Cat gets comfortable in her own skin

Lil the cat lying on Kelly's chest
Lil came to Best Friends with a bad skin condition, but with help from the medical team and a wonderful foster family, she’s now living her best life in Los Angeles.
By Andrea Pitts

It often takes an army of patient yet persistent people to help an animal in need find a happy ending. This was certainly the case for Lil, a three-year old, black-and-white cat who came to Best Friends from Los Angeles Animal Services. Lucky for Lil, she had an infantry of committed people in her corner after some puzzling health conditions complicated her journey toward adoption.

Coming together to help a cat heal

When Lil arrived at Best Friends in Los Angeles, the veterinary team examined her and found that she not only had an upper respiratory infection, but she also had irritating skin lesions on her back. The respiratory infection cleared up nicely with medication, but the lesions were much more difficult to treat.

Lil underwent multiple skin biopsies along with medication, diet and environmental changes to help the medical staff determine the cause of the lesions and the best course of action to treat them. After much trial and error, it was determined that her skin issues were likely caused by allergies and aggravated by stress. The staff veterinarian prescribed a daily steroid injection and caregivers did their best to help reduce her stress level.

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“It was truly an army of people that helped her find her way. We never gave up trying new things,” says Krystal Vera, Best Friends supervisor in Los Angeles.

Because Lil didn’t like being around other cats, keeping her relaxed was no easy task. The team set out to find a foster home where she could enjoy being the only cat and allow her body to heal.

Placing Lil in a home environment helped reduce the lesions some, but she didn’t get a chance to relax in one place for long. For months and through no fault of her own, she bounced between the lifesaving center and different short-term foster homes. Then she met two people who changed her life forever.

Cat finds a place to be herself

Kelly and Brandon were looking to grace their new apartment with a feline friend but wanted to test the waters before committing to a long-term adoption. Fostering a cat in need seemed like a win-win situation.

The couple happened to be combing through a list of potential cats from Best Friends when they got a call from the foster team asking if they’d be willing to open their home to a three-year-old cat who was undergoing medical treatment. While that request at first seemed daunting to Kelly and Brandon, they knew they’d have all the support they needed from the team at Best Friends, so they agreed to foster Lil.

When Lil arrived home with Kelly and Brandon, her desire to explore their apartment caught them by surprise. They had set up a space for her in the bathroom, but she didn’t want to stay there. She always wanted to be wherever they were. Brandon says, “She started coming closer to us and falling asleep at our feet.”

A cat who plays fetch

Fast forward seven months from their first meeting with Lil, and Kelly and Brandon will tell you they have completely fallen in love with her — so much so, that even though their apartment lease does not allow them to have a cat as a permanent resident, they asked for special permission to keep her. It was a long shot, but it worked. The answer was yes. Soon after receiving the green light from their building manager, Kelly and Brandon made Lil’s adoption official. “It was a match made in heaven,” says Kelly.

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They continue to work with the Best Friends veterinary team on monitoring and caring for Lil’s skin. The lesions are still present, but after adjusting her medication regimen, they are now seeing very positive results. Kelly says, “We couldn’t have done it without the support of the Best Friends staff and volunteers. They have been there with us every step of the way. We appreciate them so much.”

These days, Lil has plenty of time in the day for rest and relaxation. That’s not all she does, though. She loves to play fetch with her favorite mouse toy. “We are convinced she is a dog trapped in a cat’s body,” says Brandon.

Don’t worry though, Lil is quick to remind them that she is, in fact, a cat by channeling her lineages of a lion when things don’t go her way. Brandon says, “When she wants something we have and we don’t give it to her, the patient meows turn into a demanding roar.”

Today instead of falling asleep at their feet, Brandon says she just climbs right onto their chests. “She’s never more than five feet away from us.” Lil is living life to the fullest as a domestic diva with her two favorite people. She has finally found her happy ending.

Fostering saves lives

Got a little time to spare? Fostering pets like Lil makes an incredible difference in their lives and you just might fall in love.

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