Health

Cat That Craved Touch Finally Gets A Hug—And A Home

We're thrilled this sad story had a happy ending.

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:

RESCUED! Previously: I stink and it's great! This is one of the #sweetest #cats I've ever met. When I saw him in #medical at Baldwin park shelter he stole my #heart. When he reached out for #love and relaxed in my arms with his head resting on my shoulder with a tiniest #meow, I feared he had just passed in my arms. HE HAS BEEN RESCUED! Today is a gloriously #beautiful day for Valentino! THANK YOU to Toby at Leave No Paws Behind for seeing in his pictures I sent the #urgency that was visible in person. He had poo on him which is now on me and more than likely #sarcoptic mange (contagious) that I'll probably catch for the first time. How could I not #cuddle him and #kiss his thick skin with missing fur and eyes that can't open? I'm so #happy! He's about to invade many hearts and get all that he absolutely needs and #deserves! #love #weallhavesouls #animalsmatter #savealife #makeadifference #kitty #valentino #ringworm

A post shared by Elaine Seamans (@atchootreasures) on

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!