In 2014, a small, sickly cat arrived at Kern County Animal Services. He was so malnourished that an outline of his ribs could be seen beneath a thin layer of bedraggled fur. Due to severe neglect and starvation, painful ulcers covered his mouth, and his gums were inflamed and bleeding.
He was also starved for affection and incredibly loving. The staff decided to name him Cuddles, because that’s all he wanted to do.
No one knew much about his history, only that he was a victim of intentional cruelty. He weighed only five pounds, a fraction of what he should’ve been, and the staff estimated he was about eight to ten years old. Despite his loving personality, no one wanted to adopt him, and he was scheduled to be put to sleep.
That’s when someone reached out to Maine Coon Adoptions (MCA) — a rescue group devoted to saving abandoned and abused cats of all kinds.
“When they asked me to help, I jumped at the chance,” Elaine Lyford-Nojima, founder of MCA, says to Shareably. “The victim of intentional starvation and cruelty? That’s our kind of kitty.”
Since Cuddles had already survived so much, Elaine decided he needed a stronger name, especially since the road to recovery wouldn’t be easy. She changed his name to Jameson — after a four-year-old boy whose family had adopted a cat from MCA. She’d been impressed by how sweet he was to his new kitty, and to the boy’s delight, she promised she’d name a cat after him.
Once under MCA’s care, Jameson was taken to a veterinary clinic for a thorough examination. His liver, kidney, and thyroid looked to be in good shape, but because of the horrible condition of his mouth, all but two teeth had to be extracted. Jameson pulled through the procedure and was placed on a strict regimen of antibiotics and pain medication. After the veterinarian discharged him, Jameson went to Elaine’s home to recover.
Around the same time, a couple named Jeannette and Scott decided to adopt a new cat after losing their nineteen-year-old Maine Coon mix. While visiting Elaine’s foster cats, they were unaware that Jameson was resting inside a cat tree in an adjoining room. Jameson woke up, stuck his head out the tree, and caught his first glimpse of the people who would soon become his forever family.
When Jeannette and Scott heard his story, they knew he was the cat for them. Unfortunately, he wasn’t healthy enough to be adopted yet, so they took two other cats home.
Jameson ended up being sicker than anyone anticipated. While recuperating from his extractions, he had a urinary tract infection and was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease. Elaine administered injections and medication, and she placed him on a special diet. All together, MCA spent over $4,000 to get him healthy again.
Jeannette and Scott came back to visit him while he was still recovering. The two cats they adopted had settled in nicely, and they had room in their lives for a third. As soon as Elaine cleared him for adoption a month later, they returned to take him home. By then, Jameson’s weight reached seven pounds, and he moved with more energy. His gorgeous smoke-gray fur was even growing back.
Two and a half years later, Jameson still acts like a kitten, even though he’s now ten to thirteen years old. Jeanette is happy to report that he is off all his medications and doing extremely well.
Compared to the scrawny cat from before, Jameson looks like a completely different animal — handsome, regal, and strong. He’s grown into his name and almost doubled in size. “He’s about eleven pounds now,” Jeanette says to Shareably. “He has such a cute belly. Don’t tell our vet!”
When describing Jameson, Elaine says, “He is an incredible testimony to the spirit that animals have in spite of incredible cruelty and hardship. He came to us ready to trust and ready to have a new life.”
Thanks to MCA, Jameson’s new life is filled with warm beds, plenty of food, and a forever family who loves him. “We’re so very grateful to all that MCA has done for their kitties,” Jeanette says. “Without MCA, we would not be blessed with Jameson in our lives.”
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