Buddy from Bulgaria

This is the blog post I didn’t want to write. I left a certain well-known social networking site recently, but before I did, I helped to organise one last rescue. Scrolling through the feed containing almost exclusively requests for help, I spotted a little white and ginger face. It was a grubby face belonging to a kitten not more than four months of age. He had already had his tail cut off and as if that wasn’t enough, later on someone had come back to burn off part of his left ear. I couldn’t help but think to myself that if something wasn’t done soon, then there would be no kitten left to save. He was in Plovdiv in Bulgaria.

I contacted the rescuer explaining that we already had ten cats of our own and couldn’t adopt another, but I was prepared to pay for the kitten’s rescue and all related costs until he could be rehomed. Unfortunately resources are very tight out there and the policy is to only take an animal from the street once a permanent home has been found. I was devastated, but then I remembered a wonderful friend from a pet forum who did a lot of rescue work. It was a lot to ask, but I sent her a short e-mail with a couple of photographs and asked if she could possibly foster and find a new home for the kitten once he was better. Her reply reduced me to tears. She had fallen in love with the little scrap and wanted to adopt, so we got back to the rescuer with the good news.

Although we have adopted five kittens from Romania and the process is very easy, it isn’t so from neighbouring Bulgaria. Buddy had to be transported from Plovdiv to Sofia, a distance of around 150 kilometres. A very kind gentleman made the round trip the following day and Buddy was safely installed in a vet clinic. He remained there for a couple of weeks where his vaccinations were done and his passport was prepared. They also tidied up his damaged ear. Then he went to live with his wonderful rescuer while we tried to find someone to transport him to the UK for us. Fortunately there is one company and arrangements were made for the end of April.

By all accounts he travelled well, but as my friend doesn’t drive, my husband and I offered to collect him from the kennels in Essex and deliver him to her home. Sadly we weren’t allowed to pick him up until late afternoon, which would have given us no time to deliver and get back home to see to our own animals. It was agreed that Buddy would stay with us for a few days and we would take him over at the weekend.

He settled in immediately with our own cats and we had to admit that it was a joy to have him around. We tried not to forget that he belonged to my friend and when the time came to put him in the cat basket for the last leg of his journey, I shed a few tears, but they were mixed with tears of joy. I knew how much she loved him and what a wonderful life he was going to have.

That was just eleven weeks ago and he has thrived. From the photographs I have seen he has put on weight and condition and he adores the beautiful outdoor run that was specially built for him. Sadly my friend has been battling health problems and recently it has become obvious she needs to give up her cats if things are to improve. The e-mail I had been dreading arrived the other evening and it was with a heavy heart that we agreed to collect him the following weekend and keep him as one of our own pets. I know our Romanian rescues in particular will be glad to have him back, but I’m so sad for a happy ending that wasn’t meant to be.

These photographs were taken in the few days he lived with us just after arriving from Bulgaria. My friend isn’t the greatest at photography and they were supposed to be a little gift for having such a kind heart and offering to give him a forever loving home.




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