Let me tell you the story of Winnie the white cat, pictured here looking a little like a ferret! She was found as a stray, skinny and dehydrated, with blood coming down her ears and red weeping eyes. She was taken to a vet where she was cleaned up and given fluids and food and estimated to be about 12 years old. Unfortunately Winnie had redness, sores and crustiness on her ear-tips which was diagnosed as cancer and she may have been scratching them which caused the bleeding. Cancer on the ears and nose is more common in cats with white ears or a pink nose and is often triggered by excessive exposure to the sun. It can be treated successfully if its caught early enough and can be prevented by protecting the cat from the effects of the sun, much as you would a child.
Winnie may have lost the upright part of her ears, but she didn’t loose her fighting spirit. By the time she arrived in foster-care, she had recovered from her surgery and put on some weight and her fur, dirty and stained yellow when she was found, looked fluffy and white again. With her dignity restored, she would sit on her shelf in her pen, watching the birds in the garden and squawking at anyone who walked past. Her meow sounded like an old parrot, a real gravelly croak, and she always looked like she was looking at you with suspicion because her eyes were always half-shut due to her ongoing chronic conjunctivitis condition.
This old girl was truly an amazing cat and I couldn’t help but admire her – she could spend hours flopped across someone’s shoulder, purring, and would get quite miffed if the human tried to remove her, digging her claws into their clothing and squawking in protest as she was put back in to her bed. She had to have eye drops twice a day and would let her foster-mum do this without kicking up a fuss, something most cats (including myself) would object to quite strongly. After 5 long months, she was eventually re-homed to an elderly lady who was looking for the company of a cat but was not well enough to care properly for a feline friend. However, this lady had carers who visited twice a day and kept an eye on Winnie, doing the feeding, eye drops and litter trays and ensuring her wellbeing, while Winnie spent the rest of her time snoozing happily next to her new owner.