This story is the first installment about a cat named Old Fella. At first glance, nothing special - just a cat. This is a journal that I have kept since the moment I saw his picture on Facebook. Even if you are not a cat lover, I encourage you to start from the beginning, because even dog lovers will be able to relate to the love, the compassion and the simple kindness.

By Trish Morgan
For the News Tribune
This story is the first installment about a cat named Old Fella. At first glance, nothing special - just a cat. This is a journal that I have kept since the moment I saw his picture on Facebook. Even if you are not a cat lover, I encourage you to start from the beginning, because even dog lovers will be able to relate to the love, the compassion and the simple kindness.
The journal begins on July 22 - when I was sent a private message on Facebook about a post where someone was trying to find a rescue for this old, scrawny cat. So, I read the post and I saw the pictures, and I was in rescue mode immediately. There was something about his face, something about those fangs, and something that tugged at my heart to go rescue that old cat and get him off the streets.
This story will be a four-piece mini-series...a story that has been my life for the last 30 days. The ongoing story has hundreds and hundreds of Facebook followers, many who have been touched by Old Fella's journey to a better life... many who believe that just because you're old, flea infested, skin and bones - this cat deserves goodness, deserves light and love, and compassion that he knew so many years ago.
The Story of Old Fella goes as follows:
July 22 - Tomorrow morning, I will be rescuing this old fella and taking him for all of the veterinary care he needs in the morning. I will be taking him to LaVale Veterinary Hospital, under the account of Dawn Billmyre, and once admitted, folks will be able to call in and donate to Dawn's account there for "Old Fella." I will post here tomorrow once he is rescued and admitted to the hospital. Please check back tomorrow!
Thank you to everyone involved in this story - Sue Shackelford, Susie Hutson Miller, Donna Shrout-Frye and Dawn - and to all of our local rescuers and cat lovers who helped spread the word!!
Tomorrow, Old Fella, your life is going to change. Soon, you will know what it feels like to be held, and petted and loved. You will never have to worry where your next meal is coming from. You will have a warm bed and you will be safe always. And Old Fella ~ I see your magnificence. I see who you once were. And I see who you will be. All it takes is love.
July 23 - Rescue successful! Old Fella is at LaVale Veterinary Hospital, under the care of Tessa Folk, DVM. Old Fella is estimated to be between ages 10-12. He weighs 8 lbs, is severely dehydrated, has an upper respiratory infection, is eaten up with fleas, his beautiful silver coat is matted and he has to have some intensive dental care. Dr. Folk is keeping him, and she will run blood work and other diagnostic tests to determine his general health.
Old Fella will go under general anesthesia to address his fur and teeth, and he will receive IV fluids. By the way, he is neutered, so at one time he may have had his shots and his rabies vaccination. The doctor will be checking to see if he happens to be microchipped. Updates will be posted here.
For all of you who were interested and excited about his rescue from the "street life,” your donations by phone will help pay for Old Fella's new life - when he will be able to live out his life with love, light, Fancy Feast and a soft bed. Please call 301-729-6084 and tell them your donation by debit/credit card is under Dawn Billmyre's account for Old Fella. Thank you for caring, my friends.
Overall, Old Fella is doing well. He has eaten both soft and crunchy cat food, he is receiving his medicines and IV fluids. He tested negative for leukemia...woohoo! We will not have his CBC results until tomorrow morning, as their CBC machine is down. At this point, we still need to raise $95 towards his medical bill, and that amount will raise some since he has to stay overnight tonight. Just 10 more people donating $10 will take care of what we owe so far. Can we count on you...please? Donations can be accepted between 8 am-7 pm by calling (301) 729-6084.
I am still waiting on information on test results, but I wanted to thank everyone who has been able to donate so far toward the expenses of Old Fella's care. Muah!!!
Old Fella's bill is up to $495, and $340 has been called in to LaVale Veterinary Hospital. Is there any one else who can help this boy? Please. If each person following this story would donate $10, we could cover his expenses and get him set up with a forever life of goodness.
July 24 - What a lovable, friendly, sweet boy. He is responding so well to all the "luvins" and all of the treatments. He knows there is good news to come, and a good life to come, as well!!!!
Dr. Folk told me just a few moments ago...Old Fella has an AVID microchip!!!!!!! We will try not to get our hopes up, as Dr. Folk explained that sometimes microchips are put in and not activated. Her staff is going to make some calls and I will post as soon as I get the information...WOW. And, of course, I have an update on his condition that I will put on when I do an update in just a little while!
Cross your fingers and toes, y'all!!!!!!!!!!
July 24 in the afternoon - The hunt is still on. The staff of LaVale Veterinary Hospital has discovered that the AVID microchip was sold to the Humane Society of Huron Valley, Ann Arbor, MI...in 2000! Yes, 2000 - in Michigan!!!!!
This means that Old Fella could be at least 18 years old!!!
We are now hunting to find his original owner, and then trying to find out how he made it to Cumberland, MD. Isn't this incredible????
By the way - Old Fella is moderately anemic and has been treated for his flea infestation. He does not have ear mites, he does not have leukemia. He is fighting an upper respiratory infection, and is receiving medication for that. Some shaving has taken place while Old Fella is enjoying his meals. He has quite a loving personality and seems to understand that he is safe and loved. As soon as his red counts comes up to the appropriate level, he will undergo anesthesia to address his dental concerns, and he will receive a handsome shaving LOL. He actually has very few teeth though.
Currently, folks have been very generous in covering almost all of his medical expenses. We are now, as of early this morning, $76 shy of paying his bill in full. So, if you'd like to help toward covering this amount, call (301) 729-6084 before 7 pm today. Thanks, y'all... more news to come!!!
July 24 early evening - We are now hoping to find his original owner through the vet clinic that was used in Ann Arbor, MI, where Old Fella was neutered back in 2000. Then, we will be trying to find out how Old Fella made it to Cumberland, MD. We are using his AVID chip ID number (AVID042000793). Isn't this incredible????
Currently, folks have been very generous in covering all of his medical expenses so far! Friends of Old Fella have donated over $600...just marvelous!!
We are still asking for donations because Old Fella will be under anesthesia having a few things done tomorrow, if his red blood count is elevated to more normal. So, if you'd like to help toward covering this, Old Fella sure would be grateful!!! Call Lavale Veterinary Hospital at (301) 729-6084 between 8 am-7 pm today and tomorrow. Thanks, y'all...more news to come!!!
Yes, Old Fella...we will tell you this story every single day of your new life. I can't wait to get today's update to share with everyone...til then, Old Fella...keep getting better. Your life is changing before your very eyes. And soon, the world will see your magnificence.
Please check back in this newspaper next Friday for the next installment of The Story of Old Fella.
NOTE: we are not currently collecting donations for Old Fella at this time at the hospital in LaVale. If you feel inspired to help Old Fella, though, he is asking that donations be called in to another cat rescue called "Whiskers" - run by Missy Smith in Westernport. Old Fella wants to pay it forward, so if you'd like, donations will be accepted under Missy Smith's account at Mountainview Veterinary Services in Keyser, WV. The needs are great, and many of Missy's cats need vaccinations, medications and spay and neuter procedures. Call 304-788-6602. Meow.