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ASPCA Happy Tails: A Very Special “Special Needs” Cat

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 10:00am
Small grey cat wearing glasses

In celebration of the ASPCA’s new collaboration with Lil BUB, we’re dedicating this week’s Happy Tail to another special needs cat, Ella. Ella was adopted from the ASPCA in 2012, and was soon after diagnosed with terminal cancer. Despite the challenges of her illness, her adopter, Stephen B., has nothing but love for this sweet older cat. Here is their Happy Tail.

Stephen met Ella on his very first trip to the ASPCA. Drawn in by her glowing green eyes, he says, “When we found out that Ella had lived her entire life in shelters and never had a real home before, there was really no chance of saying no to her.” After Ella’s adoption, Stephen discovered tumors on her stomach and learned that she had terminal cancer. “My first reaction was to be glad that we had given her a real home for the last months of her life, or however long she had left,” recalls Stephen.

As time went on, their relationship strengthened. Stephen says, “She is very much my cat, and I’m very much her human.” In fact, he put together a “Bucket List” for Ella after receiving her diagnosis! “One of the things I really wanted to do was try taking her outside on a leash. She likes to sit on my window and look outside, so I thought she should have a chance to actually feel the grass beneath her paws.”

Grey cat with green eyes sitting outside on the grass

Four months after her first outdoor excursion, Stephen sent an exciting update: New X-rays show that Ella’s cancer has subsided, and her three-month prognosis has been updated to at least a few years. Whether it was the grass, Stephen’s love, or simply a miracle, we’ll never know, but we are so happy that this feisty feline will be around for a long time to come.

Stephen says, “Ella is probably the smartest decision I’ve made in my adult life. Cats with medical conditions deserve love just as much as the rest of them, and they’re so, so ready to give it.”

Watch Stephen and Ella’s story, including her first foray into the outdoors, in this beautiful video by our friends at The Sidekick Series.

Sleeping cat curled up on bed

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Julie

What a beautiful cat and wonderful story. In Aug 2013 we came back from vacation only to find a stray cat behind my car. She did not run, but came right to me. She was a most unusual Calico. I couldn't bring her inside immediately, even though I wanted to, because we have 4 other "rescues" inside. I gave her a rug to lay on and food & water, which she went over to right away. When I got home from work the next day, she was still there. I went in for a carrier and took her to our vet, even though I did not have an appointment. When they checked her out she had a large cancerous tumor in her right ear. We speculate her previous owner threw her out when they knew she was sick and didn't want to spend the money. The Vet removed it and kept her 3 days. My husband set up a cage we had for a previous sick cat and "Lucy" had her own kitty condo. I wish we would have had her as a kitten. She was a sweet & loving cat and I would tell her how pretty she was every day while I held her. Unfortunately the cancer spread to her brain & she had a seizure 3 months later. We ended up spending almost $1,000.00, but she was worth every penny, just to know we made her life a little better in the end! My babies give us so much and ask nothing but love back.

Stephen

It is folks like you, Julie, that really know what it means to receive unconditional love. Let's hope everyone will get on board and head to the shelter to adopt!

Liz

Hooray for Ella and Stephen! I wish you both many, many more happy times together.

I just adopted a 16 yo owner surrender myself so I understand Stephen's sentiments all too well. Mikey was skin and bones, severely anemic, raging kidney infection, dreadful teeth and has renal disease. I really thought this would be a hospice situation for him. In the three months he's been with me, he's gained weight, anemia resolved, and infection cleared. Of course the renal disease isn't going anywhere, but just got word this morning from the cardiologist he's cleared for anesthesia to get those teeth cleaned/extracted! Despite his litany of health issues, he is such a sweet and loving boy. I'm so happy to be his mom for however long the good Lord sees fit. Older, special needs kitties aren't everyone's cup of tea, but don't give up on the little ones. They have lots of love to give and are sponges absorbing all the love we give back.

Here's to the Ellas and the Mikeys of the world!

Janice

What a lovely and inspirational story. Truly a match made in heaven. Thank you Stephen for your kindness and compassion and your gift of love to darling Ella.

Igor Purlantov

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story. Best wishes to Ella and her amazing family!

Gail

I'm so happy at how this turned out!! The fact that Ella will live years instead of months is so amazing and a testament to the love Stephen gave this cat.

When I made the difficult decision to put down my beautiful cat Petunia due to a terminal condition, I also decided to take her out and let her walk around on the grass. I didn't need a leash because she was so frail by that time. But I did get to witness her chasing fireflies on one of her last nights in the world.

Thank you to Stephen and Ella for such an inspiring tale of love. I wish all people felt this way about animals.

Mary-Anne

Magnificent story. My Tzu Tzu was an abandonded cat in the housing market collapse and today she is a loved little girl. God Bless all the animals in
the world and the people that help them.
What a beautiful story about Ella. May the two of you enjoy much life and
happiness and love - quite a bond between you both. God Bless you both.

Mary-Anne

Magnificent story. My Tzu Tzu was an abandonded cat in the housing market collapse and today she is a loved little girl. God Bless all the animals in
the world and the people that help them.
What a beautiful story about Ella. May the two of you enjoy much life and
happiness and love - quite a bond between you both. God Bless you both.

micheline dm

It truly feels so good to hear of Stephen and Ella!Thank you very much for loving and caring Ella .She looks happy and sweet.You are a goos person Stephen!God bless.

Lori and her f...

BLESS YOU & ELLA.

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