Whiskers: kitten who survived the Westberry house of cat hell

Whiskers a rescued kitten

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

This is a story that has been three months (almost to the day) in the making, and I just had to share it with the readers here. Out of the tragedy of the Julianne Westberry there were very few survivors and Whiskers is one of them. He is alive today, thanks to the determination of a number of people.

From the beginning, Whiskers had good care when he was transported to Anderson County P.A.W.S., the local shelter who cared for all of the Westberry cats who survived the hell house. He was then rescued by Susan Schreck of Saving Southern Kitties (SSK) and helped along greatly by his foster mom (who had to make a 200 mile round trip for each vet visit), and the veterinary staff who took such excellent care of his medical needs.

Susan describes what it was like in the first days, when it appeared Whiskers would likely die.

“By all accounts, I’ll never forget my stomach drop when we learned how bad his blood work was and that his organs and lymph nodes were enlarged. He was very ill. I tried to prepare myself and his foster mom for the worst, afraid he was possibly just too far gone. We vowed to give him every treatment possible, he was a fighter with a strong will to live with the most trusting and loving nature ever. His foster mom was diligent with his care, her dedication to driving over 200 miles for each and every vet visit remarkable. He grew stronger, he gained weight, his eyes which looked as if he’d had cataracts before, began to shine clearly, his wheezing subsided, his breathing better and better, viral and upper respiratory infections clearing… the spark of life and will that this boy had seemed to catapult him to get better.”

“When his last set of Labs were taken, we were all pleasantly surprised, even the Dr… A complete turn around, completely normal values, normal organs, normal lymph nodes and he’d doubled in size. We’d gotten the MIRACLE we’d hoped for! He was cleared to undergo his neuter surgery and did just perfectly. ”

Whiskers has one more vet visit ahead of him, where he will head to Charlotte, North Carolina for his final check-up before finding his forever home. Susan often wonders how her miracle baby ended up at the Westberry house.

“We’ll never know how Whiskers ended up with the evil Julianne Westberry at the Belton SC home where so many suffered long and painful deaths, and so many others are unaccounted for. We will never ever understand this intentional level of cruelty all in the name of greed, and even worse in the name of rescue.”


See the Westberry articles


Susan would like to thank all of those who donated to SSK to cover the medical bills for Whiskers, along with the other cats in her care. SSK rescues a LOT of cats facing euthanasia at the high-kill shelter in Greenville, South Carolina. She can’t save them all, but she tries. Sometimes it gets frustrating, until a little miracle like Whiskers comes along and confirms the good work she and her network are providing to cats who would otherwise be killed.

Take a look at the photos for this article. The first photo is Whiskers several days after being confiscated from the house. The second is one of him at his first visit to SSK’s local vet, after several prior vet visits in Greenville. The third and fourth photos are of Whiskers now.

Julianne Westberry is still awaiting trial, where she’ll have to answer to one charge of animal cruelty and one charge of torture. Most likely the fraud charges being investigated will carry a heftier sentence than the abuse charges. Let us never forget what Whiskers went through. We may never know whether Julianne “rescued” in the name of greed or just got overwhelmed.

When it comes right down to it, the cats in her care died a slow and painful death from starvation, dehydration and illness. Several died at the shelter after rescue, including the few kittens who survived.

To face only two charges total is an insult to the intelligence of animal lovers in South Carolina, who are fighting hard for increased penalties for abusers. Dog abusers already face heftier charges. I think it sad that cats are considered second class pets.

It’s nice to see one little miracle come out of this nightmare.

Please feel free to leave a comment thanking Susan and her staff for working so hard to save this one little life. Whiskers, may you find your forever family, where you’ll be placed with the best of cat caregivers. Susan will be sure whoever is lucky enough to share your life will be worthy of you, as you are truly a miracle kitten.

To see more cats Susan has given a second chance, check out her Facebook page.

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

20 thoughts on “Whiskers: kitten who survived the Westberry house of cat hell”

  1. That Poor Cat Just looking at him/her was heartbreaking. There Must be something that Must be done for People who are Hoarders and unemphatic. I’m always mindful myself I dont get into a Situation myself. As someone with Mental Health Problems. Its important to be realistic about Cats. To be truthful and Never Forget that Cats have feelings just like Humans.

  2. Pot? Meet Kettle.

    Just like those who blindly donate to and promote TNR programs so every last cat dies a heinous inhumane death from roaming-free.

    How are those mirrors of yours? Did you wipe them off from the fog of your own self-deception and self-aggrandizement yet?

  3. We are just very grateful that Whiskers turned around. We couldn’t bear any more heartache. For everyone who supported Whiskers and us we thank you. We really want everyone to know that the majority of us who do this do it selflessly with the cats care the number 1 priority. We’ve all been hurt by the deceit caused by JW. I hope this reminds everyone that most of us are good people. And our rescues need support.

    1. Great point, I certainly does remind me that there are some super people in cat rescue. It is inspirational and I admire them very much. It is a positive note in a very upsetting and negative story.

  4. I donate to SSK — they are truly these furballs saviors. Susan and all of the fosters do so much to ensure a happy life. We currently have 8 cats — some might consider that excessive, I am just can’t bear to see healthly animals PTS — spay and neuter folks. All of our cats are loved, fed, healthy and see the vet on a regular basis. They are the joy of our life and wouldn’t trade them for anything. Thank you Susan and SSK and all of the other legitimate rescues that help our animals in need.

  5. I’m so very grateful .. for those out there who help these poor sweet, innocent fur angels!!! It very much breaks my heart and makes me sad when I see people treat animals this way. I don’t know how some people can live with themselves; Doing the harm that they do. Yet .. there are those all over who undo the pain & hurt others seem to cause. I feel so proud of these individuals. Because they have those unique traits .. of understanding, empathy, sympathy & love, caring & compassion. Bless all who are there for these sweet animals!!!! Without you .. this world would be a far WORSE place! I’m also happy for any of those cats/kittens who survived it. I weep for those who didn’t as well.

  6. Just shocking ๐Ÿ™ what makes hoarders do what they do ๐Ÿ™ Thats why I won’t donate unless I know the person of the rescue because I could be unwittingly be adding to the suffering and murder

    1. I don’t believe she was the classic hoarder. JW would put the cats in the house and leave them for long periods of time from what I heard. The last time shey were trapped in their carriers, in the house and trapped under the house to die. Hoarders don’t do that. I think she’s a greedy sociopath. Lots and lots of money coming in for the cats she pulled.

      1. Interesting. I think it proves that there is not necessarily one type of cat hoarder. It also proves that true cat hoarding is linked to a mental condition of some sort.

        This sad case also proves that there are some wonderfully committed volunteers involved in cat rescue. We have to admire them.

        1. The type of hoarder I’ve read about most stays near their cats. No telling how long JW would be gone when she stayed with her boyfriend. Leaving them for days or weeks at a time is unusual.

          1. Agreed this case screams of blatant disregard for the cats and the fact she kept pulling moms with kittens.. because they had a lot of $ attached to them. Don’t believe any of this was hoarding, but a means to an end to gain financially. They kept burning through the money and had to keep pulling more to fund their lifestyles. I say they because there is no doubt in my mind that the boyfriend was fully culpable as well.

      2. Exactly the whole system is wrong cats in shelters that are there because they are more than likely declawed then they get ‘pulled’ by absolutely anyone who could be someone just out to make a lot of money by asking for donations. She is very likely a greedy sociopath but doesn’t matter what matters is is that lots of people gave her money because they thought she was rescuing cats when in actual fact she was murdering them in horrible conditions!! Thats why I won’t donate to these chip in things you see so often – you don’t know who you’re giving to!!

        The whole cycle is just so wrong ๐Ÿ™

        1. When you’re afraid of a chipin but want to help just get vet info and call in to that vet and specify it be used for that particular cat. Most vets allow payments over the phone these days. Be sure to look up vet phone number online so someone doesn’t have a fake person answering a number that isn’t the real vet.

    2. It is generally agreed that cat hoarders have some sort of mental health problem and the health issues probably vary from person to person. There is one sure thing, all cat hoarders do not care for their cat’s welfare which means they cannot love cats. Cats are just a means to an end. They are a convenient item to use. The cat is treated as an inanimate object by the true cat hoarder. There are though people who have many rescue cats who are healthy who I would not call cat hoarders. I believe cat hoarding incorporates bad cat welfare.

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