But I call her Baileys, to complete the round of cat drinks in my home: Champagne, Cherry (pronounced Sherry) and now Bailey. Meet Cherry’s life partner of many years, Lolita, who is 12 and every bit the scardycat.
When I adopted Cherry last week from the Berlin Animal Shelter, I also agreed to take on Lolita as a third cat because she is definitely a palliative case. When both Cherry and Lolita were rescued they were in such a deplorable condition that they were almost unrecognisable as cats. Not only had their fur turned into an impossible mass of knots, they were malnourished and sick as well. Both cats were first placed in quarantine and then shaved, leaving only the paws and head relatively intact. This is how the vets discovered the mammary tumours (yes, plural) on Lolita and she was immediately whisked off for her first surgery. The first biopsy proved to be positive, making her tumours malignant, but the second one was negative.
As you can well imagine, this traumatised cat, who has been through the worst possibly living conditions, is additionally confused at all the changes in her recent life, including additional shaving of her abdomen for the surgery. They left only the paws, that look like booties, and a bit of the head fur. If it weren’t for the flat nose, it would be almost impossible to tell that Lolita is a cat.
The shelter called me on Friday afternoon to inform me that the vets had cleared Lolita for discharge and she was ready to be taken to her new home. My goodness, I have my work cut out for me with this one. She is terrified of everything and everyone, including food. I had hoped – and mistakenly assumed – that she and Cherry would be happy to see each other again, but apparently they don’t recognise each with their new looks because Cherry just hissed at Lolita the entire afternoon. As my daughter said, the conversation probably went like this:
“You look like crap”
“Look who’s talking, have you seen yourself?”
How did Champagne react to the latest addition to the family? She ran up to Lolita, sniffed her face and head, which I found really sweet, until she followed it up with a solid whack on poor little Lolita’s head. So for the next four hours Lolita cowered in fear under the bed until I fished her out in the evening and cuddled her. Placing her on the bed, I built a little pillow fortress, lay down beside her, and cooed the cat until I got purr out of her. It will be a long road to recovery for both cats, since neither is used to affection or being brushed, and trusting a human will take a while.