When a tattered stray cat pawed at a screen door in desperation one freezing winter’s day, it turned out to be the beginning of a brand-new life.
It was Valentine’s Day when Jaelle, a foster volunteer with Un Chat à la Fois/One cat at a time kitten rescue in Quebec, Canada, heard meowing coming from her backyard. An orange tabby was standing ankle-deep in snow, with a paw stretched at her screen door as though begging to be let inside.
Jaelle sent Un Chat à la Fois’s founder, Marie Simard, a photo of the cat, hoping for advice while knowing that Simard’s rescue specializes in orphaned kittens. “His face said everything that needed to be said,” Simard told The Dodo.
The photo tugged at Simard’s heartstrings. “He stayed in front of her door for a while … he didn’t try to get away,” she recalled. “I told her to take him to our partner clinic so he could be evaluated.”
At the vet, it was discovered that the cat was actually in desperate need of help. On top of suffering from diabetes, frostbite, and rotten teeth, the feline was covered in fleas, ticks, and bite wounds. He also tested positive for feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).
Simard then named the cat Aslan after the lion from C. S. Lewis’s “The Chronicles of Narnia” series.
Due to the cat having compromised immunity, Simard ventured that Aslan wouldn’t have made it through another winter.
“We tried to find the owner but there was no microchip,” Simard explained to Love Meow. “He was around 6 to 7 years old, not neutered, and no one was looking for him. Most likely he was abandoned by previous owners a long time ago.”
However, despite all his ordeals, Aslan turned out to be a big softie, purring and poking his paws between his cage bars at the veterinary clinic to beg affection from passersby. He also turned out to be a fighter. After several days of in-patient treatment, including having his matted fur shaved away, Aslan’s health improved.
He was placed in foster care with Jaelle and her other rescue cat, Cleo. “He’s a very affectionate cat,” Simard reported. “He likes to sleep close to his foster mom.”
Before long, Aslan was deemed ready to find his forever home. But in the meantime, he had become so close to both Cleo and Jaelle that the decision seemed made: Aslan was already home.
“He would just sleep next to [Cleo], groom her, and she would groom him,” Simard explained. “It made sense to have them stay together, two rescue cats who had a tough life.”
Cleo also gave Aslan company after the feline underwent dental and eye surgery.
Almost one year after turning up on a snowy doorstep, begging for help, Aslan is enjoying his senior years surrounded by love and luxury. “He loves people, and other cats, and is always asking for hugs,” said Simard. “It’s clear that this beautiful cat has had a family before.”
This story was last updated in January 2021.