When Katherine Meara and her partner came across Tuggly on the New Zealand SPCA website, they knew he was the cat they had been hoping to adopt.
Meara told The Dodo, “I figured he was at least over 10 years old just from his appearance.” He appeared to be so forlorn and scruffy in comparison to the other cat photographs that, even though I was in error, I knew I wanted to take him.
Tuggly is actually around 5 years old, but he had already been through so much by the time he arrived in the care of the SPCA that he looked so much older. He was found living as a stray in Christchurch, New Zealand, and had some pretty bad cuts all around his neck.
Due to his past, poor Tuggly was terrified and confused about what was happening to him. It caused him to act out and be aggressive, and the shelter made sure to inform the couple about this behavior — but even after meeting him and seeing it firsthand, they decided they wanted him regardless. Somehow they just knew it was meant to be.
Tuggly was anxious to explore when he first got to his new house. He was undoubtedly anxious, but his adoptive parents made every effort to make him feel at ease. They gradually became aware of his needs and made adjustments.
They thought that soon he would unwind and understand that he was finally secure.
“I think he was a little frightened, and after essentially starving for so long, he would just get panicky and aggressive about food,” Meara said. “He was very thin when we got him, to the point where his fur was also quite thin from malnutrition. Once we bought him an automatic feeder, he was fine as he stopped associating us with food …
He was scared, he was starving and it took him a week or so to adjust, which is actually quite fast compared to most cats. It’s a good reminder that sometimes cats just need time.”
Tuggly was extremely at ease in his new home after just a few weeks, contrary to the couple’s expectations. Today, around six months later, he appears and behaves quite differently.
Meara declared that the man was no longer violent in the slightest. “Tuggly now appears to be an entirely different cat when we compare him to the pictures from the SPCA. He now has the sweetest, roundest tomcat jowls and finally has fuller, fuller cheeks.
Additionally, his fur has grown significantly, and he is now our huge, floofy boy. Being the prince of the household for my lover would be an understatement because my boyfriend and I don’t have any kids or other pets. He enjoys spending every moment with us. He must take part in whatever we do since he is so interested.
The way Tuggly looked and acted back when he was first rescued from the streets is now a distant memory. He’s turned into a cat who loves to lounge in front of the fireplace in the winter and chase butterflies in the summer.
It turns out all Tuggly really needed to thrive was time, patience and love.
He has changed into the cutest, most friendly little cat, and we love him so unbelievably much, Meara said. “After signing a release for his hostility,” she said.