February 3, 2016

ASPCA Happy Tails: Loving Lila

Not all victims of animal cruelty show physical signs of abuse. Some, like nine-year-old cat Lila, carry their scars in their hearts. But despite her years of psychological and emotional trauma, this tough kitty overcame her difficult past and went on to find the safe and loving home of her dreams. Here is Lila’s Happy Tail.

Lila was one of nine cats the ASPCA rescued from the home of a hoarder in June 2014. It was a tragic situation of neglect, and Lila coped by developing a defensive personality. Both anxious and edgy, she flinched whenever anyone touched her and was easily stressed by handling. The poor girl had likely never experienced a kind human hand.

After her rescue, Lila spent over a month at the ASPCA Animal Hospital, where she was diagnosed with a cardiac arrhythmia that would require lifelong medication. We worried that as a senior cat with special needs, she would have a hard time finding an adopter. In April 2015, she found someone willing to give her a chance, but sadly, it was less than 30 days before she was returned. The adopter said that she had a complete intolerance for being handled and that it simply was not a good fit. We understood, and took Lila back under our wing.

Despite all these setbacks, we are never willing to give up on an animal in our care. We were more determined than ever to find Lila a home, and six months later, we hit the jackpot in Mauro R. and his girlfriend, Kelsey.

“Kelsey has always loved cats, and I began to like them too after meeting her family’s cat and getting to know feline friends better,” Mauro tells us. “First we started fantasizing about having a cat around the house, and gradually the idea became more and more realistic until we decided to adopt one.” The couple visited the ASPCA Adoption Center a few times with the specific hope of finding a senior cat. “We felt that perhaps an older cat would be the right fit for our place. We also thought that older cats are less easily adopted, and that they would be very grateful to find a nice place to retire.”

At the Adoption Center, Mauro and Kelsey were introduced to Lila. We told them about her history and struggles, but they were unfazed: “We didn’t see this as a limit to establishing a relation, but rather as an opportunity since our home is such a quiet place and would actually be comforting to her.” They were also drawn to the fact that, despite her cautious nature, Lila seemed curious and drawn to them. “You can tell that she likes people. She stares right into your eyes in an attempt to read you.”

The couple went on to meet a few other cats that afternoon, but they continued to return to Lila throughout the day. On one of their visits, something incredible happened: Feisty, fearful Lila sat in their laps. “That was the sign there was a special connection,” Mauro says. He and Kelsey adopted her that day.

In her new apartment, Lila’s progress continued to astound. “We were told that she had been returned because she couldn’t adjust to her previous home,” Mauro recalls, “However, we were amazed by how quickly she adjusted.” On just her second day, Lila decided that she could trust Mauro and Kelsey—and she even the first move to approach them!

Now that some months have passed, Lila is like a whole new cat. Mauro tells us, “She is completely at ease in her home. She follows us from room to room and she likes sleeping in the bed with us every night. She’s very cuddly, gentle and loving.”

We are beyond happy that, after all she has been through, Lila has found a home where she feels safe enough to relax. Her incredible transformation is proof that every animal deserves a second chance, and that in the right home, anything is possible! Mauro says, “Every time we come in the door she does a happy roll on the floor and waits for you to pet her belly. We’re so glad she feels comfortable opening up to us.”