1,185 days and 2,800 Miles

by Lisa Maxwell • Posted in: General

Guest post by Natascha Hamman, Cat Matchmaker Lead

The city of Austin has been no kill for six years now, but that does not mean that there aren’t some groups of animals that are still at risk! In the world of feline rescue, incontinent cats are the number one most difficult group to find homes for. Out of all of Austin Pets Alive!’s long stay cats, incontinent cats make up pretty much all of the top ten and are the ONLY cats with stays of 1000 days or more.

Veruca, now known as Harley Quinn, had been with us 1,185 days and was our fourth-longest stay cat when she got adopted. I met her for the first time a little over a year ago, and my goal ever since had been to find her a forever home. Other than being unable to tell when she needs to use the restroom, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Harley. She is beautiful, healthy, gets along well with other cats and dogs, and is just about the friendliest and most outgoing cat you could ever imagine! Nevertheless, she was with us for nearly 1,200 days.

My 2017 New Year’s resolution was to find that home, and just one week after I posted my goal on Facebook, Tracie Fisher, a woman who had previously adopted another incontinent foster from Austin Pets Alive!, reached out saying she was interested. We began preparations to get Harley from my house in Austin to Tracie’s in Oregon. One month later, on February 16, Harley began the almost 2,800-mile journey home.

Great life events often require result from great communities, and Harley’s story is no exception. A string of 21 volunteers through the volunteer transport organization Kindred Hearts Transport Connection drove 2,764 miles over a span of four days and three nights to make the impossible possible. One of the overnight volunteers remarked that Harley was one of the nicest cats she had ever met and that she must be “an angel sent to remind us all to be kinder to one another.” Another said that out of all the furbabies he’d transported over the years, he’d never seen one with as much “stuff” as Harley, and that all her luggage was indicative of how much she is loved. I’m inclined to agree with both of them. She arrived in Oregon with more items than I had packed for her. Many of her belongings were added by the people who she met and whose lives she had touched along the way.

It may have taken 1,185 days and 2,800 miles for Harley to get home and more time and effort than the average adoption, but every single one of those days was worth it. If more people can be like Tracie and the volunteers who got Harley home, then we can continue to save more lives like hers. After all, her life is one worth saving.