It might be difficult to understand a cat’s emotions at any given time, but when Elka’s rescuer put a collar on the elderly, ill cat for the first time, there was no need for interpretation.
Elka was happy.
Before her rescue, the approximately 18-year-old cat hadn’t had it easy. At some point, Elka’s former owner had declawed her and then abandoned her with a colony of feral cats when they no longer wanted her.
But, for Brenda Wilkinson, founder of Hands of Mercy Cat Sanctuary, Elka’s life started the night of her rescue. Elka was first spotted by local residents, who captured the scared cat and brought her into their home to give her food and water. Then, they called Wilkinson at Hands of Mercy for help.
When Wilkinson first laid eyes on Elka, she could see the old cat was struggling — so much so that the experienced rescuer did not expect her to live for much longer.
Later tests would show that Elka’s organs had already begun to deteriorate.
Wilkinson told The Dodo, “I genuinely felt like it was going to be a short time together.” Therefore, I [did] all within my power to make her feel loved.
Wilkinson followed Elka’s lead on how she liked to receive love. “She [wanted] to be petted,” Wilkinson said. “She [would] sit on the stand beside my chair and paw at my arm until I [paid] attention to her.”
One of Elka’s love languages that Wilkinson never expected, though, was that of being fitted with her very own collar.
Wilkinson stated, “I was collaring some of the other cats. She was seeing me put them on the others, so I quickly put one on her without giving it any thought.
But something shifted as soon as Wilkinson fastened the vivid orange collar around Elka’s neck. Wilkinson remarked, “I could feel everything inside of her spring with excitement. “Like, ‘Oh my God, I’ve got love. I am once more at home.
It’s been six months since Elka’s brightest chapter started, and her new mom is doing everything possible to help slow her organ failure and alleviate some of her symptoms. “She’s doing amazing,” Wilkinson said. “She’s persistent — she will not take no for an answer.”
For the rest of her days, Elka will remain at Wilkinson’s side at the cat refuge. She will receive endless cuddles and kisses from her new mother and the rest of the Hands of Mercy crew there while she receives lifetime medical care while donning her gorgeous orange collar.
And because, as Wilkinson put it, “she’s home,” she won’t ever have to experience what it’s like to not wear a collar again.
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