Love is the strongest bonding force of all. It fades the differences away, brings us closer together and fortifies our friendships. In the foundation of Basepaws lies a special kind of love – love for cats. One particularly loving and caring member of our community is a beautiful hooman and fur parent, Vanessa. Over the years, Vanessa has gone to great lengths to help numerous animals and provide them with the best lives possible. Nowadays, she is taking care of four lucky pets, of which three are on hospice levels. Ladies and gents, please meet one of Vanessa's utmost darling companions – inimitable Cassidy Catters.
“A true cat lover cradles a newborn kitten and knows that nine lives will never be nearly enough.” – Anonymous
The meowgical story began 18 years ago, while Vanessa volunteered at a rescue shelter. At the time she was fostering “an incredibly wonderful black cat, Pretty Kitty, who had been bred to be a “twisty cat” (cats bred to stand/jump on only their polydactyl hind feet, like bunnies, while their front legs were absent)”.
Pretty Kitty was abandoned in a garage because she retained the semblance of forearm bones. When the rescue team found her, Vanessa immediately offered to foster her. Shortly after, she received a call from the rescuers regarding another kitten with
mobility issues and a troubled past. This kitten was brought into the shelter after “the owner left the umbilical cord wrapped around her back left foot until it fell off, just above the ankle.” After hearing about the traumatized kitten, without
any hesitation, Vanessa immediately went to pick her up. Thus began Vanessa’s unparalleled friendship with one and only – Cassidy.
Cassidy as a kitten
“The 5-wk-old little grey and white fluff ball (she fit into my palm) was quiet and seemed so scared. We put her in my carrier, and they told me I had the privilege of naming her (since the rescue hadn’t yet), and I headed home.” – remembers Vanessa.
Little did she know that this cat, as small and terrified as it was, was a courageous fighter with a mind of her own. “Less than five minutes into the drive, a sound I’d NEVER heard before wailed from that carrier. “WEOOOW-OWWW!!” Could that be coming from that teeny, tiny kitten? I pulled over, checked her over and she looked at me and repeated, “WEOOOW-OWWW!!” I held and comforted her, but she made it abundantly clear she wanted OUT of that carrier and the car. I had to put her back in the carrier (for her safety) and hurried home the last 10 minutes. The frightened kitten literally bellowed the entire time, to the point that my right ear was ringing. It was at that point I considered naming her Aretha because of her VERY BIG voice. I settled on Cassidy, in honor of a three-legged dog I’d fostered years before after placing him with incredible owners who named him Cassidy (after Hopalong Cassidy).”
Nearly two decades later, now 18-year-old Cassidy, still faithfully remains by Vanessa’s side. Over the years, Vanessa rescued and cared for many different animals providing each with a tremendous amount of love and care. Currently, Cassidy is with three
siblings, two canine and one feline. The dogs, Piczi and Oscar, are 17 years old and the cat, Evinrude, is 13. Vanessa dearly loves all of them equally, but she bonded with the rebellious Cassidy on a slightly different level. Cassidy pawed into Vanessa’s
life with a big roar. This is the cat that always knew what she wanted and she never shied away to demand it. Her health nor her traumas could never stand in her way. And Vanessa learned from it: “Cassidy taught me that it’s okay to ask for what you want or need (strongly, if necessary). I truly believe she taught me how to survive a divorce after 30 years (along with her canine and feline brothers and sister). Due to the divorce, we all had to live in an RV for a while, then temporary housing twice, but we’re now in a small condo together and I can tell they’ve never been happier. Me, too!”.
Cassidy is a courageous fighter, feisty in nature and loving at heart. She has a big personality and a heart filled with love. This cat is also exceptionally intelligent and knows how to bend the world according to her needs. Due to her disability, she
can’t scratch her left ear. Thus, she cleverly trained her hoomans to scratch it for her. How genius! “Cassidy is an all-star cuddler! By making motions with her back leg she shows me when she needs her left ear scratched – and she motions all my guests to do the same too!” Because of her age and health status, nowadays Cassidy mostly spends her hours enjoying the cozy naps and cuddles. In hopes to convey what a wonderful little soul her beloved kitty is, Vanessa also added that “Cassidy is incredibly sweet, curious, vociferous – and loves water straight from the tap (and not one of the many, many cat fountains I tried, lol).”
Cassidy drinking from the faucet
Vanessa selflessly joined Basepaws mainly in efforts to contribute to science of cats. Cassidy is a senior cat with multiple health problems. In hopes that Cassidy’s DNA holds answers we are looking for, Vanessa sent us her cat’s precious furs: “I know Cassidy won’t be with me much longer; she is 18 years old now. She has hyperthyroidism and chronic kidney failure (diagnosed two years ago). I have to give her sub-q fluids every day now (for the kidney issues), as well as the oral medicine twice a day (for the hyperthyroidism) and all sorts of supplements. I have to feed her every four hours (24/7) to keep her weight up. That’s why I gathered her DNA for Basepaws; it was important to me that her existence on this planet might help other Felis silvestris catus – especially the loud, demanding ones (okay, Cassidy telepathically told me to add that last line).”
While our science team is cooking up the health index, Cassidy discovered her kitty’s breed composition and wildcat ancestry. “Cassidy is mostly a mix of Siberian Forest Cat and Ragdoll, with a little bit of Maine Coon in there. I was surprised at the Siberian Forest cat. While Cassidy, until her health decline, always had a luxurious coat, she’s a petite girl (not large and powerful like the Siberian or the Maine Coon), but she is a powerful jumper – even with only one back foot! I was not at all surprised at the Ragdoll, however. She fits it perfectly! Plus, I learned that the Ragdoll breed has Siamese in their background – and Cassidy is quite the talker!” Our report also revealed Snow leopards, Clouded leopards and Ocelots as Cassidy’s closest wildcat matches. “I was fascinated with the Wild Cat index! Wonderfully informative.” – said Cassidy.
Vanessa, the Basepaws team would like to take this opportunity to thank you for going to the greatest lengths to help so many animals in need and provide them with love and care. Cassidy (and her furriends) are all lucky bundles to have a hooman like
you by their side. We wish you and your beautiful pets a lifetime of happiness and love. Meow!