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Animals make wonderful companions for people getting up in years. They’re loyal and always there to keep them company. But if the pet owner begins to experience symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, their ability to care for the pet can start to deteriorate. It’s a Catch 22. Pets help make life more barely and happy for older people, but the animals can end up suffering if they don’t get the care they need. That brings us to our story today. When a man named Paul Russel went to visit his relative with Alzheimer’s disease, he looked around for the cat. When he heard the kitty scratching in the basement, he took the stairs down. What he saw made him shutter and scream. He couldn’t believe that cat was in such terrible condition.
“When they put him in the nursing home, I thought, ‘Hey, he has a cat,’” Russel told The Dodo. “The house was still open, so I went down and left some food for the cat until we figured out what we’re going to do. Then somebody mentioned that he had a second cat. So I started searching around, and suddenly this huge creature darts out from under the bed and runs down to the cellar, and I thought, ‘What was that?’”
The poor cat named Hidey was covered in pounds of matted fur. The animal was being weighed down by her own hair and could hardly get around. When the person visiting the relative saw Hidey’s pitiful state, he knew he couldn’t leave the cat there anymore.
“At first I thought it was a cat who had a blanket draped over her that she dragged down,” Russel said. “But no — it turned out to be Hidey. She hid down in the corner of the cellar. I’m down there with a flashlight looking — it was almost like a horror movie. And I found her hunkering in the corner. Probably very scared. Probably in a lot of pain.”
He rushed Hidey, who was also deprived of food and water, to a nearby animal shelter. There, the rescue workers shaved off Hidey’s matted fur. And after that quick, painless procedure, Hidey was able to walk and move about and get on the path to better health.
Because Hidey could not return to her former owner, the Western PA Humane Society contacted family members and found someone ready and willing to take Hidey into their home. Thankfully, Hidey will be cared for, but she is not the only one.
The Humane Society emphasized that if any of your family members have Alzheimer’s disease and are also pet owners, the animals need to be checked on as well.
In the video below, you can get a good look at Hidey before and after she had her matted fur shaved off. She was covered in dreadlocks and struggled to get around. If Russel hadn’t been there to save her, she most surely would not have made it.
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