True Heart

Meet this sweet sur­vivor and the re­mark­able woman be­hind his res­cue

Modern Cat - - Con­tents - BY ROSE FROSEK

Meet our Star Cat con­test win­ner and the re­mark­able woman be­hind his res­cue.

Sir Thomas True­heart—or Tommy, for short—was liv­ing as a stray in a small com­mu­nity in the high Cal­i­for­nian desert, liv­ing off what­ever he could catch or dig out of trash cans and re­ly­ing on the kind­ness of peo­ple who would some­times feed him. It wasn’t great, but he was sur­viv­ing, as they say. Then, dogs in the area started show­ing up with se­vere acid burns, the re­sult of some­one de­lib­er­ately pour­ing acid on them. It wasn’t long be­fore Thomas was seen in the back­yard of a woman who was feed­ing him, half his face was melted away. He wan­dered for days with these hor­rific, in­fected wounds be­fore the woman was able to scoop him up and take him to a vet. There it was rec­om­mended that Thomas, in ter­ri­ble shape and also FIV pos­i­tive, be eu­th­a­nized, but the woman re­fused and in­stead reached out to a Los An­ge­les area-based group called Milo’s Sanc­tu­ary & Spe­cial Needs Cats Res­cue. The all-vol­un­teer team at Milo’s stepped in and had Thomas rushed im­me­di­ately to their vet’s where he started treat­ment im­me­di­ately.

It was two days later that Michele Hoff­man, pres­i­dent and co-founder of the non-profit, met Thomas and “fell madly in love with him at first sight,” she re­ports. “Even ban­daged and on IV's he purred and wanted to be loved. I knew then we would fight for him and, no mat­ter what, give him the chance he so de­served.”

Thomas is now fully re­cov­ered and liv­ing the good life, re­sid­ing with Michele and her four other per­sonal cats. “He’s such a no­ble soul,” Michele says, and she would know. She started fos­ter­ing 19 years ago when there was “no such thing as a ‘spe­cial needs cat’—the cats that had birth de­fects, ill­ness, in­juries, or were se­niors were sim­ply eu­th­a­nized for be­ing dif­fer­ent or un­wanted,” she re­calls. It was these cats, the ones “fall­ing through the cracks” that led Michele to cre­ate Milo's Sanc­tu­ary. She’s been filling that void for al­most 13 years. She even went to vet tech school to learn all she could so that she “had the knowledge to make sure the cats got all the med­i­cal care they needed.”

She is, as you may imag­ine, a well-in­formed and tire­less cheer­leader for adopt­ing a spe­cial needs or senior cat. “The blind cats are the most lov­ing and amaz­ing cats I've ever met,” she en­thuses. “They do ev­ery­thing any cat can do—they climb cat trees, they play, and their sense of smell and hear­ing are in­cred­i­ble. A senior cat is per­fect in ev­ery way. They know their man­ners, they are sweet, and d maybe spend a lit­tle more time sleep­ing but they play, groom, and are so be­yond ond ap­pre­cia­tive of a hu­man to love them. I love the se­niors be­cause all they want is a warm lap, some­one to love them, and they aren't full of kit­ten en­ergy!”

She does rec­om­mend that you make sure you have the time and

fi­nances to care for your adopted cat for the long term, say­ing, “re­mem­ber, any an­i­mal you take into your home is a life­time com­mit­ment and we all get old and need ex­tra care!”

But over­all, Michele’s over arch­ing mes­sage is this: “In my many years of do­ing this type of res­cue, one of the many things I've learned is that ‘spe­cial needs’ doesn't mean a thing. Cats that are spe­cially-abled don't know they are any dif­fer­ent from any other cat. They are sim­ply cats who might need a lit­tle ex­tra care and pa­tience but in re­turn you'll have the great­est friend you could ever wish for!”

StarCat ER WINN Thanks to our awe­some Star Cat Con­test spon­sor GUND!

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