Two years ago I adopted two rescue cats from the Tierschutzverein Berlin (Berlin Animal Shelter), specifically from the difficult adoption list, which normally entails palliative adoptions. I brought them home within a week from each other, beginning with Cherry, since Lolita was still in recovery from surgery for tumour removal. At the time they were 13 (Lolita) and 11 (Cherry) years old, and was warned it would not be easy.
For all the readers who have followed this blog or the now defunct Champagne Trails Blog, you are keenly aware of the journey these two cats have made thus far. Lolita lived under my bed for the first two weeks, emerging only at night to use the toilet or grab a quick bite to eat. She was painfully thin, scared of everything that moved or made a sound, and refused to socialise. Cherry was socially inadequate, traumatised and depressed, incapable of socialising and allowing herself to be cared for. Champagne, my dear ESA cat whom I miss terribly after her demise in November 2019, stood by and wondered about the sanity of it all, she being a rescue cat herself.
Two years later, the two cats are stronger than ever, have adjusted to life, the world, and each other in the most remarkable manner. There are a couple of behavioural markers of abused cats that will never leave them, but those decrease by the day.
Lolita is half deaf and partially blind, but she is the most angelic senior cat to grace the house. Her transformation into the affectionate cat who demands cuddles and exclusive personal time is something that keeps me going on the worst of days. Potty though she may be on most days, confused as to why she entered a room or where she is going, she is acutely aware of human emotions and will offer comfort and loud purrs.
Cherry, who arrived as a socially distant and depressed feline shadows us everywhere and refuses to be left out of anything. Sleepy or not, she will appear out of nowhere and stand guard in the kitchen or on my desk. She too has become very vocal and learned to demand her cuddle time.
Ever since Champagne died, it is as if Lolita and Cherry divided up the duties and each took on the roles Champagne used to have, to the extent even of Cherry coming along for walks in the travel backpack! She is a natural and loves being outdoors with us.
I cannot imagine my life without these two four-legged angels anymore and am incredibly grateful for each day that I set out those feeding bowls! Yes, do adopt an old cat and allow yourself to be loved back by those who need it the most.