In the world of cat rescue and adoption, volunteers and workers sadly know a few things to be true.
- Black cats are the least likely to be adopted.
- Senior cats are likely overlooked for adoption when “up against” kittens.
- FIV+ cats are often euthanized due to the misconceptions and outdated stigmas attached to the virus.
At the Ontario Feral Cat Project, one beautiful feline was not just fighting against one of these issues–she was battling all three!
Poor Karma had led a difficult life from the beginning. She was found on the streets in a feral community during a TNR project (Trap/Neuter/Return) in early 2015. They estimated she was at least 8-years-old at the time. However, her discovered status as FIV positive meant that she would have to remain indoors.
While FIV+ cats can live long, healthy lives, their exposure to others in aggressive conditions needs to be avoided. Life on the streets for a cat is never easy and fighting for their lives is not uncommon. They should also have high quality diets and supplements to keep their immune systems top notch. So Karma joined her temporary family at the Constance Mc Cullough House – Ontario Feral Cat Project (OFCP).
Karma was suffering from severe gum disease and unfortunately had to have ALL her teeth removed. They focused on the positives though. FIV is primarily spread through deep bite wounds…and with no teeth, there’d be no biting!
Although Karma wasn’t used to life indoors with other cats, so they wanted her to be adopted as an only cat. This was the best way to keep her calm and give her the love she willingly gave to humans.
It didn’t take long for someone special to see the same in Karma.
“On May 2nd, 2015 Lora Lee Martin came to OFCP in search of a companion. She got more than she bargained for, she met Onyx (Karma)….. it was instant love for both of them. Onyx absolutely melted into her arms. Onyx was an older gal and was FIV positive, but Lora Lee didn’t care, she knew she found her forever companion!!!”
Now, Lora Lee and her gorgeous ear-tipped, black cat spent their retirement days enjoying life. The perfect pair, they would sit together, Lora Lee enjoying a glass of brandy and Onyx enjoying her catnip.
Their happiness didn’t last long enough though and in late 2016, Lora Lee passed away.
Her caregiver knew how special her beloved feline was and did everything she could to help her get adopted again. They thought they found another home that would love Onyx as Lora Lee did.
A month later when the caregiver visited Karma’s new home, she was saddened to see that the cat was very unhappy. Onyx was scared and snuggled into the familiar human, hiding her face.
Once again, Karma was up for adoption.
Happily, another forever mom stepped forward soon after and seemed to adore Karma. They could breathe a sigh of relief that the senior, toothless, FIV+, black cat wouldn’t have to contend with other “more adoptable” cats.
In the summer of 2017, a caretaker of a feral community reached out to OFCP about a very sick black cat. It had shown up during the middle of the horribly cold winter they’d had. Happy to help, OFCP took the cat to their veterinarian where they found she had a severe upper respiratory infection. One of their fosters took her home while she healed.
It was then that they were contacted by the original caregiver of Karma’s first mom. She’d heard that a black cat had been picked up in the area where the newest “mom” lived. They’d agreed that Karma would be an indoor only kitty but later learned that the woman hadn’t kept her promise.
She lived where she couldn’t have an indoor cat, so she had simply thrown Karma outside!
(Let’s hope the cosmic Karma finds her someday!) =(
Sure enough, it was Karma rescued again from the harsh street life! Volunteers at the shelter that had come to love the silly senior were heartbroken to see her life turning out this way.
“The first day I was at the building, after she came back to us, I walked into the adoptable room and saw this gorgeous girl making biscuits like there was no tomorrow…Immediately I knew who it was!!! I have never seen a kitty with such happy feet!!! I went over to her cage and just held her, as I was crying, knowing all she had been through over the past year.”
Would you like some biscuits with dinner?? Karma is the best biscuit maker in town!!
Posted by Ontario Feral Cat Project on Tuesday, October 24, 2017
For the next year and a half, Karma watched other cats arrive and find their forever families all around her.
She patiently waited with a sadness in her eyes and hope in her heart. Always friendly and loving snuggles, she took advantage of volunteer visiting days.
Karma didn’t want to be too friendly with other cats, but she was happy playing just outside their reach.
Karma being, well…… Karma!!!!
Posted by Ontario Feral Cat Project on Friday, November 3, 2017
As 2018 came to a close, they were disheartened to see pleas and adoption postings for Karma go unanswered.
“She has been with us for a year and a half this time….. she is so ready to find her loving forever family!! She needs a calm home where she can watch birds, make LOTS of biscuits, play with feather toys and sit on a soft lap.”
One family learned of her saga and decided that they were the best chance Karma had at a happy ending.
On December 22nd, 2018, Karma was once again adopted, this time hopefully by her forever forever family! She had been fighting some illnesses and couldn’t go home until the 29th, but they were happy to wait for her. After all, she’d waited YEARS for them!
When the shelter posted her adoption “happy tail”, it was hard for anyone who’d followed Karma’s story NOT to be touched.
“Karma went home today…. her new dad came to the building today very anxious to take his girl home. We were going to hold off sending her home, to keep an eye on her, since her blood work yesterday didn’t bring good news. But hopefully her meds will get her back on track.”
“Her dad promised round the clock pampering and care, he wasn’t scared off by giving her the appetite stimulants and antibiotic and he felt getting her out of the cage might be just what she needed to get her spunk back…. we couldn’t argue that!!”
“Karma’s new mom just posted this picture!! If you look close you can see her teeny tiny ears back, like she would do when she got to run around the room. Our girl was always on a mission of mischief when she got to get out to run!! This is one lucky family!!”
“And yes…. I ugly cried when saying good bye!!”
“Even if things don’t unfold the way you expected, don’t be disheartened or give up.” – Daisaku Ikeda
Related Video: 10 Reasons to Adopt a Lucky Black Cat!