A Tribute to Wilfred

In 2021, a local animal control officer contacted Our Companions about an unfortunate situation involving a senior cat. The owner’s condo was getting foreclosed on and she needed to vacant the property, and ultimately needed to surrender her senior cat. The owner would sometimes describe the cat as shy, sometimes feral. She would mention the cat would hide all the time, but would sometimes sit next to her and can be pet. It was difficult to get a clear picture, but things certainly came to light when animal control got involved. The owner was unable to get the cat in a carrier, therefore an animal control officer had to come and trap the cat. The home was severely cluttered with debris, signs of a hoarded home, and upon bringing the cat to the vet, her physical condition showed signs of neglect. Hearing her story and knowing she needed a safe, stable place to heal, Our Companions welcomed Wilfred to the Sanctuary.

Wilfred was estimated to be around 15 years old at the time and was diagnosed with late stage kidney disease prior to her arrival. Wilfred was in desperate need of dental work, she had dental disease and numerous teeth missing, as well as ingrown toenails and a limp due to an old injury that healed incorrectly. Our incredible Cat Team immediately got to work with a care plan that involved a prescription diet, supplements, like Hydracare to help with hydration, pain medication to help with any discomfort, and getting a dental surgery scheduled as soon as possible to help relieve any further pain in her mouth. If an animal doesn’t physically feel well, they certainly aren’t going to feel mentally well. Ensuring Wilfred’s health was stable was the first step in a long road of healing.

As the Cat Team continued to help Wilfred feel better, we knew her mental wounds would take much longer to heal. Wilfred spent much of her time in her room hiding, afraid of people and the unknown. We made sure she had plenty of comfy spots to hide to feel safe in her new environment. Only a small circle of people were allowed in her room so she could get comfortable with her new routine and new smells. The Cat Team was dedicated to keeping consistent with her care so Wilfred felt more relaxed knowing what to expect day to day. As months went by, and as we entered the new year, Wilfred showed very small, subtle signs that she was starting to become more comfortable with people. Though many might think that this wasn’t much improvement, but for us, we knew we were on the right track. When neglected, traumatized animals enter our Sanctuary, we’re never sure of how their rehabilitation will progress. Our goal is to always take things on their terms and in their own time, and with love, care and support, they will show us the way. Wilfred would start to spend time in her room out in the open or giving slow blinks, letting us know that she was starting to trust her human friends. We followed her lead and continued with her supportive care, and against all odds, she began to open her heart to us.

Wilfred loved her spot by the window where the sunlight shined directly on her bed and made it warm and lovely. During the colder months, the Cat Team put a heating pad underneath her bed so her favorite spot could still be warm for sweet Wilfred. For some enrichment, she was given some delicious cat grass and Wilfred loved munching it! As she continued to warm up to people, she would love when her friends brought crunchy treats or Churu treats to lick! She loved nothing more than rubbing up against her Lil Pals’ brushes. She had about half a dozen in her room so we could always grab one and give her the cheek rubs she loved so much.

Given all that Wilfred has been through, though we’ll never know the depth of her experiences, she still was able to find peace and hope at our Sanctuary and with our compassionate community. We even posted Wilfred up for adoption to see if maybe there could be a chance for our girl to find peace and friendship in a home. However, as Wilfred began to enter her late teens, her health began to decline. Despite all of our interventions and objections, nature was taking it’s course. Wilfred had good days and bad days and her care began to vary week by week. She was observed daily to ensure she had a great quality of life and was still enjoying the simple things she loved; a sunny, warm bed, yummy treats to eat, and being brushed and adored by her friends. As her bad days started to heavily outweigh her good ones, we made the difficult decision to help ease her passing over the Rainbow Bridge. She sat on the lap of one of her first friends at the Sanctuary, surrounded by the same love she was given when she first was welcomed to our Sanctuary family. Lindsey, Feline Team Assistant Manager at our Sanctuary, wrote a beautiful email notifying our volunteers of Wilfred’s passing. She wrote, “I’m grateful for the Sanctuary for giving such vulnerable cats like Wilfred a place to just simply be. To be accepted and loved (sometimes from a distance) but always for exactly who they are – not in spite of. To enjoy some much deserved rest, relaxation, and peace after a lifetime of struggle and discomfort. It’s a place every cat, every creature, every person deserves.”

Below are kind words from our community in response to Lindsey’s email. Thank you to everyone that has loved Wilfred, whether it was with her or from afar, and all of our precious animals at the Sanctuary. Just know that your time and support makes an incredible difference in the lives of these animals, and we truly appreciate all that you do. Wilfred, we are forever grateful your path in life found us and we will miss you dearly. May you rest in peace over the Rainbow Bridge at last.

Dina + Loren P.- Hi Lindsey. We wanted to say that we are sorry about Wilfred’s passing. Loren got this cute picture of her last month. She said Wilfred did a paw dip in the water bowl and drank from it, just like our silly girl. 😊❤️🐱🐾 Loren was so happy that Wilfred came out with her in the room. You guys took good care of her. ❤️

Sandra G.- Fly high sweet girl!💙 You will have a space in my heart forever. I have no words to describe the feeling of knowing that our companions existed for her. Everyone just does their absolute best to care about every single kitty. It’s just so special.

Sally D.- I am grateful that I was privileged to sit with her.

Jill K.- What a beautiful letter, thank you for sharing and so sorry for the loss of the sweet girl.

Mandy W.- I’m so sorry. Thank you for taking such amazing care of this beautiful lady ❤️

Risa D.- So sorry, Lindsey. This is a beautiful tribute. Her story sounds similar to Gumball’s – OC able to give them a wonderful life after years of struggle and neglect. Very rough week at the Sanctuary.

Robin W.- So sorry about beautiful Wilfred. I am happy we got to meet her once. I am thankful she got to live out her time at the sanctuary with people who loved her.

Carolann H.- So sorry to see this news about Wilfred. I was able to see her only a couple times and during those times she rubbed on the brush for me and drank using her paw. I remember thinking how cute that was. Such a loss to our sanctuary but I’m so glad she found peace there. My condolences to you and the rest of the staff.

Sue R.- I did not know Wilfred but I can see her thru your writings. I’m still learning. But I’m glad I have the opportunity to help these homeless kitties.

Mary F.- Lindsey; I did not know Wilfred except from a distance. This pretty girl deserved a safe and loving life. It was given to her at the sanctuary… like my Gummy. I’m still full of tears, but I know in my heart that they were both given so much love. As I write this, my pups are snuggling all over me… because that’s what they are… pure unconditional love. Comfort to you. This place is truly heaven on earth for these deserving babies. I believe they watch over us.❤️

Silvia R.-  Her last days were full of love and care from you all. She is resting and her health is restored. She is happy🐾🐈😿😻🐱💖💜💛

Clyde A.- I am sorry to hear that sweet Wilfred has passed. She is not in pain anymore. She lived her last days surrounded by loving, caring people.

Melissa W.- So so sad. I know it was for the best but never makes the pain easier. She was so sweet, I loved her little meows she did when giving her head rubs. Boy did she love those rubs. I loved visiting her because I knew it was a time of calm. Laying on the floor or balancing on furniture to give head rubs in her window seat. I am going to miss her dearly.

Val W.- Wilfred was such a good girl!! I will miss her a lot. She would purr and meow for me during brushing. Such a sweetie. It always amazes me how these animals who come from such terrible circumstances still manage to give us humans a second chance!!! ❤️ she will always be a part of our family!

Susannah M.- Poor sweet Wilfred. I’m so sorry. Thank you all for doing the right thing for animals, always.

Michele F.- Sending lots of peaceful thoughts to all that loved Wilfred. 💜 Such a special girl.