Valentino the cat has a mysterious past, but one thing was for sure: he’s lead a difficult life thus far. Filthy, mangy, and not yet neutered, no one wanted to touch the sickly kitty once he’d made his way to a shelter in Los Angeles. But beneath his rough skin, and his eyes that were so infected he couldn’t see, this poor cat wanted nothing more than to be loved.
Sadly, due to his appearance, everyone kept avoiding him…until Elaine Seamans came along. Seamans is no stranger to down-and-out pets. She is the founder of the At-Choo Foundation, “a non profit 501 (c)(3) devoted to helping shelter dogs needing medical care, love, and cuddles on a forever basis.” She frequents the local shelter in search of sick or injured pets in need of extra help, taking them under her wing or networking with other organizations. Often, these rescues are an ill animal’s only hope. And even though Seaman’s foundation focuses dogs, it was a cat who caught her attention that day.
As she walked by his cage, there was something about Valentino that stopped her dead in her tracks.
The first thing that she noticed was that the poor baby was covered in feces, litter, and filth, and she knew that his health was deteriorating.
“I saw that his eyes were swollen shut, his skin was hard on his head, and he also had hard ridges on the back of his neck that were also furless and hard,” she explained to iHeartCats.
While Seamans has a soft spot for all animals, especially those in need, something about this cat really pulled at her heartstrings.
“There is something I can’t explain about him. Something like love — you can’t see it, but can feel it,” she said.
Despite the fact that the cat’s fur was matted with dirt and feces, she reached into Valentino’s cage to give him a loving touch, then picked him up. It was instantly evident that he’d been craving affection, and snuggled right up to her.
So, the kitty was pulled from the shelter by Seamans, who called her friend Toby Wisneski, the founder of Leave No Paws Behind. She heard Valentino’s tiny cries over the phone, and just like Seamans, knew she had to help.
When taken into his care, Wisneski took the cuddly cat to the vet, where they were given some very good news: Valentino had a hopeful prognosis, despite the dire condition he was currently in. He’s estimated he’s between the ages of 2-5, so once he’s recovered, this friendly feline has a chance to live a long, happy life!
Valentino is doing well with his treatments, and as the infection and swelling began receding from his eyes, he showed his caregivers another beautiful surprise: their first glimpse of his gorgeous, green irises!
Valentino still has some healing to do, but he’s just happy to be cared for. Once he is healed, he will need a forever family that loves him as much as he’ll love them!
“I believe that those who some might call, ‘not perfect’ have the grandest of lessons for us humans to learn,” Seamans told iHeartCats. “Doctors and vets aren’t the only ones who can be proud to save a life and to heal a life. Each of us can do that. Dare to try.”
If you live near Los Angeles and you’re interested in fostering this cuddly kitty once he’s ready, email Leave No Paws Behind: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good luck, Valentino! We know you’ll find your purrfect forever Valentine!
(h/t: The Dodo)