Pity-inducing photos are circulating of a neglected pet cat that was taken in by the Animal Rescue League in Pennsylvania. The 14-year-old feline, known as Hidey, was found to have hair so matted and filthy that it had developed bizarre, weighty dreadlocks. The pitiful calico cat’s condition did not become known until its elderly owner was admitted to eldercare after receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.
 
 
The Animal Rescue League Shelter and Wildlife Center of Philadelphia received the cat, which was also obese, to remove the matted fur and receive care. On its Facebook page, the Animal Rescue League wrote: “This poor cat was brought to our clinic yesterday after her elderly [owner] had to move to a nursing home. She suffered from severe matting (dreadlocks, really), the likes of which had been neglected for years.”
 
 
Attesting to the care that the neglected cat received, Animal Rescue stated: “Our medical team shaved off the pounds of intertwined fur from her body &, needless to say, this cat is feeling so much better now. She will be cared for by a distant relative of her previous owner & finally have a chance at a happy & healthy life.” At least two pounds of matted hair and filth were removed from the cat. Caitlin Lasky, of the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, told the Dodo website that because the cat was so obese, grooming itself had become difficult, thus causing the severe matting.
 
Paul Russell, a distant relative of the 82-year-old cat owner, told the Dodo website that the elderly man was put in a nursing home, his concern switched to the cat. “When they put him in the nursing home, I thought, ‘Hey, he has a cat.’” Russell went to the man’s home and fed the cat and then decided what to do. 
 
“The house was still open, so I went down and left some food for the cat until we figured out what we’re going to do,” said Russell. “So I started searching around, and suddenly this huge creature darts out from under the bed and runs down to the cellar, and I thought, ‘What was that?’” When he first spotted Hidey the cat, he thought it was a cat wrapped in a blanket. When the cat escaped to the basement, Russell went to find it. “I’m down there with a flashlight looking — it was almost like a horror movie.” Russell has also taken in Siam, another cat rescued from his elderly relative’s home. He and has wife, Jill, already have three other cats and two dogs to complement the two newcomers.
 

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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