Slightly North of Zero: What about Lily?



Every summer I make a point of stopping in at the Tsawwassen Animal Hospital to see the kittens. I need, what one of the girls calls, “kitten therapy.” It’s not difficult to love a kitten. They are cute and cuddly and full of energy. They play until they are exhausted, and then they fall asleep in your lap. Kittens bring out the softer side of most people.

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I had been anticipating my visit all week, so imagine my surprise when I arrived and was told, “We don’t have any kittens.” “Pardon me?” I said, “But you always have kittens.” A reason for this is the Delta Homeless Animal Fund, which was started in 2002 by the staff to work with stray or homeless dogs and cats in the area. Part of their mandate is to spay or neuter feral cats and adopt them into suitable homes in the community. The generous citizens of Delta donate all of the money that helps them to care for these animals.

I know this for a fact because my husband and I have personally adopted two cats from the Tsawwassen Animal Hospital. Our first cat originated from Point Roberts. She was a gray and white tabby we called Picabo. It means, “shining waters” in Native American language, and it is also the name of a famous American skier. Picabo had personality plus. She was very adventurous, and lived an active life outdoors. Sadly, she had an unfortunate accident while we were traveling in 2009-2010 and she passed away.

Picabo having fun outside.

In my opinion, a house without a pet is not a home. I grew up with cats and dogs. My husband had an assortment of cats, dogs, rabbits and even, a pet raccoon. Our current lifestyle involves a fair amount of traveling, which is not very dog friendly, so I was determined to have another cat. Cats are independent. They like to do their own thing. Since a cat doesn’t need to be walked, I haven’t had too much trouble finding someone to house sit while we are away.

In August of 2010, we adopted Tilly. She was from a litter of kittens born at the Tilbury Industrial Park. She had the name Tilbury when she arrived, but the staff thought it was too masculine so they changed her name to Tilly. She was four months old by the time we brought her home, and she was afraid of everything. She hid in her crate in the laundry room the first day. When she finally came out, she encountered a 46-inch television that scared the daylights out of her. She ran back to the laundry room and didn’t come out for another 24 hours. Tilly is still pretty skittish, but she likes being outside and spends hours on end patrolling our yard.

Tilly relaxing.

As I stood in the reception area processing the fact that there were no kittens, Leah pointed to the cat enclosure and said, “What about Lily? Lily needs a home.” After thinking about it for a few days, I knew I had to write about Lily because, as an adult cat who is black, the odds are against her.

Lily is a four-year-old spayed female who was adopted from the clinic as a baby. She lived with a medium sized dog and older children. She was surrendered in March of 2014 because she started urinating inappropriately when new humans were added to her family and she didn’t get as much attention. Since she has been living at the clinic, she has been on a special diet to keep her urinary tract healthy and she has shown no behaviour issues. Even though Lily has been there for so long, her spirits have never dampened. She is friendly and affectionate.

It will take a special person to overlook Lily’s history and her colour. As someone who previously owned two black cats, I was surprised to hear that superstition prevails and it is still difficult to find homes for them. I wish I could do more for Lily myself, but Tilly and my husband have made me promise that we will be a one-cat family. Surely, there is someone out there who is willing to give Lily a second chance?

If you would like more information about Lily or the Delta Homeless Animal Fund, please call the Tsawwassen Animal Hospital at 604-943-9385.

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