On the side of the road, he looked like a dirty piece of ice or a chunk of snow that had fallen off someone’s car. Then he moved.
Danielle Colvin of Youngstown, Ohio, says when her mother called her that Sunday about the little gray cat she almost hit, she knew she had to go after him.
“I just took off,” Colvin says. “It was really freezing when I found him. He was just a mess, and he was so little … he was so pitiful and shaking.”
Colvin says she hesitated to bring the cat home at first because of his horrible condition, and the fear that he might pass some disease on to her other cat, Van.
Knowing any of the other local shelters would euthanize him, and not prepared to pay the exorbitant emergency clinic costs, Colvin called the only other place she knew of: the Cat Ladies Society.
The society is a nonprofit no-kill rescue group dedicated to giving every cat a second chance. Founded in 2008 by Maria Guyan of Struthers, Ohio, the shelter originated in her home then moved to Youngstown when the operation grew too large.
The Cat Ladies Society doesn’t limit their rescues to owner surrenders; their priorities lie with special-needs cats, as well as felines in danger of euthanization at other shelters. The society is all volunteer-run, and receives no federal or state funding.
“We try and take the ones who have nowhere else to go,” Guyan says.
The extremely ill cat was taken in immediately.
“We don’t know if it was the eye infection or the rock salt that took out his eyesight,” Guyan says of Ashley’s state. “He was covered in rock salt, severely malnourished, dehydrated, his body temperature was low … both ears were completely blocked with ear mites and debris, and his eyes were caked shut from the eye infection. We thought he was a girl at first until we cleared out all the mats.”
Colvin said she chose the name Ashley because his fur looked like the color of ashes.
Ashley spent four weeks recovering at the society; he then was released into Colvin’s care.
“He’s a sweet little thing,” Colvin says. “A lot of people wanted him; he has a big fan club.” One woman even donated a
large box of toys for Ashley.
When he first arrived at Colvin’s home, Ashley had to get used to the stairs.
“He would come down backwards, and he would scoot. It was just the cutest thing,” Colvin says.
Ashley now has adjusted to his new home, and Colvin says he’s just like any other cat and seems completely unaffected by his shaky past. She’s grateful that the people at Cat Ladies Society were there when she needed them.
“They didn’t have to help me, but they did,” she says. “They’re giving all cats a second chance.”
Bonnie L. Hazen is a journalist living in Northeast Ohio. She currently is working on her first novel.