7/25/18 -The generosity of the community for this magnificent senior cat has been incredible...humbling. We have been able to meet all of his expenses so far. But, Old Fella has more procedures that need to be done when he is able to undergo anesthesia in one week, as long as his red blood cells level is near normal.

By Trish Morgan
For the News Tribune
7/25/18 -The generosity of the community for this magnificent senior cat has been incredible...humbling. We have been able to meet all of his expenses so far. But, Old Fella has more procedures that need to be done when he is able to undergo anesthesia in one week, as long as his red blood cells level is near normal.
Today, by 8 p.m., we need to raise an additional $300 so that we can finish taking care of Old Fella. There are over 250 animal lovers who have been following this beautiful story. And surely, among those, we have 30 friends who can make a $10 donation.
I have believed in every single thing that has happened since I first heard the story of this poor old fella living on the streets. I believe...always have, always will. I have no doubt that there are those of you reading this story who will make the call to be among those who are involved in this story. Please, because even cats who only have a few years remaining deserve everything that is good.
LaVale Veterinary Hospital, under the account of Dawn Billmyre. I will post an update each hour until the $300 has been raised. Will you be one of those who is able to step up and make a $10 donation today? Please...for Old Fella..who very shortly will begin a life of love, love and more love. And all of the Fancy Feast his heart desires!
By the way, we have determined that Old Fella is indeed 18 years old. He was neutered in the year 2000, but there was no owner's name added to his microchip. All we know is that he was neutered through the Humane Society of Huron Valley in Ann Arbor, MI in 2000, and now in 2018, he was living in Cumberland.
Old Fella is starting to thrive. He eats well, he drinks well and he uses the litter box like a good boy. He has gained a little weight, his red blood is stable, and his liver values have decreased to from 262 down to 150, where 130 is normal. The hospital has discontinued his IV fluids, and he will be discharged today with his oral medications that he will have to take one to two times daily. This magnificent king of the south Cumberland streets will be going to live in the Baughman Street White House in Westernport - where he will live with a 20 year-old Himalayan cat named Tigger, 2-year old sister calico and tortoiseshell cats Maggie Mae and Sadie Shae, toddler long-haired ginger cat named Nacho Bidness, another older long-haired ginger cat named Leo and a senior lab/chow dog named Dre.
A zoo for sure, but Old Fella - come live with the one who took you from your "hood life" and now offers you the "good life." Then, after your surgery, I will find you your forever home. That, I promise.
Going home. What marvelous, special words.
7/25/18 - I am here to see a doctor about a cat...
First bit of good news: donations have totaled $995, and we are just $105 shy of the amount estimated to cover all of his current care, as well as Old Fella's upcoming surgery. This is a glorious day...a real happy day to celebrate a community's love for a lonely old street cat who once was loved, and then lost. How I love you all. Donations can still be called in to the hospital to help cover his upcoming surgery next week on Aug. 1.
On the road with a cat in a carrier, with love in my heart...on to the Baughman Street White House. I believe.
7/26/18 - Oh what a beautiful morning! Lots to celebrate!!
1. Thanks to so, so many of you - we have nearly $800 to cover Old Fella's surgery next week! Your generosity has been so overwhelming for me...truly. On Aug. 1, Old Fella heads back to LaVale Veterinary Hospital for a check-up on his weight, upper respiratory infection and his red blood count. If all is well, he will go under anesthesia for his dental work, as well as for his official haircut to get rid of all of the mattes in his fur.
2. Old Fella and I made it through the night together. It was a little bit of a challenge getting him to take his pills this morning - clearly, he needs to get used to me. He was a good boy overnight - using his litter box - and seemed to have slept peacefully. I had to give him two pills this morning. The first one went down after two tries, and when we tried the second pill, he wanted nothing to do with that LOL. There was no way I was messing with those fangs!!! He got down on the floor and gave me the look of death, and laid down with a huff and flapped his tail at me HA! Don't worry, Old Fella...we'll get that next pill in about an hour!! Success. Then his evening pill tonight...I'll get the hang of it.
3. A neighbor in south Cumberland sent me a few photos of a grand old cat that used to come and visit her and other neighbors about three years ago. Although we can't prove without a doubt that this is the same cat, I have it from a very good source that this big, beautiful silver-grey male cat visited this person quite often over the course of a couple of years. This woman told me that this cat would come to her house, enjoy a light snack and then make himself at home. This neighbor says that this just has to be the same cat - the telling detail was the fang teeth. Back in 2015, this beautiful cat weighed about 15 lbs - sleek and shiny, lovable and friendly - and he just loved to be petted. Old Fella? You surely were magnificent...just like I KNEW you must have been. Exceptionally handsome, indeed.
And although you are a mere 8 lbs now, and a scraggly version of whom you once were, I believe that this good life now will bring you to magnificence again. We are on our way!
Old Fella, who is 18 years old now, has led a sad, lonely, vagabond life - but he was once loved and cared for, and he was safe and part of a family. Somehow, after he was neutered in 2,000 through the Humane Society of Huron Valley in Michigan, he was moved to south Cumberland. It is highly doubtful that we will ever know the full story of the journey of Old Fella...but we can all use our imaginations to visualize a life on the streets, where danger lurked at every corner. Yet, here is Old Fella today - tugging at our heartstrings - and having a second chance at the life of luxury until he purrs no more.
7/27/18 - Good morning to all of you who have been following this story of the rescue of Old Fella!
This boy. In my home right now, he has full roam of his own bedroom. He has his own twin size bed, with soft, cuddly bedcovers, and there is a comfy reading chair near the screened window where fresh air and the sounds of nature to keep him accustomed to the outside life. And best of all, he has Xbox One, a TV, his feeding area and of course, his own litter box LOL. I have been keeping him separated from the other animals in the house so that he can heal and rest - with no distractions.
Aside from all of this good stuff, you have no idea how much joy this cat has brought into my life. The month of July has been very difficult for me for various reasons, and when I first read about this old scraggly cat roaming the streets of South Cumberland - getting by on the generosity of kind, compassionate cat lovers - something stirred within me.
I have been actively involved with Missy Smith and Whiskers cat rescue since December of last year, and we are working to attain nonprofit status for her rescue. So, being a cat lover myself, I had already been working with the rescue of kittens and cats.
But there was something about this boy - this old, neglected, unloved vagabond - that broke my heart. To find out over the course of several days that at one time, long, long ago, someone in Michigan loved and adored this cat. How he made it to Cumberland we have no idea. But to see former pictures of his life three years ago compared to what it is today - it gave me such hope in a hopeless situation.
This boy - once a big old friendly fella - who traversed from house to house in the Fort Hill High School area of Cumberland - stopping here and there, grabbing a bite to eat at each neighbor's home, and oft times being allowed in to make himself at home.
I have said this very often in my previous posts, but as soon as I saw this guy, I loved him that instant. I saw such life in his eyes, I felt his loneliness, I cried at the sight of his matted fur and skin and bones, I sobbed when he rubbed his magnificent head against by hands - as if now someone was finally going to love and care for him. But as sad as it was to see the boy in this condition, I also saw such light, I saw a once-loved, magnificent cat - once king of his domain. Now though - old, forgotten, dismissed, rejected, alone. All alone.
And, thanks to all of you who donated, prayed and shared his story - this boy, the Old Fella, is under a veterinarian's care and awaiting the next step to his recovery. Oh, how I appreciate and love all of you who have taken time out of your busy lives to be part of Old Fella's life.
Aug. 1, Old Fella returns to LaVale Veterinary Hospital for a recheck of his blood work. If all is well, Old Fella will be put under anesthesia and will receive his custom haircut so that all mattes are removed. He will also have his dental work done and receive his shots so that he is updated.
And his teeth? He doesn't really have that many left, but man does he have some fangs!!! I have to tell you a story about my 3-year-old granddaughter Ava, who is a cartoon Vampirina fan. I told her that Old Fella had two big fangs, and she got to meet him last night for the first time. She came into his room and I picked him up to show Ava his fangs. Old Fella let Ava lift up his lips so that she could see his fangs. She giggled and jumped and danced around, and thought this was the best thing she had ever seen in her whole life LOL!!!!!!! At least that's what she told Old Fella and me!!!
Life goes on each day, and Old Fella has to take morning and evening medication until he has his surgery next week. He DEFINITELY is no fan of the pills he has to take HA! So today, I am heading to LaVale to get a pill shooter and some cat food. He's not really eating, and doesn't seem to like any kind of cat food that has been put down for him. He ate while he was in the hospital, so I guess I will just get some food from there.
I spend a lot of time in his room with him. He's not much of a lap cat, and he doesn't like to be held for too long. But he does love to nudge me and ask me to pet and scratch his ears and under his chin. He just is not used to close human contact, so it will take a while for him to become accustomed to a life where he does not have to go door-to-door begging for a meal; a life where a warm bed and cold water to drink are always available; a life where he is safe and secure, and where he does not have to find shelter from the storms of life.
This boy. This 18-year-old boy. The stories he could tell would break our hearts. It hurts to think of that. But now, he can start to tell happy stories - once the shock of it wears off - and he learns that yes, he can live a good life after all. Now, soon, he will believe.
7/28/18 - There are many things in life that are just so simple, so easy. Loving an animal - that is one.
You see, I am the lucky one. Here at Baughman Street White House, there lives many a cat and one dog. They are all special in their own way. But this Old Fella - an 18 year old cat who has been through more than any of us can imagine...living on concrete pavement, no place to call his own and counting on the generosity of some kind-hearted strangers to throw crumbs his way.
He's met many people throughout his life...some who loved him, some who fed him and some who offered him shelter when he asked for it. I thank the good Lord that there are people out there who can see the suffering of an animal, who can know that an animal has no home and has no food. Those people who helped Old Fella throughout his life - I just know that their goodness does not go unnoticed by the almighty God.
"Praise God from whom all blessings flow." We've sung that song so many times. Yet, how many of us have stopped to think of what those words really mean? Well I'm here to tell you that Old Fella is my blessing.
This morning, I spent three hours on the floor with my boy. I cried with him, I scratched his ears and under his chin, and I stroked every part of his scrawny little body - feeling his bones through his skin, feeling the painful mattes remaining in his fur, and listening to him purr with me laughing while he drooled through his fangs!
We're friends, Old Fella and I. Souls who have understood harsh words, betrayal, rejection, brokenness, imperfections, struggles with no answers and loneliness and suffering. Yet, we are here...alive by the grace of God. Strangers until just days ago - until I looked into his yearning eyes, his big green eyes - and I knew. I knew of his will to survive, I knew God had brought us together.
A simple message on Facebook brought attention to this magnificent cat's life, and here we are, together...one day at a time. Resting. Healing. Learning to love and trust each other.
Today was the first day that Old Fella had eaten here in his room. Today was the first day that Old Fella rubbed his face into mine - to say thank you. Yes, I know that's what he was saying, because I was saying it to him.
What a gift love is - even between an old, skinny, homeless, scraggly, unwanted, forgotten, bony cat and his human friend with her own weaknesses. Compassion, understanding and tender loving care - words to live by.
Simple, and easy. God's blessings to all who are sharing in this story.
7/30/18 - The saying goes - "It's wonderful what God can do with all of our brokenness when we give him all of the pieces. Thanks, Pastor Donna Leatherman, for your daily online devotions. They add such meaning to my life.
Angie Fulton and I hope she will be illustrating my next book about the journey of this old broken-down, scraggly, bony cat named Old Fella. She has already begun her illustrations!
8/01/18 - Today is the day that Old Fella returns to LaVale Veterinary Hospital after one week of TLC at the Baughman Street White House.
He will have his blood work re-evaluated, and if determined appropriate, he will undergo anesthesia for dental work, his official haircut to remove all of his tangled and matted fur and get updated on his shots.
Each day, this beautiful cat has seemed to improve. He takes his oral medication pretty well and doesn't get mad at me afterwards. I remember those few first times - if looks could kill!!! LOL
Old Fella eats like a horse now, and he just can't seem to get enough to eat. I suppose that comes from never knowing where his next meal is coming from. Can you imagine living that kind of life? Can you imagine roaming through the streets, no matter the weather, and having to scrounge through garbage cans and go door-to-door - trying to get scraps to eat - every single day of your life?
Well, no more, Old Fella. After Dr. Folk gets you all better, there will be no more garbage cans for you. There will be no more begging, no more being soaking wet and freezing cold, no more days dying of thirst, no more being unloved and forgotten.
Old Fella ~ there are so many people to thank for your new life. People who believed one big old, bony cat deserved the good life...deserved a chance to live out his remaining time with people who loved him and who would take care of him. And, I just happen to know those people!
I have already started to write a book about Old Fella and the story of his rescue. Angie Fulton wants to illustrate, so this will be an exciting venture! And soon, I may be having a little contest to give Old Fella a brand new name.
Stay tuned, my friends!

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 "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.