Abandoned, rescued, adopted: The survival story of 5 cats

Posted July 17
Updated July 23

Clear the Shelters
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— Thousands of homeless animals in local animal shelters will find homes Saturday during Clear the Shelters, a nationwide pet adoption drive.

Eight local animal shelters and others across the nation will waive their pet adoption fees on July 23 in hopes that needy animals living there will find forever homes.

Participating in our area are the SPCA of Wake County, the Wake County Animal Center, SAFE Haven for Cats, the Orange County Animal Services, the Moore County Animal Center, the Durham Animal Protection Society, the Edgecombe County Animal Shelter and the Person County Animal Services.

A survival story

The event could help animals like Scorsese, Fernandez, Giorgio, Pepe and Salazar find loving owners.

These five cats were abandoned in front of a local shelter in September 2015.

A short note left behind was the only clue to why someone would abandon the scared cars. "To whom it may concern," the note read, "Please help these cats. They come from a home that loved them dearly but are far too old for us to care for them anymore."

A vet tech who examined the cats said she had never seen so many fleas in her career. The cats were so dirty that they had to be sedated before they were bathed and treated for ear infections and ear mites. Scorsese had a wound down one side of his face from digging at his ears.

Clear the Shelters

Finally, after their initial medical care, the cats settled into their cages with warm, comfy beds and food. The cats had little to no interest interacting with shelter staff, and two were almost completely lethargic. They were always in or behind their beds and would not move.

"You could pet them, but there was no recognition that you were doing anything," said a staff member at the shelter. "As individuals who have been in animal welfare for a lot of years, we had truthfully never seen anything like these boys. And they were breaking our hearts."

Scorsese required the most vet care of the five cats – due to all the issues with his ears, he had to have surgery on both of his ears and several of his teeth removed.

Giorgio and Fernandez required surgeries, too.

It was a tough road to recovery for all the cats, but Fernandez - the most social of the pack - was the first to be adopted, and his new family says he snuggles up with them at night.

Giorgio was the next to be adopted by a couple who understood cats and his independent, nervous nature - but the other cats are still awaiting homes.

Clear the Shelters

Although Pepe and Salazar were in the best physical shape, they struggled socially. The cats were sent to foster homes, and, at first, the fosters questioned whether they were even able to see or hear as they were so completely non-responsive.

They progressed slowly, though, and after Salazar's foster put a camera in his room overnight, she saw that he acted like a normal, happy cat when no one was watching.

Pepe progressed a little more in his foster home but eventually came back to the shelter to live in a "colony room" with Scorsese and other cats. Having the company of other animals, especially Scorsese, helped him recover from his traumatic abandonment quickly.

The connection between Pepe and Scorsese was instant. They immediately rubbed on each other, walked together and snuggled together.

"It was amazing," said a staff member. "Although Pepe had made progress in his foster home, his transformation was complete when he was put in a room with his brother."

Available for adoption

Salazar will return to the shelter this week to be reunited with his brothers, Scorsese and Pepe, to wait with them for new, permanent homes.

"My greatest hope is that these boys will find their forever homes during Clear the Shelters," said a shelter representative. "They deserve to be spoiled for the rest of their lives."


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