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- FIV+ cats are often euthanized due to the misconceptions and outdated stigmas attached to the virus.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.”
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.
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
Beautiful Karma found her forever home with two wonderfully caring parents. It would finally be the forever home she waited so long for. She would happily be surrounded by support and love when she needed it the most.
On January 15th, 2019, the special girl peacefully crossed the rainbow bridge in her new humans arms.
“Several weeks ago she found her forever family that was prepared to be her hospice home. We were aware she wouldn’t have long, but we were so very grateful she didn’t have to spend the last of her days/weeks living in a cage.
Our hearts are very heavy, but we will be forever grateful she had the love of a family and a home to live in for her final weeks. Run free beautiful girl…. until we meet again!! We will never forget you!!”
As heartbreaking as this is, the fact that Karma didn’t spend her last days in a shelter is heartwarming.
So many senior and/or special needs cats deserve to find love, no matter for how long that may be. It takes a strong soul with a huge heart to open their home to these amazing felines; not something everyone can handle.
For Karma’s forever parents, they’ve proven again they are a rare and unique couple.
Just a week after their beloved Karma’s story truly had a happy ending, another cat at the shelter will get a piece of their hearts.
“They were such amazing pet parents to Karma in her final weeks, they have so much love to share they knew they wanted another special kitty.“
Oreo isn’t a senior cat, in fact he’s only about a year and a half old, but his needs are special.
When he was rescued, he was so feral and untrusting of humans, Ontario Feral Cat Project almost classified him as a barn kitty. These kitties just rather prefer the outdoors than being inside or around people. Many get “jobs” at barns to control rodent populations while still being safely taken care of.
With patience and love from the shelter volunteers, Oreo finally began to come around.
Once he began to trust people, the shy boy would turn into a silly, playful and cuddly kitten. He just needed someone to give him a nice, quiet home to blossom in.
The day after Thanksgiving 2018, Oreo was happily adopted to what they all thought would be his forever home. Unfortunately after only a couple weeks, he was returned to the organization.
“His family said he was great when it was just the two of them, but when the grand-kids came over he would hide. Most adult kitties need more than 2 weeks to settle in, but especially shy kitties, but we are thankful they got a hold of us to return him.”
“We are sad for Oreo, but his family is out there and we will do everything in our power to find him the perfect family!!
He needs a calm home with no kids and no pets that might bully him…. Oreo is a gentle soul, he loves with his entire heart and he loves loves loves to snuggle.”
With Karma watching over them from above now, her adopters knew they needed to fill that void in their hearts. Oreo did just that! Yesterday, January 19th, he was welcomed into their lives for what we hope will be a long and peaceful story.
Congrats to Oreo and thank you to his purrents; a truly extraordinary cat-loving couple <3 R.I.P. Karma
Related Video: 10 Reasons to Adopt a Lucky Black Cat!