Katherine Meara and her partner were looking for a senior cat to adopt, and when they discovered Tuggly on the New Zealand SPCA’s website, they knew he was the one.
“By his appearance, I figured he was at least over ten years old,” Meara told The Dodo. “Obviously, I was mistaken, but he simply looked so ragged and forlorn compared to all the other cat photographs that I knew I had to get him.”
Tuggly is just about 5 years old, but he had been through so much by the time he came to the SPCA that he appeared much older. He was discovered as a stray in Christchurch, New Zealand, with severe injuries all over his neck. Tuggly was afraid and perplexed by what was occurring to him because of his history. It led him to act out and be violent, and the shelter made sure the couple was aware of this behavior — but even after seeing him and witnessing it firsthand, they decided they still wanted him. They just had a feeling it was meant to be.
Tuggly was anxious to explore his new home when he first arrived. He was clearly nervous, but his new parents did everything they could to make him feel at ease. They gradually discovered what he need and made adjustments accordingly. They thought he would ultimately relax and understand he was secure and cared for.
“I think he was scared, and after practically starving for so long, he would just get anxious and pushy about food,” Meara explained. “When we got him, he was really skinny, to the point that his fur was also fairly thin from hunger.” He was alright once we purchased him an automated feeder since he stopped connecting us with food… He was scared, he was starving and it took him a week or so to adjust, which is actually quite fast compared to most cats. It’s a good reminder that sometimes cats just need time.”
Tuggly was supposed to take a long time to adjust, but after only a few weeks, he was entirely at ease in his new surroundings — and now, around six months later, he looks and acts like a completely different cat.
“He no longer has an aggressive bone in his body,” Meara explained. “When we look at Tuggly’s SPCA images now, he appears to be an entirely different cat.” His cheeks have finally filled out, and he has the most adorable, round tomcat jowls. His fur has also grown a lot, and he’s now our huge, floofy boy. My partner and I don’t have any children or pets, so to say that he is the prince of the household would be an understatement. He loves to be with us at all times. He is very curious and has to be involved in everything we do.”
Tuggly’s appearance and behavior when he was initially rescued from the streets are now a distant memory. He’s evolved into a cat who enjoys lounging by the fireside in the winter and chasing butterflies in the summer. Tuggly, it turns out, only needed time, patience, and love to thrive.
“He has changed into the kindest, most friendly little cat after signing a disclaimer for his hostility, and we love him so unbelievably much,” Meara added.