by Gina DeNofa
Minya, a very sweet cat, was terrified when the strange people came and put her into a chilling carrier she had never been in before. The hard plastic and glass front carrier still retained the essence of dread from other animals; no amount of bleach and cleansers can ever wash fear away.
“I can’t afford her,” was the blunt and short explanation of Minya’s owner to the woman behind the lobby office in the Animal Care and Control (ACCT) shelter on West Hunting Park Avenue.
“You can participate in our program to have free food, so your cat won’t go hungry,” the woman mentioned, having little optimism that this would deter the man’s decision; so many animals are turned in who could be saved but instead are killed.
Minya’s wide green eyes never wavered from her abandoning owner, pleading that they just go back home. But the man just shook his head no in response to the offer of free food. A kennel attendant came in the shelter lobby and picked up the carrier that held Minya. The young tabby, now feeling even more afraid, meowed to her abandoning owner as he left the shelter after signing over the life of a sweet friend who had no say in the matter and who would never betray him as he did her.
Minya peered through the carrier’s scratchy glass to find many, many cats and dogs in the same position as she was in. Some were given up by their owners, making minor excuses sound extreme to prove they were in the right to disregard a great friend’s loyalty. Others were strays that people found and, instead of trying to find their homes or help them locate new ones, brought them to the shelter. Then there were others who were just dropped off in boxes or tied up along the shelter property with a note or no information left at all.
But despite the reasons why the sad souls are here, they all had one thing in common, including Minya, whose heart had the same sense of dread: They were betrayed.
Minya was hauled into the intake room, then was given a brief lookover and vaccinations. It appeared that Minya was early term pregnant, so she was spayed. Why bring more unwanted lives into the world when there are kittens already born to die now? Spaying and neutering prevents lives that would know nothing but relentless suffering and death.
So the little tabby sat in a small, caged cubicle. It had a litter box and food, but the comforts of a home were completely erased from her beloved world. All around, Minya heard and felt the hopes and despair of fellow felines in cages. In the distance was the barking and whining of dogs begging to be let out of their steel kennels. How could Minya’s owner have done this?
What did she do wrong? What did they all do wrong to be here? All she could do now was curl herself up on a newspaper, pretend it was carpet, and try to sleep. Try to block out all this confusion and hurt. Right now, all the cat wanted was someone. . . anyone to take this all away.
After several days, Minya’s worries had collided with her health, and the stress began to affect her immunity. The tabby had gotten a very bad cold. She became congested and had to use her mouth in order to get a decent amount of air into her lungs. The shelter staff gave her medicine, but it’s very hard to get better when being so stressed. The expression “Nothing to sneeze at” is quite true when it comes to colds in shelter animals. When the facility is full and cage space is required, the ones chosen to be euthanized are normally the ones who are ill. And if sneezes do not fade, then sadly, that animal will.
Minya sensed the worry from the volunteers of the shelter when they saw her mouth opened for air. The cat was noted as urgent, and needed to be adopted or rescued before her small cage space was needed for another cat who had a better shot of being adopted.
Fair? Of course not. Sad? Very.
Minya saw her cage mate, an older cat who was found as a neutered stray and couldn’t stop coughing, taken out of his confines by a kennel attendant. At first, the black and white Tom was thrilled to be out; he purred through coughs with the thought of going home. However, all those hopes were crushed as he was put in one of those scary plastic and glass carriers once more. The solemn expression of the kennel attendant revealed what was going on, and the cat’s purrs faded, along with himself several minutes later.
Minya was put in another carrier, but she would be leaving the shelter alive. That’s because she was chosen by a foster parent to provide a safe haven until a forever home would be within paws’ reach.
When you adopt from ACCT Philly, whether from a foster parent or directly from the shelter, you save two lives: Minya, a wonderfully social three-year-old Abyssinian mix who enjoys warm hugs and attention. And another innocent life that can be given the opportunity to be loved again.
Please adopt Minya, and show her that she will be cherished from now on and never be betrayed again. Watch how much she loves to be petted at www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_rq5aXIpPw.
Minya has been vaccinated, spayed, tested negative for Felv and FIV and micro-chipped. She is great with people, loves to be held and enjoys playing and just being at your side.
Gina DeNofa is a cat rescuer from Northeast Philly whose rescued cats regularly appear in the Local. Those interested in Minya or in wanting to assist with rescue efforts can reach Gina at email@example.com.