Westborough State Hospital cat trapped: “She was the most challenging but I wouldn’t give up”

This is the happy ending story of a cat trapped as a feral who had a change of heart and decided she enjoyed being petted. A team who wouldn’t give up is responsible for getting her to safety before construction begins.

Westie being petted by Jon Maynard (submitted photo)
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Westie, a black and white long-haired beauty, was reported to officials by Chelmsford photographer Jon Maynard when he was working on a book about Westborough State Hospital in Westborough, Massachusetts. The former “insane hospital(as asylums were called back in the day)” established in 1884 sits on 600 acres.

A building on Westborough hospital grounds

It’s believed Westie had been on hospital property for at least three years but never came close enough to catch or be petted. A 2015 photograph taken by Jeret Ledger showed a cat believed to be Westie that was taken when she was only a few months old.

Westie as a kitten (Jeret Ledger)

According to Kristi Williams, Westborough’s interim town manager, the project has been in the works for about two years for the property to be turned into 700 housing units. The sale is expected to be finalized this month. Westie, who has been seen on the roof of the administration building, in a field and in the tunnels, needed trapping and relocating to a new home.

Brittany Blaney-Anderson is a cat trapper and volunteer at Cat Rescue of Marlborough and Hudson. When she saw no signs of Westie having any kind of formal caregiving, Brittany knew the elusive cat would be hard to trap.

The Worchester Telegram and Gazette put together a sweet YouTube video on Westie (A MUST SEE!)

A game camera was used to determine where to set the traps. Brittany worked with Animal Control Officer Melinda MacKendrick on picking good locations. The traps worked but not with Westie. Between October 3 and October 29 a total of 12 opossums, 14 skunks, and a sparrow were trapped.

What started as a two-week deadline was extended to November 1. Bait was switched several times. The Milford Daily News reported the successful trapping of Westie who was trapped October 29 (on National Cat Day).

“The women spent weeks trying to catch the cat in all sorts of weather, switching the bait from wet food to sardines to a catnip appetizer and the much-recommended Kentucky Fried Chicken. Finally, on National Cat Day – Oct. 29 – unable to resist a smattering of rotisserie chicken, Westie wandered into the trap and the door closed behind her.”

Although Westie acted wild, as trapped ferals are known to do, the plan to send her to a nice barn home soon changed when she began accepting petting, even initiating it by shoving her head into a hand for some love.

Brittany told media

“She’s friendly. I’m amazed … I can’t believe it. She was the most challenging but I wouldn’t give up. I’ve never not caught a cat before and I didn’t want her to be the first one I didn’t get.”

Jon Maynard has kept everyone up to date with Westie’s story. Type in Jon Maynard Westie for more photos posted on his Facebook page (trying to direct link didn’t work properly). PLEASE continue to post on Westie. Hopefully, she’ll be adopted soon into a forever home.

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