Breaking

-- Man Makes A Shocking Discovery At His 80-Year-Old Relative’s Home

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It is always tough for relatives to watch an older person rapidly deteriorate right in front of their eyes. It is particularly hard for these elderly people to take care of their fur babies on top of having to maintain their autonomy. This is exactly what happened to an Octogenarian who went to live at an assisted living home. After he moved out of his house, a relative took over the responsibility of getting the 82-year-old man’s home in order. The relative went to the older man’s Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, house to get the pet cat. What he found there not only shocked him deeply but also provided a cautionary tale.
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Dealing With Change

Paul Russel, a man from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, helped his 82-year-old relative move to a nursing home. The move came when it became clear that the octogenarian, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, did not have enough wherewithal left to take care of himself anymore.
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The decision was a tough one to make, though it had to be made as, with his condition deteriorating, the old man required constant medical assistance and could not be relied upon to take care of himself. This meant that he could not be left alone in his home, especially since his condition had worsened to the point where he could not recognize his own relatives.
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Leaving His Life Behind

Once the old man had moved to the facility, Paul happened to recall Siam: the old man’s pet Siamese cat. Since Paul did not have any place to take the cat to, he decided it was best to leave some food out for it until a suitable living arrangement could be made.
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When Paul decided to go feed Siam, another relative recalled that the octogenarian may have also had another cat. This prompted Paul to go around the house to see if he could find the second cat there as well. What he discovered shocked him to his core.
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The Startling Discovery

When Paul got to his relative's house, he ensured that everything was organized before he went looking for Siam. Once he found the cat, he put some food out for it and made certain that the fur baby would be safe and well in the house. Suddenly, he saw a large thing zoom across the floor in front of him. Paul said that it came out from under a bed and went into the cellar somewhere he could not see.
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He was not alarmed as one of the relatives had already told him about a second cat being there. However, try as he might, he was not able to catch it. Even though he caught a brief glimpse of the second cat, he got enough of a look to ascertain that the cat seemed like it was caught in a large blanket-like object. As it was getting late, Paul decided to come back the next day with extra food for the second cat in a bid to catch it.
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Keeping An Eye Out

As planned, Paul came back to the house the next day intending to find and catch the second cat. He took a flashlight and crept down the cellar stairs. He recalled that it felt like a scene out of a haunted movie, especially since he had no idea what was waiting for him downstairs.
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When he entered into the eerie cellar, he found a blob-like thing curled up in the corner. Once his eyes adjusted and he could make out that the object was a cat, Paul said that he was shocked to discover the state the cat was in. It looked like it was hurting and seemed very afraid.
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A Cat? Really?

Paul was shocked to find out that his relative did, indeed, have a second cat and that the “blob” he was looking at was it. It looked like a tortoiseshell cat, and, what he had thought to be a blanket the day before was, in reality, the cat’s fur which had matted and stuck to it. The condition the cat was in was appalling and its matted fur made it impossible for it to move around freely.
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The scared calico seemed quite big and the matted, dreadlocked fur growing on it was more than 8 inches long. What made matters even worse was that the 20 centimeters of the tangled, matted mess also contained excrement.
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Meet Hidey

The spooked calico cat kept hiding under beds or in weird corners, prompting Paul to name it Hidey. Paul and his wife Jill, both people who love animals, could see that Hidey looked like she was scared, traumatized and in quite a bit of pain. So they decided that they would catch both the cats and take them to a veterinarian for a checkup. 
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After making Hidey comfortable around them and gaining her trust a bit, Paul and Jill took her and Siam to get examined and treated at Animal Rescue League & Wildlife Shelter, Pittsburgh. Both Siam and Hidey were checked by the vets and it was determined that Siam was 17 years old while Hidey was 14. The vets seemed quite concerned about Hidey.
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Extraordinary Neglect

The vets at the shelter were appalled by Hidey’s condition. In fact, the staff decided to look up animals in similar conditions to try to find out what to do about Hidey as they had never encountered such a case before. However, despite their efforts, it seemed that nothing extreme like Hidey’s case existed anywhere else, not documented at least.
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Despite not having come across any such case, the team of veterinarians knew that Hidey’s fur had to go as the knots and tangles in it were causing her pain. Now the actual challenge was how to go about getting rid of her fur without Hidey getting hurt, and this is where the team got creative.
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Going Bald

The vets and their team at the shelter put Hidey under general anesthesia so that they could safely get rid of all her matted and dirty fur. The state of her fur was so bad that it took hours for them to be able to shave it off. Once all the fur was removed, the vets weighed it and, to their horror, discovered that it came up to be about two pounds.
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The weight of her fur was on top of the extra weight Hidey was lugging around, being an overweight feline. Her weight, coupled with her fur, was one of the reasons why she was unwell and could not move around properly. What perplexed the vet was unsure why Hidey’s condition was so bad and unkempt, while Siam was in a fairly good condition.
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Why So “Fur-ious”?

The vets could not say for certain but, according to them, the condition of Hidey’s fur was directly connected with her weight. Cats are known to keep their fur clean and tidy by daily self-grooming sessions, this requires a lot of flexible maneuvering for them to be able to reach all the hard to reach places. If a cat gains a lot of weight, grooming becomes tougher as movement becomes stilted.
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Cats also shed hair on a daily basis; Hidey’s fur was matted, so it ended up trapping most of the hair that she shed creating the matted, long-dreadlocked condition Paul discovered her in. But this was not the only reason behind Hidey’s poor condition.
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Alzheimer’s-Induced Neglect

When it comes to long-haired felines, self-grooming is not enough and the owners must also brush them regularly to get all the loose hair out and keep the fur groomed. Hidey’s old owner had Alzheimer's and most probably could not take care of her properly, which is why she was not brushed regularly.
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Hidey’s owner was in such an advanced stage of Alzheimer’s that on days he did not know what his name was and could not even recognize his own family. It is very likely that he forgot about the existence of Hidey completely, which caused Hidey’s neglected and bad condition, both physically and psychologically.
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Rescued Twice

Jill and Paul not only took Siam and Hidey to the shelter for vaccinations and treatment but also decided to truly rescue them by adopting them and bringing them to their home. What made it even more special was that the couple already had five fur babies in their Churchill, Pennsylvania, home: two dogs and three cats.
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Siam took to the household fairly quickly, while for Hidey it was more of a slow learning curve. Not only did Hidey have to learn to live without the weight of her dreadlocked fur, but she also had to relearn how to live with humans she could trust and get out of her habit of hiding in corners.
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To Live And Love Again

In the beginning, Hidey did not warm up to the Russels much; she did not even like being touched by people. Slowly, as she grew used to the new house and people, she started trusting the people around her, which made the Russels’ job that much easier.
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Jill was super excited by the improvement in Hidey’s demeanor. She was hopeful that at this pace Hidey would warm up to the other fur babies soon, playing around with them and, thus, getting all the exercise that she needed to lose a bit of weight.
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Coming Out Of The Shell

Hidey did not warm up immediately, Paul had to fish her out from under beds when he wanted to hold her. Soon, Hidey decided to come out on her own whenever she wanted to be around people. She would even purr whenever she got comfortable, which was pretty exciting for the Russels.
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The Russels got Hidey her own bed which she loved and, just as Jill had predicted, as she got more comfortable, she started playing with the animals and people in the house. Soon, Hidey’s story went viral, causing ripples of anger and indignation across the globe.
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Pet Neglect: Is It Always The Owner’s Fault?

The team at Animal Rescue League & Wildlife Shelter posted Hidey’s story and pictures online and it went viral. It was covered by newspapers and TV stations across the world causing a whole lot of outrage and furor around the globe. 
What upset people initially was how Hidey, a pet cat, got to such a state without the owner doing anything. A lot of people were quick to point their fingers at the owner without knowing the full details of the case: the owner was an octogenarian who had advanced Alzheimer’s. Some commentators, who had read the whole story, were angry for another reason altogether.
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Tending To The Elderly And Frail

People who took the time to read Hidey’s whole story concluded that this was not a simple animal neglect case because it had more to do with elderly neglect. Commentators said that the octogenarian should not have been left to his own devices and his family should have visited him more often and more regularly.
When the Manchester Animal Shelter in Manchester, New Hampshire, shared Hidey’s story on their Facebook page, a reader called Seanda Burns Bartlett commented that the root cause of the problem was the neglect of the elderly person. Others found the pictures so fantastical that they accused media outlets and shelters of another thing altogether.
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Doctored Pictures?

Hidey’s photos were so shocking that some people simply could not believe that a pet cat could be found in such a severe state of neglect. They started accusing the shelters and media of posting doctored or fake photographs. Some of them claimed that it was impossible for a cat to stop grooming itself.
When the story was shared by WREG News Channel 3 in Memphis, Tennessee, a person called Heather MacDonald Hopper accused the channel of posting fake pictures adding that if the pictures were “not fake, then somehow this was done deliberately!”
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How Can A Cat Get Dreadlocks?

Many animal rescue organizations stepped in to correct the misconception and verify that animal neglect can lead to conditions similar to Hidey’s. Long-haired felines can get dreadlocks if their fur is not properly groomed. While cats are diligent self-groomers, various ailments can either hinder their habit or cause them to stop altogether.
When people like Wanda Bailey-Bezio wanted to know how a cat could end up not grooming itself completely on the Manchester Animal Shelter’s Facebook post, the shelter responded itself. According to the shelter, there are many factors like the age, weight or medical condition of the cat that can get felines to stop grooming themselves. Hidey’s story ends on a very positive note; continue reading to find out about other such pets who were successfully rescued.
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A Canadian Miracle

A couple found a scared, small, weak dog on their farm located in Ontario, Canada. The dog, just like Hidey, was dirty, very afraid of humans, and covered with dreadlocked, matted, dirty fur. Since the woman, Brenda Gough, worked at a pet clinic, Park Road Veterinary Clinic, she took the scared little dog there to get a check-up.
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The rescuers and the staff at the clinic decided to call the dog Shrek because he was discovered near a pond, was extremely filthy and neglected, and yet still had a nice temperament. It took the vets hours to shave off the dirty, dreadlocked fur off of Shrek and, just like Hidey, Shrek had to be sedated during the procedure. Just a few days later, with all the weight and dirt off of him, Shrek slowly started getting close to other canines and humans making him a successful rescue story.
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Lucking Out

A couple found a pooch in similar conditions and with a bad case of fleas on a late night in Oviedo Florida. The dog’s fur was so badly matted that not only did he reek, he also found it hard to walk or go to the toilet. The couple did not know what to do with the dog whose matted fur was covering his paws, eyes, and mouth. They posted about him on Facebook and a dog groomer called Kari Falla jumped to their aid immediately.
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The big-hearted groomer went so far as to opening her grooming salon at that hour to be able to treat the pooch. Lucky, as the couple named the stray dog, had such badly matted fur that it caused bruises all over his body by restricting his blood flow. Patiently, Falla removed all of the dirty, grimy, matted fur and, after three hours, Lucky looked like a new dog. Falla also gave Lucky two hypoallergenic baths to get rid of his flea infestation only to discover that the sweet boy was both deaf and blind. Lucky was sent to a foster home to recuperate and wait for a family to come and adopt him. Rescuing pets like Lucky and adopting them come with a lot of therapeutic benefits, some of which we have listed below.
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The Case Of Stuart Little

Rescuers found a cat with seven small kittens in a bush. They were alarmed to find the runt of the litter who was the smallest and weakest. He seemed malnourished and was unresponsive to their touch. All eight fur-babies were then taken for a checkup to a shelter in Bentonville, Arkansas, Fabulous Felines NWA, where the little one was named Stuart Little. He had little to no hair on him and was so small that you could compare his size to that of a chapstick.
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In just over a week, Stuart Little started growing and his face started getting fur. The mommy cat was spayed once her kittens stopped suckling. The kittens were handed to a surrogate cat, Bessie, who took over the care of Stuart and the rest of the litter and did a splendid job of it. Stuart Little was adopted by a wonderful family and ended up being a healthy, beautiful and loved cat.
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To Rescuing And Beyond

After the death of a pet owner, his house was sold and his little dog was abandoned and left to roam the neighborhood. Looking for safety, he hid under a shed while the neighbors put some food out for him for a year. However, the dog, who was later named Woody, was in very poor health and had a bad eye when rescuers from Hope For Paws came to get him.
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At Hopes For Paws, Woody got a checkup and was shaved and cleaned up. The scared little pooch refused to eat and the shelter was forced to give him nutrients intravenously. However, Woody was a champ and recovered completely some months later and grew his luscious, curly fur back. He was soon adopted into a loving home.
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Mr. Biscuits: A Philadelphia Rescue Story

When a man in East Falls, Philadelphia, had trouble steering his car, he decided to pop the hood to check what was wrong with the engine. He made the horrible discovery of a cat who was caught inside the engine and was burned because of the heat inside. The young feline had climbed inside the engine for warmth as it was very cold outside. As the owner of the car had no idea about this, he had just taken the car out and driven away with the cat still inside.
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The motorist had no idea how to rescue the trapped cat, so he called an animal shelter at Chester County. The shelter, in turn, asked The Grannie Project for help, with the rescuers arriving a couple of hours later to rescue the cat. He was then taken to Metropolitan Veterinary Associates to get treated for his burns. Once he stabilized, the shelter staff were very amused to see that the cat constantly kneaded with his paws, so they named him Mr. Biscuits. The shelter also started a fundraiser for Mr. Biscuits’ treatment and volunteered to find him a loving family to go to. The Grannie Project also tried to raise awareness among motorists by asking them to either rap on their car’s hood or honk their horns in winter before starting their vehicles just in case there is an animal huddled inside for warmth.
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Raising Awareness

Just one day after the veterinary staff treated Hidey, December 16, 2016, a person working at Animal Rescue League & Wildlife Shelter, Pittsburgh, reached out to people via a Facebook post to highlight pet neglect that stems from elderly neglect.
The post pleaded with people to check up on elderly residents living in their community along with checking up on the pets of such residents “to prevent instances like this from happening in the future.” In the end, Hidey was very lucky to be rescued and adopted into a loving household, but it is important to remember that not all neglected pets have such a happy ending.
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Alzheimer’s Disease And Pets

Alzheimer's is a very tough disease to cope with: not only do patients suffer a loss of memory and autonomy, including the ability to take care of themselves but in extreme cases also a loss of communication abilities. Such people can benefit from having a pet around if they have someone taking care of the pet and them, of course.
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As pet owners grow older and frailer, with their mental and physical faculties ever-declining, it becomes tougher and tougher for them to take care of their pets. However, this does not automatically mean that the elderly cannot have pets.
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The Moral Of Hidey’s Tale

If anything, Hidey’s tale has highlighted the importance of regularly visiting and checking up on the elderly and their fur babies. The Animal Rescue League Shelter & Wildlife Center went ahead and started a fund for the pets of senior citizens who are immobilized or cannot otherwise take care of their pets.
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The fund will also help the shelter in relocating pets to new forever homes when their current owners pass away. Read on to find out how pets can bring light into the lives of their elderly owners.
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Pets And The Elderly

Studies have shown that owning pets can decrease stress and depression in people generally and the elderly specifically. Keeping a pet helps keep the owner’s blood pressure down as well as keeping them active and more social. Since pets seem to live in the moment, whenever they are around, their owners tend to also stay in the now instead of worrying about the future.
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Pets have also been known to trigger elderly people’s long-term memory, which comes in extra handy in cases of elderly patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Such patients could do with the straightforward companionship and love of an animal, however, scroll ahead to find out the considerations before getting an elderly person a pet of their own.
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What Pets Are Best Suited For The Elderly?

Pets bring a lot of positivity and love into the lives of the elderly and, in turn, the elderly help save lives of animals, who would otherwise be abandoned, by bringing them into their homes. But certain considerations must be kept in mind when getting pets for the elderly.
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First off, it is best to pair elderly people with middle-aged and healthy pets. Younger animals have a lot of energy making them tougher to deal with, especially for the elderly. A healthy, middle-aged pet is calm and relaxed and does not require a lot of attention, physical or medical. Elderly people with physical limitations are best paired with cats as cats do not require as much care as dogs, though they do require grooming and brushing. Other factors to take into consideration include the financial condition of the elderly pet owner, their past experiences, if any, of owning a pet and the temperament of the pet.
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Caring For Long-Haired Felines

Another lesson from Hidey’s tale is that while cats do groom themselves, it is just as important for the owners to groom long-haired cats to ensure their pet’s health and cleanliness. Long-haired felines who fall ill, get old or overweight require more grooming and care from their owners as they are less likely to groom themselves frequently, causing matted and clumped fur that may turn into a dreadlocked, knotted mess.
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Matted and dreadlocked fur tends to house various parasites like mites and causes a lot of issues for cats including skin problems. This is why owners must frequently groom and brush their cats, especially long-haired ones. If a pet gets badly matted fur it is recommended for the safety and wellbeing of the pet to take it to a vet or groomer to deal with the problem.

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