Cat that craved touch finally gets a hug—and a home

All animals deserve love. But for one cat living at the Baldwin Park animal shelter in Los Angeles, no one seemed interested in giving him any affection. Granted, Valentino did not look like the cuddliest of cats. His fur was matted and dirty, his eyes were swollen shut and he suffered from sarcoptic mange, a highly contagious skin disease that can be passed to humans.

Here’s a snap of Valentino before he received some TLC:

When Elaine Seamans, a regular visitor to the shelter, passed his cage and heard his lonely meow, she knew she had to help. Instead of wearing gloves, as many people would do to protect themselves from the mange, Seamans held Valentino with her bare hands, finally giving him the kind of close human contact he so desperately craved. “When I picked him up, he put his little head on my shoulder,” Seamans told The Dodo. “That was it. I had to get him out.”

Seamans called her friend, Toby Wisneski, founder of Leave No Paws Behind, an all-breed animal rescue group specializing in pets with special needs. Seamans was hopeful that Wisneski could help. As soon as Wisneski heard Valentino’s soft meow over the phone, she, too, was smitten with the feline.

Wisneski lent a helping hand right away, taking Valentino to a veterinary clinic for treatment. His journey there was a long one but, slowly, Valentino’s skin cleared up, his fur grew back in, he gained weight and he grew stronger. Eventually, he was even able to open his eyes. Here’s Valentino on his road to recovery:

Finally, Valentino was healthy enough to move in with a foster family who, just like Seamans and Wisneski before them, totally fell in love with him. On June 4, his foster family decided to make him a permanent member of their family, finally giving him his forever home. Here’s a shot of Valentino on the day he was officially adopted, looking happy and healthy:

We’re so glad this story had a happy ending!