Paul Russell was in sore for one big surprise. Living in Pennsylvania, he often worried about a relative of his who lived further away. This relative was having a hard time, and Paul truly wanted to assist him.
Making A Decision
This relative was now 82 and had recently moved from his home in Pennsylvania. The man was independent and living on his lonesome until he contracted a mysterious disease and was no longer able to care for himself.
His family made the decision to move him closer to them so that they could maintain a watchful eye over him. This may have been the best option for the man, but they did not know him very well nor did they know that taking him out of his environment would lead to some strange events.
Entering The House
Naturally, pets were forbidden at the nursing home. Sadly, this meant that SIam was left behind, the man’s beloved 17-year-old Siamese cat. Paul recognized an opportunity to assist Paul and his wife were complete animal lovers and had a few furry friends of their own.
Paul soon realized, Siam was not the only “animal” over there. Paul went towards the front door, opened it, and instantly turned the light switch on and off. Nothing was there. He would have to go into the cellar find the breaker, first thing first, he had to fetch something.
A Creeping Feeling
He went back to his car and reached for his emergency flashlight. Paul almost dropped the flashlight when he placed the spotlight in the hallway. First he smelt something, and all of a sudden paul stumbled and lost sight of the hallway; the entire house was packed with junk from top to bottom.
The windows were somewhat tinted, and the walls were oddly marked. Paul felt a weird sensation as he swept through the room, as if he was being watched doing so. His mind was racing- mice, snakes, rats or something even worse.
Hiding In The Dark
Paul had goosebumps as he shone his flashlight across the walls. Who, how or what managed to do this? Where was Siam? Paul scrutinized the markings on the walls and noticed that the wallpaper had in fact been scratched.
His heart was beating in his throat, yet he continued to walk down the hallway. He whispered quietly, “Kitty, kitty.” Paul felt a wave of suspicion come over him and his gut was telling him to run away and quickly. He knew he had to find Siam before he could leave and he had to make it quick.
Sam went to find Siam’s food bowl, he went towards the kitchen. He filled the bowl with cat food that he had brought to the house – Siam was nowhere to be found. Paul’s heart suddenly dropped a few minutes later.
If Siam was hiding there was no way Paul was going to find him in the dark- there were just too many places he could be. It became evident he would have to go down to the basement and sort out the switch. When he heard a shocking sound that struck him right to the core before he had evened entered the darkened stairway.
A Huge Creature
A terrifying and loud cry filled the room, Paul stopped dead in his tracks. He then heard a thump, however, this time the noise was coming from another room- the bathroom. He proceeded very cautiously as he approached the door.
Going Back In
Using his foot, he kicked the door open and quickly moved the shower curtain too. Siam had been found- cramped in the bathroom stall that was soothing him. Siam was hungry and shivering. No one knew when he had even last been fed.
Paul started to think about the cat, suddenly he heard another sound from the darkness and he went cold with fear. Paul heard grumbling in the distance and it was traveling through the entire hallway. But if Siam was with him, then who or what was making that noise?
At The Vet
He assured himself that it was most likely just a raccoon that had been scared and in the abandoned house, this must have been why Siam was in the bath. As he opened the door carefully he was gobsmacked with an unexplainable look on his face.
Most of us would have taken Siam and bolted straight for the door, but not Paul. He said, “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?’”
Scared, Paul sprinted out the house. He was not going to return to the cellar until he had gathered every bit of bravery he possibly had. Thus, with his wife Jill by his side, the pair decided to enter together. Paul was now supported and ready.
They steadily descended down the stairs, armed with a trap and their flashlights. Paul remembers, The next day, I went into the creepy old cellar… I’m down there with a flashlight looking— it was almost like a horror movie. Then I found it hunkering in the corner…”
They had cornered the creature and forced it into the pit. Jill backed up, she was stunned. Her husband said that the creature was dusty and had multiple legs, Jill was in disbelief. Now she had seen it for herself.
What had they found? They rushed the alien-like creature to the veterinarian hoping that would provide some clarity. Paul and Jill were shaking. They had no idea what this creature was. Paul thought maybe it was an unknown wild animal, something he had never heard of. Could it be a common animal just with a blanket or something over it?
Monster Under The Bed
The vest had never seen anything like this either. Suddenly, the creature turned around, they were all at a complete loss for words. As they turned the animal over, they had revealed a head- it was a cat. The head was sticking out from the multiple strange “tentacles” that covered its body.
It hit them, at that moment. They had found a cat! How had it become such a weird creature? The vets were in agreement that the only viable option, after arguing what the next move should be, is t anesthetize the cat.
Looking Out For Each Other
The cat was given the name Hidey after it had been caught hiding under masses of matt fur. Unfortunately, Hidey had been forgotten for an extremely long time by its 82-year-old owner.
“Hidey was overweight, so that makes it harder for [cats] to groom themselves, and that’s when you see matting happen,” Western PA Humane Society Senior Marketing Communications Manager Caitlin Lasky explained.
A Happy Ending
How would the cat’s ‘dreadlocks’ be safely removed? Hidey took the veterinary team by surprise with his presence. “They hadn’t seen anything like that,” Caitlin Lasky, senior marketing communications manager for Western PA Humane Society, said.
A Unique Case
“Even looking online, I had a hard time finding anything similar, so it’s a unique case.” There was only one solution, to shave everything off. However, there was no room for errors.
They steadily and carefully began cutting off the mass once Hidey had been given a general anesthesia. The Facebook post of the shelter read, . “Our Medical team shaved off the pounds of intertwined fur from her body, and, needless to say, this cat is feeling so much better now!”
The fur weighed up to two entire pounds! “Lots of furs. It had to be years of matting for it to get that long.” Hidey was not only now one of the fattest but one of the hairiest cats in history. However, Hidey had a bigger problem- she had no home.
Thankfully, Paul and Jill made the decision to take both Hidey and Siam in as soon as Hidey was released from the animal hospital. The Russels provided these two with a forever home, and they have four other siblings: two cats and two dogs.
It has taken a bit more time to see Hidey for her true self, but without the knotted fur she is now able to transition to life. She may not know it as of yet, but she has been given the opportunity to live happily and healthily. The question is will Hidey ever trust again?
After years of abandonment, it may take some time for her to relax a little. Russell said, “She’s been hiding under the bed for the last few days. I’ve been dragging her out and holding her, and she’s starting to purr a lot.”
Little By Little
“For the last couple of days, she’s climbed from under the bed on her own, and I’ve got a cat’s bed. So she’s starting to work her way to see more people.” Dan Rossi is the CEO of the Animal Rescue League Shelter and the Western PA Humane Society, he explained “The companionship of a pet will offer many positive benefits to the elderly, but it is a great responsibility to own a pet.”
Rossi also had some advice and guidance on how to act in this situation, “If a family member, friend, or neighbor owns a pet, please help them ensure that there is a support system in place if / when mental faculties begin to decline.”
Open Door Shelters
“Also, open door shelters such as the Animal Rescue League Shelter and the Western PA Humane Society do not turn any animal away unless there are other choices for the pet.” It will take some time to figure out who exactly Hidey is. Thankfully, she is adjusting to life slowly but surely without all that excess fur, Hidey is growing into her own.
Run The House
Russell went on, “Other than being standoff, in which you are keeping her, and she’s going to purr.” However, Jill feels that there is still a ton more in store for Hidey in the year ahead. Jill explained, “She’s going to run the house in six months.”
A Little Trimmer
“And now she’s going to be a little trimmer.” It is a blessing that someone finally realized that Hidey was having a hard time under all that knotted fur and she finally got it taken care of. We hope this case leads by example and results in less unattended animals amongst the elderly.
It has come to our attention that Hidey it’s not the only cat that has been through something like this. Actually, a cat named Sinbad had a freakishly similar ordeal. Sinbad was rescued in Chicago from his owner who was also elderly and unable to look after him.
Neglected For A While
Sinbad had been neglected for quite a while. His fur was also severely knotted. Thankfully, the rescuers arrived and the owner agreed that Sinbad would be better cared for elsewhere. This sparked the idea within community members to devise a plan.
The workers tried to keep the cat calm so that they could get to work on ridding all the fur that she was caught under. It was extremely lucky that Sinbad was such a cooperative and well-behaved cat that followed the workers.
Sinbad eventually realized what was happening and simply went along with the process of being revived and shaven. Slowly but surely, the cute and kind cat evolved from within the tangled knotted mess.
The rescuers had to shave Sinbad’s hair in two sittings as there was such a large amount of excess fur. Each sitting took over two hours to complete and the cat was anesthetized each time. Once the rescuers were able to complete the shaving the fur weighed in at five pounds.
Once they finished the fur removal, Sinbad was unrecognizable and a completely different cat. Sinbad shed five pounds after all. After losing so much fur the cat was sensitive to temperatures and was given a sweet little shirt to keep warm.
Such A Relief
Sinbad was relieved from having the fur removed but had to learn how to rewalk on his hind legs. This was because they had become atrophied due to the lack of use after so many months like that.
Getting A Lot Of Attention
“Now he’s getting lots of TLC and attention… “I’m just astounded at how he just loves people…” “Even though people haven’t always treated him very well… It’s a lesson we could all learn” His new owner exclaimed.
Elliott Serrano, education manager at the Chicago Anti-Cruelty Society, explained, “He didn’t get a lot of attention because of all the matting on his body and carrying five pounds worth of mats so he was not just in a neglective environment but a neglective condition as well.”
Sinbad had another task on his list he had to gain some weight. Sinbad was extremely malnourished when he was found. Dr. Robyn Barbiers, president of the Chicago Anti-Cruelty Society said, “We had a volunteer step up who is very good at getting cats to eat, started making a grool, putting it in his mouth and after six days of that he started eating on his own.”
Once Sinbad had regained his health, it was time to be put up for adoption. But, something strange occurred when he was being fostered. He had a truly unique bond with his foster parent. Sinbad’s foster parent explained, That first weekend when I took him home when he just wanted to lay on my chest and purr and chirp and be with me. That convinced me that he wanted to stay”
“We would never have known if somebody hadn’t cared enough to see an animal in need, take a photo, get it to us so that our investigators could go out and rescue this cat,” He went on.
Then Vs. Now
Sinbad now lives the life of a legend with his owner and weighs over eight pounds- a healthy weight for a cat of that size. His owner says he is feisty but has a wonderful nature. His owner even posted a photo on Instagram that showed Sinbad after he had jumped on his shoulders.
This story has a happy ending and wouldn’t have been possible unless that utility worker had discovered him. Adding to that the worker had actually done something about the situation and ended up helping Sinbad.