summer 2017

Hidey lost 2 pounds of fur during the haircut of a lifetime.

After Paul Russel learned that a distant relative with Alzheimer’s disease had been moved to a nursing home, he started to worry. He’d heard that the man had cats and wondered if anyone was caring for them. So he went to the house to check out the situation. He met Siam, a friendly Siamese, and then, while searching for the other feline, he saw an animal dart out from beneath a bed. It took him a moment to realize that the strange-looking creature was actually a calico cat.

Staffers at the Animal Rescue League/Western PA Humane Society were just as shocked when Russel brought Hidey to the shelter. Her severely matted fur had resulted in Medusa-style locks that covered her body and dragged on the ground. We’d never seen anything like it.

Hidey was overweight when we first met her and likely had difficulty grooming herself. While she was under anesthesia, our staff spent about an hour removing 2 pounds of dreadlocks, some of them over a foot long.

Today, she is happy and healthy in the care of Russel and his family, who also adopted Siam. While Hidey was initially shy and prone to hiding (hence her name), Russel reports that she is warming up to people and often cuddles with his daughter.

This story highlights the importance of checking in on the elderly and their pets. We’re so happy that Hidey is now living comfortably in her forever home after years of discomfort.

About the Author

Caitlin Lasky is the director of public relations at Animal Rescue League/ Western PA Humane Society in Pittsburgh.