How Fossey the cat got his sparkle back

Smiling person holding Fossey the black cat
After many months of health challenges, this big guy has a bright future ahead of him.
By Christina London

Fossey is a big boy with shiny black fur and bright yellow eyes. He loves the simple things in life: feeling sunshine on his face, snuggling in a soft bed, and the satisfaction of catching his mouse toy. Most of all, Fossey loves — and we mean loves — belly rubs. Most cats will clearly let you know when they are done receiving belly rubs, but for Fossey, the belly rub limit does not exist. Even on his darkest days, Fossey seemed to find happiness in a simple belly rub.

Caring for Fossey

We don’t know much about the first eight years of Fossey’s life. But when he arrived at a Utah shelter, he was 23 pounds, severely matted, and incredibly shy. Fossey needed more time and resources to get healthy, so shelter staff contacted Best Friends. Our goal is for all shelters to reach no-kill by 2025, and that means animal welfare organizations working together like this to save pets’ lives.

Because he was so anxious, Fossey stopped eating.

“Despite appetite stimulants, medications, and lots of different food, he just wouldn’t eat,” says Dr. Megan McCarthy, a veterinarian at the Best Friends Lifesaving Center in Salt Lake City. “A big problem with overweight and obese cats is, when they stop eating, they can get a liver condition called hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver. That can cause them to get extremely sick.”

[Liver Disease in Cats: Signs, Treatment, Prognosis]

Concerned for Fossey’s life, our team rushed him to an emergency vet clinic where they placed a feeding tube in his esophagus. That way, Fossey could get the necessary nutrition for his liver to heal.

After being discharged from the emergency vet, Fossey continued to be hospitalized at Best Friends. His sweet, affectionate personality and penchant for belly rubs quickly made him a staff favorite. (Because truly, how can anyone be sad while giving a fat cat belly rubs?)

As he recovered, Fossey’s next stop was foster care. Our knowledgeable and dedicated foster volunteers went above and beyond to help Fossey return to health. Besides blending food to make his meals and feeding him four times a day, they gave him his medication, drove him to checkups, and cleaned his tube insertion site.

Overcoming setbacks

Just as things started looking up, Fossey faced more health challenges. This time, it was his skin, which was itchy and inflamed.

“He was severely matted when he came in, and we had to shave him. Sometimes under those mats can be little areas of infection,” says Dr. Megan.

[Love brings cat back from the brink]

Fossey’s healing was slow and included several setbacks. But in time, his skin improved, and he began eating on his own. At last, Fossey’s feeding tube could be removed. He also received much-needed dental work since he was finally strong enough to undergo surgery.

After months of treatment, this resilient kitty was ready for a home. In no time, Fossey charmed a family the same way he’d charmed everyone else he met along his journey.  Gone are Fossey’s days of feeding tubes and medicated skin baths. His new home offers big windows for birdwatching, plenty of playtime, and, best of all, unlimited belly rubs.

Let's make every shelter and every community no-kill by 2025

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill by 2025. No-kill means saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved, accounting for community safety and good quality of life for pets. 

Shelter staff can’t do it alone. Saving animals in shelters is everyone’s responsibility, and it takes support and participation from the community. No-kill is possible when we work together thoughtfully, honestly, and collaboratively.

Silhouette of two dogs, cat and kitten

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You can help end the killing in shelters and save the lives of homeless pets when you foster, adopt, and advocate for the dogs and cats who need it most.

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