The story continues...

8/7/18 - Just got the results of Old Fella's blood tests from yesterday. Dr. Folk told me that his anemia is a little better, but not where she wants it to be. His liver levels are a little elevated from last week at 203, with 130 being normal. She wasn't real concerned about his liver levels, though, since he has some really bad teeth and the liver is filtering that "yuck" from his system.

By Trish Morgan

For the News Tribune

The story continues...

8/7/18 - Just got the results of Old Fella's blood tests from yesterday. Dr. Folk told me that his anemia is a little better, but not where she wants it to be. His liver levels are a little elevated from last week at 203, with 130 being normal. She wasn't real concerned about his liver levels, though, since he has some really bad teeth and the liver is filtering that "yuck" from his system.

This is the plan: continue what I am doing as far as feeding him as often as he wants to be fed, as his body needs the nourishment. Then, bring him back to LaVale Veterinary Hospital on August 20th, when both Dr. Folk and the ultrasound doctor will be in to confer about Old Fella. I am to drop him off in the morning between 8-9 am, and then both doctors will do a re-testing of red blood count and liver levels. If the levels are not where the doctors believe they should be, an ultrasound of his abdomen will be done to rule out cancer. Yes cancer...and my heart just cannot even bear to think about that. My poor Old think that he was so alone for so many years, and then to have to get a diagnosis like that...oh, I pray not.

If his blood and liver levels are at comfortable levels for the doctors, Old Fella will go under anesthesia for his official haircut, his dental work (and yes, Dr. Folk said he will most likely lose his fangs), and get updated with his shots.

The really good news is that I am not going to be looking for someone to adopt Old Fella, and he will not be going to Dawn's Cat Sanctuary in Fort Ashby (although it was SO nice of her to offer). Old Fella will live out the remainder of his life with me...with my family that includes four grandchildren, five other cats and a dog. He will be well taken care of, and he is loved so much already. Old Fella really loves me and my 13-year-old grandson Kamden the best of all LOL!

So, life goes on at the Baughman Street White by day until August 20th. Old Fella will have his delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner every day - and some special treats, too. And I will talk to him, love him, scratch his chin, rub his ears and tell him over and over the story of his rescue and how magnificent and beautiful he is.

And, no matter how matted and scraggly and bony he is...he IS magnificent, and his life will be just grand!

His life will be a lot different...nothing like he has known. No more sadness and loneliness, no more gnawing hunger or extreme thirst, no more dangerous traffic or cold, hard pavements to get some sleep. Old Fella - he's safe now. Safe and loved, always...til his old man's heart beats no more.

I would like to especially thank Judy Metcalfe for her unexpected gift today to help with Old Fella's care. How sweet it was to open up my mail and find such love from a stranger. God's blessings, Judy. Thanks for keeping up with Old Fella's journey.

Please pray for Old Fella...eighteen years on Earth with very little love and goodness. If not for the generosity of kind-hearted strangers who gave him food and water, he would not have survived. Yes, I know he is only one cat among millions who roam the world over, but he has captured my heart and many of yours, too.

Thank you, my lovelies. May God bless your day.

8/08/18 - Oh, this glorious cat. I spent a lot of time with Old Fella this morning, and this was his first-ever photo session. If you have ever tried to take photos of your cat while he's trying to explore a new room in the house, well, you can understand how interesting it was!

Old Fella has been here now for over 2 weeks, and I hope you can tell in the photos how different he looks from his beginnings when he was rescued.

Because he was so dehydrated and malnourished, the doctor at the hospital said that Old Fella could have whatever and whenever he wanted it. So, he has been having breakfast, lunch and dinner and some crunchy cat food on the side to munch on whenever he feels a little hungry.

To me, it seems like my beautiful cat is starting to fill out. Yes, he's still on the skinny side, but I'm hoping when he returns to the doctor on August 20th, he shows a nice weight gain.

He has been working on his fur coat, as well. His fur is so matted on his chest, under his arms and on his tummy, but each morning when I feed him his breakfast, there are small mattes of fur that I have to clean up.

Old Fella has a terrific personality, too! He's starting to feel quite at home and he is a very vocal cat. When anyone walks in the room where he stays, he greets everyone with quite an unusual hello LOL. I just love to hear him talk. He talks when you pet him, too, especially when he has to listen to my baby talk HA!

Even though he might weigh about 9 pounds now, when he sprawls out in his favorite chair in his bedroom, his body takes up almost the entire seat! He is such a long cat, and next time that I post an update, I will have a measurement of him from the top of his head to the tip of his tail.

Old Fella shows no signs of being sick, and I am so thankful for that. So many people have been praying for him, and God listens to every single prayer - even if it is for a simple old cat. How meaningful for me it is that so many send messages that they are thinking about Old Fella. It means everything.

I would like to think that when Old Fella lived in Michigan, he was doted upon and loved so much. He must have been such a beautiful kitten...he just had to be. I would like to think that someone loved him so much, cared for him, fed him, played with him. After all, we know for a fact that Old Fella was neutered in 2000, based on his microchip. Someone took him to be neutered and most likely got his shots for him.

I would like to believe that perhaps it was a college student at the University of Michigan, which was located near the clinic where Old Fella was neutered. And then, I think that maybe that college student loved this old boy throughout his or her college years, and then for whatever reason, this college student came back to Cumberland. These are nice thoughts.

But, then the next 18 years of Old Fella's life we know hardly anything at all. There have been times over the past two weeks that I have cried about my cat and the life he has led since his return to Cumberland.

I would love to believe that during his Cumberland stay that he had a family at one time. He's such a nice, loving, affectionate cat - so he knew love at one time, that I do know. He's not feral - he was just homeless and hungry.

I try not to think of everything that he suffered on the streets. A cat without a home, a cat with no protection, no food or water and no one to love him. It breaks my heart. To be so all alone, yet survive 18 years - what he must have experienced - yet, he is here today. He is strong, free of his horrible life, and he is a survivor. And, he is mine.

Old Fella just loves my grandchildren. He talks to them, and in return, he asks for nothing but head rubs, chin scratchin' and hugs from Ava - who absolutely loves his Vampirina fangs!! In the next update, I will try to have a close-up picture of Old Fella's fangs. Just wait until you see THOSE!!

Thank you to everyone who continues to follow this story of Old Fella. It won't be long till he heads back to see the doctor, and we are hoping for good news. We do NOT want to hear the word cancer. I truly believe that he does not have cancer; he shows no signs of it at all, other than his significant low weight. But, if any of us had to live the life he had to live, we might be skin and bones, too.

8/9/18 - You should see Old Fella's fangs!  I'm sure these fangs have come in handy at various times in Old Fella's life LOL!! They sure are something else. Now if you have seen his picture that was taken just prior to his rescue, you can see what he looks like with his fangs hanging down! They are quite distinctive!!

Oh, I just have to tell you how well this cat is doing. When I come into his room, he jumps up onto my antique dresser that belonged to my grandmother, and he welcomes me with lots of talking. It's as if he is saying, "I am so glad to see you Mum! Where have you been all my life?" Old Fella, I was just here two hours ago HA!!"

I am collecting Old Fella's fur mattes that he has been slowly removing during his grooming. Based on the number of mattes that he has on his tummy and his chest, I would guess that he hasn't done much grooming for quite some time. He had more important things to take care of - like scrounging and foraging for food and water.

What stories my old man-cat could tell me. Stories of the love he once had in his life; stories of good neighbors who let this poor old homeless cat into their homes for some welcome visits; stories of blustery nights in dark corners, waiting on the morning sunshine to warm up his rickety bones. Eighteen years of loss, thirst and hunger, no one to scratch his ears or tell him he was magnificent and beautiful. Eighteen years of little hope, little kindness, little comfort or little moments to remember.

You know what? When I write these updates, many times I cry while I write. Like now. The tears flow as I think all the cats I have loved all of my life, and then over the last 18 years, when I didn't have to worry about where my next meal is coming from, and I had a warm bed and people who loved me - but my Old Fella didn't. So often, life is so unfair, and there may be people who read these updates who think, "it's just an old cat."

But to me, he is now part of my family. He loves me, sometimes when I'm not the most easy to love. That's the thing about cats...they seem to love the unlovable, the grouchy, the "I don't feel like messing with you" kinda people. And, they don't expect much in return. Just a little food and water, a clean litter box and some good conversation between friends.

Old Fella. At first, he just needed rescued and then taken to the hospital for immediate care. My intentions were to get him fully-vetted and ready for adoption, and then allow another family to re-name and love him for however long it was until he crossed over the Rainbow Bridge.

I should have known better LOL. I knew this grand old boy with fangs and a man-face was going to live at Baughman Street White House with the rest of my zoo. I knew it from the start. He makes me smile and laugh, and cry, too. He needed me as much as I needed him. And, God knew it. From the Humane Society of Huron Valley in Michigan, to south Cumberland to Westernport. And no further.

8/19/18 - Well, tomorrow is the day. Tomorrow is the day we find out if Old Fella has gotten a little more healthier since his last veterinary visit.

I know I won't get much sleep tonight. I'm trying not to think about cancer; I just won't think about it. My poor old kitty cat - he and I are fast friends, and we have been talking about good things. Good things like love, like head massages and chin scratchin', and all the food he wants.

We talk about how his old life is behind him, and how he no longer has to worry about bad things anymore. No more worries about being all alone in a thunderstorm - visibly shaking under a neighbor's car. No more worries about a foot of snow and blizzard conditions - just somehow trying to find a corner of some basement steps to stay warm. No more worries about neighborhood bullies who think scraggly-looking cats make great targets for their idea of fun.

My boy. I can't imagine how he survived for eighteen years. Isn't that incredible? Such stamina, such street smarts, such a keen sense of survival. My boy - a street thug. From that life to this life.

A transformation worthy of praise. It can't be easy for him - to have to be forced to live inside a stranger's home when he was used to being outside, and being his own boss, his own cat mafia boss on the corner.

Now, he's inside, with all of the comforts of a life he knew long ago. And tomorrow, he will be dropped off at the hospital for blood work - which will determine his liver levels and red blood count. If the numbers are good, he will be having surgery - dental surgery, and he may lose his huge fangs. Old Fella will also be shaved so that all of his mattes all over his body will be removed, and he can start all over and grow the most magnificent fur coat you ever did see! And finally, he will be updated on all of his shots.

On the other hand, if his blood work shows that his liver levels and his red blood count are not where they need to be, the doctors will do an is abdominal ultrasound to see if Old Fella has cancer.

No one has been praying more than me. I'm reaching out and asking for your prayers for my Old Fella. All I want is for my old boy to live out his life with a family who loves him. A family that has welcomed him into our zoo.

I will make another post tomorrow as soon as I get the word from the doctors. Thank you for following this glorious story of love and compassion. My Old Fella is just a simple, skin and bones, matted old cat...just a cat. Just a cat. But, to love just a cat is filling my cup and running over.

To be continued next week for the final installment...

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, MD. 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.