In a story that serves as both a reminder to keep an eye out for the elderly and their pets: a badly-matted cat was found in its Pennsylvania residence in mid-December after her owner was to be placed in a nursing home.
The 14-year-old cat—who now goes by the name Hidey—was brought in by a relative to the Animal Rescue League (ARL) in Pittsburgh, where she was covered in excess fur and grime.
According to the ARL Facebook page, "She suffered from severe matting—dreadlocks, really— the likes of which had been neglected for years." Caitlin Lasky of the Western PA Humane Society tells petMD. Additionally, Lasky said that "Hidey is overweight and will need to lose weight to be in better health. She also has severe dry skin."
The ARL medical team shaved off nearly two pounds off Hidey's excess fur, which will help her begin to heal. When it comes to matted fur on cats, Lasky said it can cause extreme discomfort. "Mats can grow around limbs causing them to atrophy [and] moisture held within the mats can often create bacterial skin infections, [and the matted fur] can cause skin sores, lesions," she says.
Since her ordeal, Hidey has since been placed in a new, caring and able household, where the freshly-shorn feline is thriving.
The Western PA Humane Society reports via their Facebook page, that "Hidey's new owners have told us she was originally hiding under the bed in her new home, but now is snuggled on a warm cat bed on an open floor. She also begins purring while being held."
While Hidey's story could have been a tragic one, Dan Rossi, CEO of the Animal Rescue League Shelter and the Western PA Humane Society, hopes it serves as a reminder.
"The companionship of a pet can bring many positive benefits to the elderly, however, owning a pet is a large responsibility. If a family member, friend or neighbor owns a pet, please help them to make sure there is a support system in place if/when mental faculties begin diminishing," Rossi said in a statement. "Open door shelters such as Animal Rescue League Shelter and the Western PA Humane Society do not turn any animal away if there are no other options for the pet."
Images via Animal Rescue League/ Western PA Humane Society