by Lupe Gore
Feral Paws Rescue Group in Fresno shares with us some of their animal rescue adventures every month. Check out KRL’s article about Feral Paws to learn more about them. Lupe Gore is a FPRG volunteer.
Part I: Life on the Street in South Los Angeles
The first part of Milo’s Story is told by his caretaker in Los Angeles.
When Milo the kitty showed up one day at a feral feeding station in a dark, trash-strewn alley in South Los Angeles, he was just one of the hundreds of thousands of cats and kittens in this huge city who might have once had a home, but were then dumped on the street: their owners die, move away, or simply don’t want a cat around any more, and they are left to fend for themselves.
It was clear to the feral caregiver of this alley that Milo was not a fighter, even though he was an un-neutered male cat with the usual badges of homeless-kitty survival mode: torn ears, scars, open cuts, patches of missing fur and, sadly, a positive result for FIV when he was later combo-tested at the vet.
At the feeding station, Milo’s peaceful nature stood out among the regulars in the alley. When the other cats tried to beat up on him as he approached the food, he cowered and hung back, waiting, as hungry as he was, for everyone else to finish before he tentatively stepped up and gulped down a few bites of kibble.
The feeder took some cell phone pictures of him while he ate. With his bony frame, scraggly orange fur and big, jowly face (the trademark of an intact adult male cat), he resembled nothing so much as a sad, dejected, and very dirty teddy bear.
The feeder and her friend resolved to help get Milo off the street. Intimidated by the younger, tougher feline residents of the alley, he only showed up at the station every few weeks. He would wait until his hunger was unbearable before he would risk going up against the stronger cats protecting their turf. Once he got a few mouthfuls of food in his belly he retreated to some dark hiding place among the nearby abandoned houses and debris.
Then, one night in April, after his usual weeks-long absence, he showed up, looking more beaten-down than ever. The rescuers were ready for him with a drop-trap, and some especially tasty bait. The trap-savvy regulars in the alley didn’t come forward for their dinner as they usually do; they knew something was up. But Milo walked right under the trap, and didn’t even seem terribly perturbed when it came down on him. This was the beginning of his new life, a better life than anything he had ever known, and he somehow knew it. Inside the trap, he seemed quite content to finally have his own plate of food, which he was allowed to polish off before being transferred to a transport cage.
The sad, bedraggled teddy bear definitely needed an extreme makeover. He was taken to the vet, where he was neutered, vaccinated, and treated for mange and fleas. A lot of fleas. He was given a medicated bath to treat his terrible skin problems, and when the soapy water went down the drain, it looked as though ten pounds of dirt went down with it.
Milo’s small, torn ears were filled with mites, wax and gunk, so they were thoroughly cleaned out and medicated. He had extensive dental disease, necessitating the extraction of many of his teeth, and a deep, thorough cleaning of those that remained.
But despite these painful reminders of all the abuse, neglect, and life on the streets, he was in remarkably good shape. His internal organs were functioning well, and the vet estimated that he was only about eight years old—not over the hill by any means.
After a couple of weeks of recuperating at the vet hospital where, for the first time in many years, he was not simultaneously hungry, itchy, afraid, and in pain, he went on his journey to Feral Paws Rescue in Fresno .
Part II: Life at Feral Paws Rescue
Since being at the Rescue, Milo has been treated like the king that he is. He has a separate area all to himself which he is always cleaning. Yes, that’s right, he cleans his “room;” if food gets outside the dish, he scoops it up and puts it back in. If his blanket isn’t straightened out or isn’t exactly where he wants it, he fixes it. When he wants a fresh bed he will push the old one to the door of his kennel for a new one. Despite having lived on the streets in the manner he did, Milo is spotless in his kennel area. I truly believe he is very grateful for his life now and not on the streets. He is also very lovable and enjoys watching all the other animals at the rescue. He knows he is loved, safe, and that he is going to have food and water whenever he wants it, as well as a clean litter pan and bedding. Milo has finally found “heaven” at Feral Paws Rescue.
September 16 (Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p. m. at Tractor Supply, 1630 Herndon, Clovis CA)
You can learn more about Feral Paws on their website.
Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section & watch for more stories from Feral Paws every other month. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to Feral Paws.
What a lovely story. I hope this gentle boy finds the wonderful, loving home he so deserves. Bless you, Milo.
I thank you for this story about Milo. Most of all, I thank all the people who are providing a good life for him.
I wish I lived in a world where there were no more Milos living on any street anywhere.
I want to hug Milo! I’m so grateful that he has found a safe place where he can be cared for and get the love her deserves.
I loved reading the gentle Milo’s story. Such a sweet soul despite years of neglect and street life. I hope he gets a great home where he will be loved to bits.
Yes, Milo definitely sounds like he was somebody’s pet at some point. I’m glad he is off the streets and some place safe. Very cute that he shoves his bed when he wants a new clean one.
I am so happy there are so many nice people out there ready to help homeless cats like Milo. This is such a nice story.
What a sweet boy Milo is! We’re so happy he’s off the streets and is safe and sound – and happy!
Milo is quite the character! So glad he is getting a better deal in life.
Oooh man this had me in tears!!
Thank heaven Milo is safe now. What a sweet and lovely guy. I’d take him in a heartbeat, NO make that half a heartbeat!!
Good luck and good fortune in finding a perfect home for this lovely boy.
Thank you for sharing sweet Milo’s story. Just look at his face…touches my heart so. I do believe rescued animals really know when they are saved and appreciate their new lives…may “king” Milo find his loving, forever castle soon!
Wow! Surviving eight years as a feral cat seems like an impressive number in itself, but Milo persevering with his sweet nature in tact is miraculous. I hope he finds someone who loves him and appreciates his little OCD tendencies.
I loved reading about Milo and how he seems to grateful to be off of the streets. I hope he can find a forever home soon.
Milo is fortunate to have been rescued and cared for after his obviously lengthy time on the streets. I hope someone will look past the scars and torn ears to see the gentle soul underneath. He certainly deserves to spend his remaining years in a warm home, surrounded by love.
Thank you for such a kind story. Some years ago I took my lovely Derek from the street. I really hope Milo’s life won’t be former. Good luck, Milo!