Huggy Bear Had Lived With 126 Other Cats
by Joyce Sammons
(Hodges, SC, USA)
Laura and Huggy Bear
Huggy Bear was one of the most beautiful cats I’ve had the pleasure of owning. I was visiting my mama and had just walked in the door when she handed me the daily newspaper. On the front page was a picture of the most beautiful Maine Coon cat I’ve ever seen. Huggy Bear, along with 126 other cats and 3 dogs and a bird had been rescued from a home about 40 miles away. The two women who owned the animals had meant well, but the situation had gotten out of hand and instead of helping the animals they were living in very bad conditions.
This rescue was so large that the local animal shelter couldn’t handle the overflow. Luckily only a few of the animals had to be euthanised and the rest were being housed at the county 4-H club. I called the number listed and learned I could adopt an animal for only $20 since the health couldn’t be guaranteed.
It took awhile for me to find the 4-H club and I had to stop twice for directions. Still, the picture of Huggy Bear stayed in my head. I arrived shortly before noon to find the building resembled the livestock setups common to this part of the country. There were cages with cats everywhere. Four aisles were filled with any color and breed you could want. A very nice lady approached me and asked if I needed assistance but by that time I had already found what I came for.
I was standing right in front of Huggy Bear's cage. He was the largest cat I’ve ever seen! I told the worker immediately that I wanted him and she informed me I had come just in time. Someone had already called about him but since I was there first he was mine.
I asked her if I could open the cage to see if we got along. I’ve learned to do this over the years because sometimes a cat isn’t what you expect once you hold it in your arms. My plan was to check out his disposition then bring in my cat carrier to take him home.
Huggy Bear had another plan entirely and I found out how he got his name. As soon as the cage was opened he literally attached himself to my neck! With a paw around each side of my neck and his big head alternately rubbing my face and under my chin there was no detaching him. I even believe his back legs were trying to attach themselves to me. He was like a big baby and I didn’t have the heart to leave him long enough to go back to my car for the cage. I paid the $20 and signed a form stating his health wasn’t guaranteed and took him home. He laid on the front seat without the cage and was the perfect passenger.
My family was stunned at how such a beautiful cat could get itself into such a bad situation. I soon found myself with a sick cat. Nothing major. Just some diarrhea and the vet prescribed medication and it cleared up somewhat but not enough. Huggy Bear had to go on a high fiber cat food for the next 2 months. He had already been neutered so that was a bonus.
He was kept indoors most of the time and allowed out for supervised play. A lot of times he would cross the fence to the neighbors. It didn’t take long for him to put on more weight. I think the entire neighborhood had fallen in love with him and we were all feeding him. Huggy Bear stuck around for several years. He would stay indoors at night and ask out first thing in the mornings.
He enjoyed the outdoors and never went anywhere near the road. One night he didn’t come when I called him. I checked around the neighborhood the next day and learned a neighbor had taken him in and his granddaughter was in love with the cat.
This all occurred at the beginning of mama’s bedridden days at home. I had a lot of responsibility put on me in a short amount of time. It was one of the hardest decisions I ever made but I allowed Huggy Bear to stay with someone more capable of spending time with him. I was allowed to visit him and I visited him twice before I moved after mama’s death.
That cat taught me a lot. After living in such horrible conditions he had trusted me to take care of him and I did. I’m sending the only picture I can find of him at the time. I feel sure I have more somewhere and when I find them I’ll add them to the story.
Kathy, please don't cry! The library is going to start wondering why you're always crying.
Hi Joyce.... Thanks for another good story. You are a true cat lady and the feral cat's friend. I think it proves that cats are all around us ready to find a good home. I think the fact that you let Huggy Bear go to a good home indicates a fine altruistic attitude towards cats.
I hope you're OK with this but I have placed your post on the moggie page.
Huggy Bear Had Lived With 126 Other Cats to Feral