Spunky, the Former “Throw-Away” Cat
by Hansina Wright, Noank, CT
(Sina's other story: Sweetie Pie, the Beginning)
On a snowy evening in early February, I picked up Spunky at a shelter seventy miles from our home. She had been rescued from a high kill shelter death list. I also brought home Bella, a 10-year old Russian Blue female, also pulled from the list. Both were to be short-term fosters to recover from an upper respiratory infection contracted at the kill shelter.
Spunky’s scant records stated that she was a stray picked up in a backyard in a New York City borough with her four-month old kitten. Her kitten was taken in by a rescue. But Spunky was left behind on the death list. Along with a URI, she had a huge mass (polyp) in her left ear. She had been heavily vaccinated and dewormed, and, as I later learned, was not spayed.
Joanna and our family had already been working together during the recent final illness and transition into the Spirit world of our beloved Hoppy. Joanna, who has been part of our family fabric for more than fifteen years, has always been on board as we welcome newcomers in becoming part of our family, and into the family healings and Circles.
Spunky’s behavior was strange. She was very friendly one moment, surprisingly “aggressive” the next. Never had I been with a cat of such extreme behaviors. Her outbursts were fast and became increasingly unpredictable and intense the more comfortable she became in our home.
Our traditional and homeopathic vets both said that Spunky’s behaviors were likely permanent, either feral based or caused by some early neurological damage. They advised that she either be placed in a no-other-animal home or be euthanized. They cautioned for the safety of our household and insisted that Spunky be returned to the rescue immediately.
Joanna saw Spunky differently- yes, she had outdoor/feral cat tendencies, protective mama behavior. She was undersocialized with other cats, and she was fearful/defensive/lashing out. And dealing with the impact of vaccinosis as well. We continued our sessions with Joanna not just to unwind the deeper issues of Spunky’s dilemmas but to help our peaceful and balanced (and more senior) feline family cope with this unexpected situation.
While Spunky would sometimes rest comfortably on my lap, and even sleep next to me in bed, she could turn into “fearful/aggressive” mode in a nanosecond and go after Bella and new rescue 19 year old Bobo. All the family cats (4 more) were showing signs of stress. The rescue group was too busy to help us and, even worse, deemed Spunky a “problem cat” who would be reduced to life in a cage if returned to them.
In working with Joanna, it became clear that the family cats were seeing that Spunky’s energy did not mesh with the family energy. We also saw that, at least at this point in her life, she was not able to learn to become an integrated family member in a multiple cat home. Even so, I felt that Spunky was not a cat to give up on and did not rest well thinking that her future, despite the advice of others, was grim. I saw something else in Spunky’s being, as did Joanna.
We continued healings and Circles with Spunky. Sometimes two Circles in a week, sometimes daily. Soon after her ear polyp surgery, she was spayed. The post-anesthesia period was torture for her and for us. But it was an epiphany- she indeed was suffering from an overload of toxins: vaccines, anesthesia, medication. Joanna had previously mentioned “vaccinosis” as one of the underlying issues. Now it was clear. We began on a different homeopathic and herbal approach and began intensive healing for detox.
Spunky was improving and yet one evening, we had a serious incident. Unintentionally, when Spunky moved toward another cat and I intervened, I was bitten, badly enough to go to the ER. The ER intake clerk incorrectly tagged the incident as an “animal bite attack upon a human” and, unbeknownst to us, put into motion an animal bite report with layers of repercussions. A voice mail message from Animal Control the next day sealed Spunky’s fate for the time being- she would have to be quarantined with them for 14 days. Heartbroken and deeply concerned for Spunky’s well-being, my husband and I brought her to Animal Control for the quarantine.
When I was allowed to see her two days later, she had completely fallen apart mentally, emotionally and physically. Her surgery ear was now infected. Now surrounded by caged feral cats, she had become crazed in fear and impossible to handle. Yet when I opened Spunky’s cage door and she saw me, she came forward into my arms full of love. I was allowed to move Spunky to a private kennel with a window-view deluxe kitty condo for the remainder of the quarantine. I visited her every morning and afternoon for the duration of the quarantine and some weeks after. Reluctantly I admitted to myself that Spunky could not rejoin our family at this time. She would need a different future. But what would that future be, when would that magic moment present itself?
This sunny, friendly, and spacious pet lodge turned out to be a gift, a breakthrough venue for Spunky, a place where healing could really take hold. It was the beginning of our salvation. Joanna continued healings- individual, family and Circles. Along with homeopathy and my daily visits, Spunky began to relax, bond, and became “soft paw” playful. With each baby step, she began to free herself from the chaos of the past and clear the way for real progress.
Spunky began to watch and learn from the house cats and cats boarding at the pet lodge. The kennel staff loved her and she them. She loved the scent of dogs and she herself was often more like a puppy than a full grown cat. At times, she ambled about without any concerns, even around other cats. With Joanna’s communication and healing support, she began to give herself time to watch before reacting, then made choices whether to react or not. She now was able to discern energy. She began to shine as the sunshine cat I always knew was in her to be.
Our sessions continued to focus on learning to have “soft eyes” instead of the hard gaze eyes. The layers of Spunky began to reveal themselves and peel away bit by bit, allowing her to blossom and to know that she is loved and honored for who she is. These were all part of our healing goals.
And then “grace” came for Spunky in the form of a tragedy and with a healing outcome for all. A couple and their daughter recently lost their island home to a fire. Coincidentally, I owned a nearby rental property that had been recently vacated. While showing the house to these friends, I shared a picture of Spunky and described our plight. They instantly said “Yes, let her come live with us and she will be the only cat!” When I introduced daughter Dana and Spunky to each other, it was love at first sight for both.
A few weeks later, they were ready for Spunky’s arrival. With healings and Circle preparations, Spunky was ready too. Spunky walked into the house as if she owned it - the house, the people and their senior dog Indie. Spunky and Dana were devoted to each other. And Spunky and Indie became immediate BFFs as she happily and easily settled in with her new family.
After a few years and a change in circumstances, Spunky came back to my home and she now lives in “sanctuary”- her own private part of the house. She is extremely loving with me and rarely has an unpredictable moment. Joanna continues healings with Spunky who is a receptive and regular participant in Circles. Spunky now can identify to us her “before life” as the “reactive time of constant alert.” That clouded period is far behind her now!
Spunky’s legacy might be: “Never give up on a being who is challenged in life. Things- and living beings- are not always as they appear to be. Be determined, with great love, to find the healing, to keep looking for the soul and Spirit inside the one who is in difficulty. If you do, you will find it.”
It took a village, a totally outside-the-box village! Thank you Joanna. Thank you everyone who did not give up on Spunky. She now gets to live her life being her best self- a relaxed, healthy, happy, gracious cat.
Spunky continues to be part of both the Prayer & Healing Circles and the Healing Light Circles. And, she always will. Spunky’s life and healing are a miracle. There is no question about that. We are all so grateful to have her in our lives.