By: Holly Crotty, TAPS Executive Director
Minky was already a long-term shelter cat when I arrived at TAPS. Minky had been picked up near Powerton Lake and brought to TAPS as a kitten. For several years, Minky hid in the open cat room and rarely came out to socialize despite our staff and volunteer’s best efforts. In total, Minky lived at TAPS for over 9 years before an adoptive family welcomed her home.
In 2013, a cat loving family came in to adopt her for the holidays. Adopting a long-term shelter cat was their gift to themselves. They promised us no matter how long it took her to adjust in their home, they would never bring her back. I remember the day they came to get her. One of Minky’s favorite volunteers had to use gloves to corral her into the crate. We thought for sure that would deter her new family but it didn’t. Minky’s family not only adopted Minky and loved her, but came back through the years and adopted DJ, a diabetic cat, Asia, and Bobbie.
We knew through updates with the family that DJ had passed away a few years ago. They had him for 3 ½ years before they lost him due to diabetes related complications. I learned through a recent conversation, sadly, they lost Minky in 2018 after having her with them for 7 years. Marte remembered Minky fondly during our chat and said she knows she isn’t supposed to have favorites but Minky was her favorite cat.
Minky would take approximately 6 months to warm up enough to make what her family saw as milestone progress, but slowly but surely she adjusted to her home. When she first went home, she definitely didn’t know how to live as a house cat. Gradually, she would start to come out and would eventually jump on her mom’s lap if she had a pillow on her lap. She would tolerate being petted with one hand but two hands were too much. If she touched her with two hands, Minky would dart off the pillow and hide. Eventually, she could quickly pick her up with two hands to move her off the pillow.
Minky developed some breathing issues and the vet came to their home to give her steroid injections. Eventually, they took her to U of I where they did a CT scan and an endoscope. Minky was diagnosed with stenosis. They used a balloon to open up her airways and she was able to breathe again without any issues. As Minky aged, she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism which took its toll on her kidneys. At the age of 17, Minky passed away due to kidney failure.
Minky’s mom said Minky was definitely her baby and was a welcoming kitty ambassador as they adopted DJ, Asia and Bobby into their home through the years. She never hissed and could be found sitting near her new feline sibling as if to say, you are safe here, it’s o.k. Minky never slept in bed with her mom and dad, that would be too much human contact, but each morning, she would jump up into bed and gently tap her mom on her nose or chin 3 times to let her know it was time to eat. It’s those 3 morning taps that Minky’s mom misses the most.
Despite Minky’s rough start and distrust of humans, she still deserved a chance at a home and family of her own. Through TAPS, she had that opportunity. She called TAPS home for 9 years but she finally found her forever mom and dad. Without staff and volunteers willing to commit to our scared and under-socialized animals, we couldn’t change the lives of cat like Minky. Thank you.