We all know that physical abuse and extreme neglect constitute cruelty to animals—but one little-discussed form of cruelty is abandonment. Though it seems less dramatic than other violations, abandonment is indeed cruelty—and its consequences can be just as dire. For proof, look no further than Hal the cat, an animal whose health was profoundly compromised due to abandonment—and who ultimately found his happiness in a new forever home. Here is Hal’s Happy Tail.
Hal came to the ASPCA in July 2013 after being found abandoned in a carrier on the street. Left without care or provisions, his teeth were badly decayed and his mouth was bleeding. Because of significant oral pain, he was unable to groom himself and was so severely matted that his entire body needed to be shaved. Already emaciated, Hal’s teeth had to be removed, which forced him onto a special soft-food diet. And that wasn’t even the worst of it. During his time on the streets, he contracted persistent Giardia (an intestinal parasite) that likely came from drinking dirty puddle water. The poor cat had been through so much hardship, all because someone chose to abandon him on the street.
After a year in our care, Hal was stronger and healthier. Despite all he had been through, he was a social and affectionate boy, though slightly shy with new people. He was ready for his forever home, and we were eager to find him an adopter. Fortunately, it was around this time that Isabella R. made the decision to adopt a cat.
“I had been checking the ASPCA blog frequently and reading stories about all of these exceptional animals looking for their forever homes,” says Isabella. “Eventually, toward the end of June, I decided it was time to adopt.” At the ASPCA Adoption Center, Isabella spent two days meeting almost every available kitty, but she was having trouble choosing just one to be her new furry friend. When Hal started meowing suddenly, she asked an ASPCA volunteer about his history. “She told me Hal’s heartbreaking story, and afterwards I asked if I could offer him some treats,” she recalls. “As I opened his door, he started eagerly meowing again, and I knew that my home was now his home, too.”
Isabella adopted Hal that day, and he settled right into her apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. “I felt instantly connected and devoted to Hal,” says Isabella. “There is nothing I appreciate more than having him curled up on the side of my bed each night, or having him greet me at the door when I come home.” In fact, Isabella was so taken with her new buddy that she went back to the ASPCA two weeks later and adopted Hal’s new brother, Ari!
After his rough experience on the streets, Hal now spends his days happy, loved, well-fed and cared for. Never again will he experience the insidious pain of abandonment, and never again will he want for anything. Isabella says, “I cannot imagine my home without Hal in it,” but we’re pretty positive that Hal cannot imagine a better life than the one she has given him.
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