While searching to adopt a senior cat, Katherine Meara and her boyfriend came across this cat on the New Zealand SPCA website, named Tuggly. When they saw this senior cat, they knew that he was the one for them. In an interview, Meara had this to say about the cat: “I assumed he was at least over 10 years old just by his appearance. I turned out to be wrong obviously, but he just looked so scruffy and sad compared to all the other cat photos I knew I had to have him.”
Tuggly had gone through some tough times before he had come to the care of the SPCA, and though he looked very much older for his age, he was only around 5 years old. When he was found by the SPCA, he had pretty bad cuts all around his neck, and was living as a stray in Christchurch, New Zealand. The 5 year old cat was extremely terrified and confused regarding what was going on around him due to his past.
This made Tuggly to be aggressive and to act out. When the couple went to SPCA, the shelter workers informed them about the aggressive behavior of the cat, and even though the cat had a rough upbringing, and seeing the aggressive behavior firsthand, the couple still wanted Tuggly, and knew that it was meant to be.
Upon first arrival at the new house, the elderly cat was eager to explore his new surroundings, and as he was definitely nervous, his human parents were so accommodating and did everything in their power to make him as comfortable as possible. As time went on Meara and her partner learned what their new pet needed and adjusted accordingly, and their hope was that with time, Tuggly would relax and would feel safe and that they cared for him.
Meara also had this to say about their new pet: “I think he was a little frightened, and after essentially starving for so long, he would just get panicky and aggressive about food. He was very thin when we got him, to the point where his fur was also quite thin from malnutrition. Once we bought him an automatic feeder, he was fine as he stopped associating us with food … He was scared, he was starving and it took him a week or so to adjust, which is actually quite fast compared to most cats. It’s a good reminder that sometimes cats just need time.”
Although the couple figured out that it would take a long time for the cat to settle in, given only a few weeks, Tuggly was extremely comfortable, and six months later, he looks completely different. Talking about Tuggly, his human mom also says: “Now he doesn’t have an aggressive bone in his body.
When we look at Tuggly’s photos from the SPCA now, he looks like a completely different cat. His cheeks have finally filled out and he’s got the cutest, roundest tomcat jowls. His fur has really filled out as well and he’s now our big, floofly boy. My boyfriend and I do not have children or any other pets, so to say that he is the prince of the household would be an understatement. He loves to be with us at all times. He is very curious and has to be involved in everything we do.”
Looking back at Tuggly’s photos, the way he looks when he was rescued is a distant memory. He has become more buoyant and loves chasing butterflies in summer and lounge in front of the fire in winter, and all that Tuggly had needed since day 1 was love, time and patience.
Finally, Meara had this to say: “After signing a waiver for his aggression, he has turned into the loveliest, most affectionate little cat, and we love him so unbelievably much.”