The first time I saw him four years ago, he was glaring at me through the wire of a cage, an old skinny defiant street fighter with many battle scars. I was living in Indiana and volunteering for a cat rescue called “Indy Ferals”. The old Tom was not a part of the established colony we found him trying to infiltrate, and the other cats were determined to drive him away. To return the old black cat to a life on the streets was not a good decision, but I also could not agree to have him euthanized…so I took him home with me. For two weeks, he remained invisible under the couch blending into the shadows. I only knew he was alive because every morning the food bowl was empty and the litter box has been used. Finally, one morning when I walked into the room, he was stretched out on the sofa and gave me permission to touch him. First I named him Onyx, then Othello, but he ignored both names. His tattered ears only perked up when I called him “Otto”.
He did not like being confined to one room. Since we lived in a small country town, I let him outside again, and he stayed close to the house, showed up regularly at dinner time, and after the first snow storm he wanted to be let into the house again to become a “couch potato”.
Two years ago, we moved from Indiana to Colorado with four dogs and five cats including Otto. Things went well until last summer when Otto’s health started to deteriorate. He lost weight, did not groom himself until his fur became a matted mess, quit using his litter box, and started drooling long, stinky threads of drool. When I tried to clean him, he would run from me. Even if I had just a dust rag in my hand, he would hide behind the sofa. He became “that wild cat” that did not want to be touched…little did I know that every time I wiped his face I was causing him great pain. After several attempts, I finally was able to get him into a cage and take him to Dr Pierce. Her diagnosis: all of his remaining teeth were rotten and infected and had to be extracted. Before Christmas, Otto went in for surgery, and his recovery was my best Christmas present. Within days, he quit drooling, he smelled good, he was eating again, his fur grew back like soft velvet, and best of all… He wanted to be my buddy again, to be loved and petted and touched without running.
For Otto and I, Dr. Pierce is a miracle worker! Thank You for giving me back my cats affection and making me aware of how important oral health is not only for me but also for all my pets. I was afraid I was going to lose Otto, but now the two of us are looking forward to many more happy years together.