When Carina from Queen of Hearts Rescue — an organization dedicated to trap-neuter-return (TNR) and caring for colonies of feral cats — met Teddy, she wanted to find a forever home for the friendly and affectionate feline. Amanda Hodder, who runs Kitten Rescue Life in Oceanside, California, agreed that the orange and white kitty would make a wonderful pet, so she offered to foster Teddy, ensuring he wouldn’t have to be returned to the streets.
“Carina and I, along with some wonderful networkers, built a team we dubbed ‘The Friendly Teddies’ where we try to help these social colony cats,” explains Amanda. “I fell in love with Teddy and really wanted to help him.”
While Amanda saw Teddy’s photo for the first time on March 1, 2019, she didn’t started fostering him until May 28, 2019, because he was in such poor health, he had to spend two months at the vet’s office. “When rescued he had a severe ear mite infection, missing teeth, was FIV positive, and had mild stomatitis and signs of abuse,” says Amanda. When Teddy — who is believed to be around three years old — was finally healthy enough to go to his foster home, it took this former street cat a little while to adjust to his new surroundings.
“Teddy’s first couple weeks with us he would yowl at night and early mornings,” remembers Amanda. “He did show some interest at our sliding glass door.” Over time, Teddy grew accustomed to his foster home, and now he doesn’t seem to have any desire to go outside, opting instead to snuggle with Amanda and her family.
“He loves being in bed, especially if there’s someone to cuddle up with,” says Amanda. “He loves to nap and be as close to you as possible. He will sleep right on top of you if you let him. At 20 pounds and the length of my entire torso, it’s not exactly comfortable, but I let him because he looks so happy.” In addition to snuggling with his foster family, Teddy likes to play, especially with ribbon toys, proving he’s not all that different from a typical cat.
“A lot of people think street cats are feral,” says Amanda. “Of course there will always be some who prefer the outdoors or prefer little to no contact with humans, but a lot of the ferals I’ve met came around with time and effort.” Obviously, Teddy is far from feral, but the stigmas associated with former streets cats, as well as those with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), can make it harder for them to get adopted.
“I think people hear ‘FIV’ or ‘virus’ and it stokes fear in them,” explains Amanda. “They’re afraid their current pet could contract it, or they think it could be a medical expense.” Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t realize that cats with FIV — which is very different from feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), a viral disease that is usually fatal — can live long and happy lives with the aid of proactive medical care and excellent nutrition. Also, contrary to what a lot of people might think, because FIV is usually transmitted through sex and deep bite wounds, cats with the virus can live with uninfected cats as long as everyone is sterilized and gets along well.
“Knowing these things has made me want to be active in spreading awareness, and when I had a chance to save an FIV positive cat it just made me want to help him even more,” says Amanda. By sharing Teddy’s story, Amanda hopes to be able to find this sweet and loving former street cat a wonderful forever home where he will receive the attention, affection, and care he needs to thrive. She also hopes people will be inspired to help animals in their communities who are often at risk of being put to sleep because they’ve been deemed unadoptable.
“Feral, special needs, and cats with viruses like FIV are at risk of euthanasia in shelters, especially high-kill shelters,” explains Amanda. “Offering to foster a FIV cat could be the difference between life and death. Offering to transport feral cats for a barn cat program could also be the difference between life and death. Everyone says ‘someone please help this cat’ but they don’t realize they could be that person.” Teddy — who got his name because he was cuddling a teddy bear in the first picture Amanda ever saw of him — got a second chance, and it’s obvious he truly appreciates his foster mom for giving it to him.
“He’s been there for me through sad times,” says Amanda. “Rescue can sometimes be emotionally, mentally, and even physically exhausting. There have been days where I was discouraged — like when I found out my former foster Mercutio was diagnosed with FIP and euthanized — and just cuddling with Teddy and looking at his face has brought me so much joy and love.” While Amanda will miss this wonderful boy when he finally finds his forever home, she can take comfort in knowing Teddy will be brightening someone’s else days with his sweet and silly personality. “He’s just a big baby who loves to be held,” says Amanda.
If you’re interested in adopting Teddy, you can submit an adoption application.
If you’d like to learn more about this handsome cat, you can follow Teddy and Kitten Rescue Life on Instagram.