The following story is about our friends at Andy’s Friends in Wilmington, DE. The story is taken from their website. To learn more about Andy’s Friends, go to: www.andysfriends.org
” Who is Andy? The better question is who Andy was…Andy was a handsome, muscular, tame and loving house pet. Adopted as a kitten, his family doted on him, enjoying his antics and play. But kittens grow up to become cats and people often forget their pledge to provide a lifetime of safety and love. One day his family moved from the neighborhood and left him behind mistakenly believing he would be able to survive outside alone. Having no skills to live outdoos he roamed from house to house, begging for food and seeking shelter from the elements under shrubbery and decks.
Having no regular access to food Andy’s once muscular body became painfully thin. Because he was small and vulnerable he was an easy target for larger cats that patrolled their own territory. They bit him and caused painful abscesses to form on his neck and legs. He was exposed to FIV and feline leukemia. Still he held no grudges and was grateful for any hand that reached down to give him a quick scratch or pet.
He was referred to as a “neighborhood cat” and roamed, stopping along the way at the homes of people he knew would leave him food. They never invited him inside.
I heard about Andy “the neighborhood cat” from a friend. Knowing that there is no safety, care or love for neighborhood cats I went to find him. The following is our story.
It was about 6:00 at night, bitterly cold and pouring rain. Through the frantic slapping of my windshield wipers I heard the weatherman say we had gotten 2” of rain since noon. “Not weather for man or beast” I thought to myself, as I turned into a side road for a shortcut home.
And then I saw him; a crumpled little figure bowed resignedly into the heavy rain, clearly a starved cat with no resources left to care for himself. I pulled the car along side him and to my surprise he simply climbed in and buried himself into my raincoat. “Andy,” I whispered, “You’ll be Andy.” It seemed a necessarily cheerful and robust name for such a fragile animal.
Once home Andy ate and drank everything I put before him. He purred. His long fur was hopelessly matted and his ears so dirty he couldn’t hear. I made a bed of blankets for him and he slept, fed and comfortable for the first time in years. I watched his little chest rise and fall and my tears rose, and then rolled down my face. What a miserable life this stoic little animal had endured; yet he remained loving and affectionate. He had been let down by every human in his life.
The next morning we headed to the vet. He was shocked by Andy’s condition. He had suffered almost every kind of crisis that can overcome a cat. He endured the prodding and poking, and the needles. There was one terrible shock that I was not prepared for.
An hour later I stood alone in the hall of the animal hospital as alone as I have ever felt. I looked down at the little crate where Andy had spent one safe, comfortable night of his life. Andy had tested positive for leukemia and FIV, two major threats for abandoned cats. There was no hope for this tiny boy. Years of living outside without human protection had battered this little boy. All the good doctor was able to do was to ease the loving little cat, who had endured all the pain the human world can inflict, into God’s gentle hands. Andy died gently, perhaps the one blessing in his brutal life.
Andy’s ashes sit on a shelf by my window. I hope that his lively sweet soul is chasing bugs and butterflies the way in real life Andy never could. I held Andy before he died. I whispered into his ear a promise that I would devote my life to helping other abandoned, homeless and orphan cats and kittens from living and dying his fate.
This rescue group is dedicated to Andy’s memory with the pledge that we will seek out the homeless, abandoned and orphans and work to provide them with everything they need until a safe and loving home can be found.”