In early 2016 there was a case of extreme hoarding and neglect in Mojave, California. The abuser was arrested and charged with three felony counts of animal cruelty for the 119 cats he was hoarding. These cats were suffering greatly from neglect, abuse, trauma and were severely distrusting of humans. They had been living in cages with up to three other cats and were in terrible condition. These cats were initially taken to the Kern County Animal Shelter, however, aware many of these cats could be euthanized due to lack of space, the Stray Cat Alliance stepped in to rescue the cats.
One cat in particular, Lisa a five-month-old shorthair, was in desperate need of medical assistance. Lisa had suffered a rupture in her eye which was never taken care of while she was living with the hoarder. She required medication three times a day until she was old enough to have the eye removed. With the financial assistance from an ISF Medical Emergency Grant, Lisa was able to undergo surgery to remove her left eye.
Lisa responded very well to the surgery and recuperated quickly. Before the surgery, Lisa was very skittish, shy, and frightened. She was untrusting of the vets and did not enjoy receiving treatment. After the surgery, she was like a completely different cat! It became clear she was enduring a lot of pain before. Once the eye was removed, nothing was bothering her anymore. She became happier, calm, and relaxed! Lisa did not go through this process alone. Her brother Lopes was also rescued from the hoarding case and similarly went through eye surgery. Throughout this time, Lisa and Lopes were living in foster care where they were watched over and received treatment. Their foster parent, Colin, quickly fell in love with the siblings. However, due to a break up Colin was forced to move and Lisa and Lopes had to go to another foster home. Colin stayed up to date with both of their statuses and heard they were not adapting very well in their new foster home. Immediately, Colin asked his new roommate if he could bring the cats back to live with them. As soon as Lisa and Lopes arrived back in Colin’s home, they ran to him and he knew he could never let them go. Colin renamed them Winx and Jax and started an Instagram page for them where he hopes to chronicle the lives of this one-eyed pair!
Cases of hoarding are extremely difficult and traumatizing for the animals involved. It’s heartbreaking to see the impact it can have on the animal’s personality and the fear of humans they gain. Stray Cat Alliance wrote to ISF saying, “We have always known that it takes time and patience to gain a cat’s trust back when they have been harmed by humans. In this case, a hoarding situation and lack of care affected Lisa greatly.” They continued, “Lisa was fortunate to be placed in a loving foster home that has now turned into her permanent home. She was also fortunate to be a recipient of a generous grant from the Ian Somerhalder Foundation that changed her life for the better.”
Written By: Francesca Pollio
Edited By: Bob Stone