On June 13th, Stephanie Barr’s lunch break was interrupted by a horrendous act.
She witnessed a man pull up to the Sheridan Hotel in Brandon, Florida, in a charcoal grey Toyota Camry, acting suspiciously. The white male, estimated to be in his forties, had dark hair and was wearing a baseball cap.
Seeing the Florida firefighter license plate, Stephanie watched in awe as the man opened his trunk, tossed out 2 cats and sped off!
Instincts kicking in, she pulled out her phone as fast as possible and snapped a few photos. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to get the license plate information and the man was not caught. They all hope sharing the story will bring in new information.
She then called St. Francis Society Animal Rescue for help. Volunteers were quickly dispatched and they rushed to the scene.
Fortunately they were able to locate and trap both cats, sadly traumatized by the ordeal.
They were rushed to a local vet and both found to have several broken and missing teeth. One of the cats also had a severed lip.
They had obviously been horribly mistreated, but despite that, were still very sweet to their rescuers.
The male, estimated to be 6-years-old, was named Raja.
He had a crooked tail which, after x-rays, was determined to be from an old injury.
Raja also tested positive for FIV; a misunderstood virus but in no way a death sentence.
The other cat was a 2-year-old female they named Dinah. She was malnourished and only weighed about 7 pounds.
Obviously hungry and starved, the poor girl growled throughout her first meal. This meant she likely had lived on the streets, fighting for any food that she was able to get.
Both cats had to go dental surgery due to the injuries from the incident.
Dinah lost a tooth and Raja devastatingly lost FIVE! Four of his small front teeth and one canine all had to be surgically removed ASAP from the damage done.
They also have dental disease from living on the streets for an unknown amount of time with no medical care or preventative attention.
This didn’t stop St. Francis Society volunteer and foster mom extraordinaire, Rachel Fazio, from welcoming the duo into her home.
No matter the difficult life and rough exteriors of the felines, she knew there was a heart waiting to be shown love under the tattered fur and scars.
The next task is to find the perfect fur-ever home for both cats!
Luckily fosterers can give all the inside details and “scoop” on a cats true purrsonality.
Raja’s rough look couldn’t be more deceiving.
His ears are scarred and folded over from repeated infections and hematomas. He requires regular ear cleaning to prevent wax buildup.
But this big boy turned out to be quite the love-bug…of course only when it’s his choice.
“He isn’t an everyday lap cat,” Rachel says, “but he does enjoy lap time or just being close to his people. He gets along with other cats. The other cats tend to be cautious of him because he looks grumpy with those folded ears.”
There are numerous other fosters living with the Fazio family, and Raja seems to not mind them at all. One girl was even allowed to nuzzle up to him and play though, torti Okoye.
I mean we get it Raja, she’s quite the looker! <3
With foster families though, the goal is goodbye, and Okoye soon found her furever home. She was the only one who gave him affection out of all the cats and Raja clearly missed her.
Rachel believes he would do well in a house with calm dogs and older kids. He’d certainly be fine with or without other cats, but would prefer those who aren’t overly vocal because of his sensitive ears.
He is a gentle boy and has only ever feebly play swatted at the other cats. She says he reminds her of Eeyore, just meandering around the house.
One unfortunate thing she has found the hard way, is that you must be weary of catnip around Raja. The 3 times that he encountered this he urinated on the floor in excitement!
Other than that, he is a purrfect gentleman, always using his litter box and never scratching the furniture.
Raja gets L-lysine and probiotics regularly and his diet consists primarily of wet food due to his dental issues.
Dinah has physically faired better, but emotionally is more cautious and tends to hide.
She clearly wants love but is weary of humans…after her ordeal, can you blame her?
She would hide under the bed, but just at the edge so Rachel could still pet her. Her fur-ever home will need to be patient and let her come out of her shell in her time.
Once she does however, Dinah is very talkative and loves to tell her stories. She enjoys spending time near her humans and sleeping with them.
So far other cats don’t matter either way. Dinah has started to play independently and will play with certain wand toys.
Rachel doesn’t think dogs or kids would be good for her though.
They had been making lots of progress until her dental surgery. Years of neglect sadly led to another 3 teeth being extracted.
After the procedure, it has taken 3 weeks for her to start coming back out again. She even had to be fed under the bed.
These are just the things you accept and gladly do for abused animals. It takes time to heal.
But these two beauties are ready for their new lives to begin.
The only problem is how do you show cats who were tortured and tossed away to potential adopters?
How does a FIV+, older cat with PTSD compete with fluffy, snuggly kittens?
I personally was at adoption events where Raja sat in a cage, dressed like a dapper gent in a tie. Passerby’s oooh’d and awww’d at him all day, but alas, no new parents stepped forward.
He was in the cage right next to Niti and Ru and didn’t make a peep or angry noise all day.
What he was though, was scared.
The traumatized boy has to make a scary car journey to each event. We all know what he likely thinks of cars!
So now, we need to spread the word for these 2 deserving felines and help them find homes!
If you live in the Tampa area and want to be the lucky human that Raja or Dinah… or BOTH, welcome home each day, please email their foster mom @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
REMEMBER: ADOPT, DON’T SHOP, FOSTERING SAVES LIVES & SPAY AND NEUTER!