When his rescuers first set eyes on Cotton the stray cat, what they saw made their hearts bleed. The poor creature was suffering from an extreme case of mange. Indeed, the disease had left him covered in nasty sores and had even stolen his eyesight. As a result, Cotton left everyone wondering how he’d had survived until now.
In September 2016 a man named Joe was at his home in Royal Palm Beach, Florida. And he noticed something unusual. There, outside his property, was a little cat. The animal had suddenly appeared and was eating from a food bowl Joe had left for his own pet.
From what Joe could see, the cat was extremely hungry. So, he went outside to see if there was anything he could do to help the creature. And that’s when he realized just how bad a state the cat was in.
Now that he was close to the cat, Joe could see it was suffering from a severe skin condition. Dirt covered its white fur, while dry and cracked sores had caused its ears to swell. In that instant, the Florida native knew he had to do something to help.
So, Joe placed Cotton in a pet carrier to keep him safe. Then, he posted about the cat online to see if anyone could help. But, as it was pretty late in the evening, no one responded to Joe’s pleas. As a result, he kept the cat at his house overnight.
However, the following morning, a lady named Carmen Weinberg agreed to pick the poor cat up. Weinberg is the founder of the Animal Friends Project. Through the organization, the animal lover rescues feral cats, treats them and then finds them loving forever homes.
Weinberg decided to call the cat Cotton. And, as soon as she collected him from Joe’s, she rushed him to a nearby veterinary clinic. Once there, doctors discovered the animal was underweight, anaemic and dehydrated.
Furthermore, the cat was battling a severe case of mange. The skin condition was so bad that it even prevented Cotton from opening his eyes. So, he had been wandering the streets alone and almost completely blind until Joe had taken pity on him.
But, despite everything, the cat’s adorable personality still shone through. “We discovered Cotton was friendly,” Weinberg wrote on her Facebook page in January 2017. “He started purring when the vet examined him.”
It turned out that Cotton also had a microchip. So, Weinberg decided to contact his owner. The woman explained how the cat had disappeared shortly after the family moved house. However, she was now unable to take the animal back.
“The owner now cares for her granddaughter at the home and the cats cannot be inside,” Weinberg explained in a statement on the Animal Friends Project website in January 2017. “She asked me to continue to care for him and find him a home if I could not keep him.” And the animal rescuer agreed.
In order to help him get better, vets gave Cotton extra fluids, antibiotics and eye ointment. They also instructed Weinberg to use a parasite treatment on his skin. Furthermore, the cat would need small meals several times a day.
Because Cotton’s mange was extremely contagious, Weinberg would need to keep him separated from the other cats in her care. So, she used an empty bathroom as a quarantine area. That would become Cotton’s home as he recovered.
“Cotton was very skinny but fortunately, he ate well and was in good spirits. He must have sensed we were trying to help him and he loved to be touched,” Weinberg told Love Meow in March 2017. “We knew that if we took some precautions, that we could still touch and love Cotton to help him heal.”
“We put coconut oil to soothe his skin and gave him lots of water and canned food to keep him hydrated,” Weinberg continued. “Cotton stayed hunched over for days and days and seemed very uncomfortable. It was hard seeing him in that condition, knowing only time would heal him.”
However, it wasn’t long before Cotton began to get better. His crusty ears transformed until they were pink and soft and he began to gain weight. Furthermore, the cat soon opened his eyes. And, when he did, Weinberg and her family were shocked to discover one was yellow and one was blue.
Now that he was healthy, Cotton enjoyed being doted on. “[He] is very vocal and he would make noise to let us know that he wanted attention,” Weinberg told Love Meow. “He loves people and searches for attention. He wants to be where you are.”
Seeing Cotton’s joy at being around humans, Weinberg decided to start the search for his perfect family. The cat needed access to indoor and outdoor space. Furthermore, he didn’t really get on with other cats.
After everything he’d been through, Weinberg hoped Cotton would find a home quickly. “This beautiful boy deserves to be in a place where he can be happy,” she wrote on the Animal Friends Project website. “He suffered so much while he was sick and he now deserves a safe home.”
But, by March 2017, Cotton still hadn’t found his forever home. According to Weinberg, “He has so much love to give.” So, hopefully, it won’t be too much longer before he finds someone to lavish his affection on.