Ex-Hospice Cat Thriving After Clear the Shelters Adoption

Clear the Shelters

She’s helpful, affectionate and will always lend a paw to hold when you listen to sad music or watch a soap opera.

Baby, a 15-year-old cat who was adopted after being a hospice resident at a Massachusetts animal shelter, is loving life and no longer needs medication after Bjarna O’Brien welcomed her into her family.

Baby was adopted from the MSPCA at Nevins Farm last year during NBC and Telemundo Owned Stations’ Clear the Shelters campaign. She was on medication for kidney failure and frequently vomited because she was unable to stomach her food. Often low on energy and missing patches of fur, Baby’s prospects of being adopted appeared low. 

Luckily, O’Brien showed up — and immediately knew she was interested in the feline.

“I was looking for a hospice cat because I work with animals and I know I can work with them,” the Derry, New Hampshire, resident said. “I saw her online and asked when I could see her in person.”

O’Brien took Baby home the same day and the love between the two was instant. O’Brien said she clothed Baby in outfits meant for small dogs in order to hide her bald spots. The dresses and sweaters she donned made Baby an instant with visitors.

With some love and tender care, O’Brien nursed Baby back to health in no time. She switched her diet to raw cat food, which O’Brien said did wonders for Baby who has since gained weight and grown stronger. Her strength showed on Christmas Day when she garnered enough energy to play for the first time.

“I sat down and cried when she played during Christmas,” O’Brien said. “I bought a piece of wood that has string and a feather on it. She had been interested in it but was always too tired to do anything about it. I just took it out again that day and she started to bat at it and began running around.”

O’Brien described Baby as a sweet, affectionate cat whose name suits her.

“The real reason Baby’s name fits her is because she cries when she’s lonely,” O’Brien said. “She likes being held in your arms. When I get home, I have to pick her up immediately.”

Baby is certainly more than just a pet in the O’Brien household. She is a member of the family who often tries to help others out.

When the brother of O’Brien’s boyfriend was hit by a forklift, Baby was there to offer emotional support. 

“While others were at work, she kind of became a comfort animal to him,” O’Brien said. “She’s now taking care of her ‘uncle.’ She’s kind of become a therapy animal. As much as I think we take care of her, she takes care of us.”

Aside from being an affectionate cat, Baby is also empathetic.

“With sad music or a soap opera, she puts one of her paws on your hand. She actually holds your hand,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien said adding Baby to her family has brought more joy to her life and she encourages others to adopt a pet.

“If you have the space in your heart to let another life in, I think you’ll realize how rewarding it is to look after a pet,” she said.

However, she warns that adopting a pet is a real commitment. O’Brien suggests others consider taking in a senior animal.

“People seem to think they’re (up for) adoption because there may be something wrong with them or they’re undesirable, but you never know why they’re there,” she said. “Maybe they had an owner who could no longer care for them or maybe their owners died.”

“Taking in a senior animal is its own kind of experience and it’s rewarding in its own way,” O’Brien said. “Don’t overlook them because there’s so much more heart there than people realize.”

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COMMON ITEMS YOU CAN DONATE



 
  • Towels and blankets - Shelters are often cold and animals like to have a blanket to curl up on. Towels are a big help to dry animals off after being bathed or if they come in wet. Towels can also be used to line the bottoms of cages. The towels or blankets don't have to be brand new or in perfect condition. The animals won't mind, as long as they're usable.
  • Canned and Dry Food for Cats and Dogs-Healthy - Healthy pet options for nourishment
  • Kitty litter and cat boxes - Cats go to the bathroom- a lot. Shelters are constantly using bag after bag of litter. Their supply runs out fast.
  • Puppy or kitten formula and nursing bottles - Sometimes there are situations where a young puppy or kitten who is not weaned gets separated from their mother. In these situations they need puppy or kitten formula to survive.
  • Old newspaper - When you're done with your newspapers you usually just throw them away or recycle them, right? You could help animals at no cost to you if you just save up your old newspapers. Newspapers are used in the bottoms of cages. They get soiled quickly, so they're in constant demand.
  • Collars, harnesses, and leashes - Dogs who are taken out on walks need a leash and collar or harness. The shelter loses some because adopted dogs often go home with their leash or harness.
  • Grooming supplies - Grooming supplies can include shampoo, brushes, combs, haircutting scissors, etc. Dogs and cats often come in dirty or end up getting dirty. Grooming supplies can keep them fresh, clean, and adoptable.
  • Toys - You would get bored if you had to lay in a crate alone all day, wouldn't you? Animals in shelters get bored, too. It keeps the animals from being so lonely and bored and allows them to get exercise. You could go out and buy new toys, or you could donate toys your pets or children may have not gotten much use out of. It's as simple as that.
  • Crates and carriers - Animals need to be transported somehow, and the cost of multiple crates and carriers can add up quickly. You can donate ones you stopped using that are still in good condition or you could go buy one for a decent price. This helps the shelter tremendously.
  • Paper towels and cleaning supplies - There are a lot of situations that get messy, so paper towels are a big help.
  • Hand wash and hand sanitizer - People who work at shelters need to keep their hands clean for their and the animals' health.
  • Laundry detergent, fabric softener, and bleach - Towels and blankets get soiled often so the washing machines are being used a lot
  • Dog and cat beds - this can offer the animals a soft place to lay instead of a kennel or cage floor.
  • Heating pads - Many animals come in cold or are young and need warmth. Heating pads can replace a mother's warmth.
  • Copy paper and pens, pencils, post-it notes and staples - You can't forget about all the paperwork that has to be done. Donating these items makes it so the shelter doesn't have to buy them on their own.
  • Garbage bags, mops, brooms, and sponges - The shelter uses these every day and clean up supplies can get expensive.
  • Food bowls - As new animals come in, the shelter needs new places to put food. Having an adequate supply could mean life or death for an animal in a shelter.
  • Rubber and latex gloves - A lot of messy stuff happens and gloves are necessary to lessen the spread of germs.
  • Plastic shopping bags - Plastic bags can be used to clean up dog mess and to store things in.