There are a few things in the rescue world that are sad but true. Cats of all ages, colors and personalities are trapped and saved from the streets every single day. But that’s when the hard part starts. You have to be patient with the terrified soul. You must try to keep them alive so that the transition from homeless cat to adoptable cat is as smooth as possible. And then you must find that perfect family to welcome them into their home. However there are certain felines that the masses are always happy to overlook all other adoptable cats for. Warning bells go off immediately when adopters start in with the “Do you have and Siamese cats?”. Or “I’ve always just wanted a polydactyl (extra toes on their paws) cat.”
So when the sweetest Siamese polydactyl cat was found at a local colony, rescuers knew his journey would be a special one.
It was at a feral colony that cat rescuer Chris Poole, or Cat Man Chris, has been monitoring for years. Working with a group of other dedicated feeders, they have managed to keep a group of feral cats fed, healthy and when possible, adopted. Not only is this near a new building site where dangers lay, it’s on a massive intersection. And opposite of that, a field with many stories of hunting coyotes.
But then he received a call from one of the caring women, Christine, who had spotted a new face. And it was a massive Siamese boy, who had no fear of her. This led them to believe that he was either abandoned or had escaped from his home. Because he approached her with no fear, begging for pets and food.
He was ravenous and would eat the food she put down immediately. She also tried catnip with him and he loved that too, sealing their bond.
Christine was easily able to get the loving boy into a carrier the next morning and he was off to his new life. Cat Man Chris picked him up and got him settled in his “Catty Shack” where he would be safe.
Almost immediately, his mega heart shaped Siamese polydactyl paws reached through the bars of the cage to beg for attention.
And with that, he was given his first name, Valentino.
Valentino would only stay with Chris for a couple of days while he went to the vet and a foster family was found. It was extremely easy for Chris and his wife to sit and keep him company while his new life plan was formulated.
Happily, he tested negative for FIV/FeLV and had no microchip found. He was only about a year old as well! But the vet did discover that he has a slight heart murmur, odd since he has so many “hearts”. Thankfully, they indicated that it is gauged at a “2-3 out of 6” and it may come and go.
A local animal rescue in Pasco, Florida were happy to step in and help the unique and loving cat. They know that when a feline with “desirable traits” is rescued, it’s so very important they find a home that will not exploit their genetic makeup. And loving Valentino is sporting 6 toes on each paw, front and back!
So Valentino was off to his temporary home with foster mom Sheridan.
Of course it wasn’t long before the sweet boy had won them over with his “big love” either.
Although “the goal is goodbye” when fostering. Sheridan’s family came very close to “foster failing” him; and considered adopting him themselves. To be honest, so did the Cat Man Chris clan!
But Valentino’s heart would lead him in another direction. And everyone involved knows it’s exactly where his heart(s) can now become whole. Because look at the happiness on the faces of his new family.
Not only did his heart need a hand to hold it, the family had just began healing after the loss of their beloved cat. Life after the loss, a new baby and a new home had finally settled and they knew Valentino was the key to healing their broken hearts.
He is now known as Hemingway, the families nod to the famous extra-toed Key West cats of the writer Ernest Hemingway. The love his new humans have for the tropical islands is nothing compared to their new love for him.
Congrats to Valentino/Hemingway and his new family! Thank you for fostering and giving him the chance to wear his heart on his….sleeves? <3
Photo courtesy of Cat Man Chris / The Runaways Animal Rescue
REMEMBER: SPAY/NEUTER, FOSTER, VOLUNTEER, TNR & AS ALWAYS, ADOPT, DON’T SHOP!
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