Sammie – Ragdoll of the Week

SammieLife creates new paths for both human and man’s beloved pets.  On October 17th a niece decided that life wasn’t worth living and took her own life.  We were all in dismay and shock!  The next week my sister in Edson, Alberta, Canada sent me a message with a picture of a nine year old Ragdoll cat. She told me that the cat was going to be euthanized if a home couldn’t be found for her . The Vet in Edson had taken Sammie from the Humane Society and asked if she could try to re-home her as they wanted to put her down. Someone called her a feral cat (she had attitude) as they had to hose her to get her out of the cage. She was all matted and greasy. I know she was scared because of all the strange things happening to her.  Someone with a two year old child had dropped her off at the Humane Society. How does a nine year old cat suddenly get feral? I told my husband I was going to take her as it was Sammie travellingmy mission to save her life. You can imagine what he said as we were already caretakers to our beautiful gentle Himalayan 5 ½ yr old  “Dai-Zee” and we are seniors.  My deceased niece loved animals and left five behind and luckily they all got loving homes so I was compelled to do this because of her.

Sammie spent two months in a cage at the Vet’s office and was close to being put down again as the Vet was having no luck in re-homing her.  This is where another niece “Sam” was called by the Vet to please take Sammie and try and re-home her.  We named our Ragdoll Sammie after our caring niece. So we said we would take Sammie but here we were 9 hrs drive away so logistics seemed insurmountable in the winter through the Canadian Rockies. As luck would have it a nephew was moving from Edmonton Alberta to Kamloops British Columbia and Sammie - let me out!agreed to transport her. So in a short space of time Sammie was in five different locations and on her way to us. The drive to Kamloops was a straight 7 hrs and Sammie was good about it – softly meowing at times. My family then drove her from Kamloops to Vernon on Nov 9th where we picked her up to drive her to West Kelowna. She cried loudly for the shorter trip of 2.5 hrs which was too funny! Sammie didn’t smell good, was greasy, matted and needed her nails clipped. On the way home the first thing we did was stop at a pet store and buy her a tree bed.

We kept Sammie in a safe room with the door closed at all times for two weeks.  She spent the two weeks hiding in every corner.  She threw up every second day.  I rubbed both cats with facecloths and put the facecloths in their beds so they got used to the smells of each other. I also brushed and took samples  of their fur to each of them. Talk about hissing from Sammie but Dai-Zee was just curious. Our sweet gentle Himalayan lay outside the closed door at every opportunity.

We had to take Sammie to the Vet for a booster shot and of course we thought we could get her nails clipped too. The Vet visit was a disaster as she screamed and fought everyone. The dishevelled Vet came out and said he managed to give her the shot but only one side of her nails were clipped.  I had to bring her back in a month for another booster shot and he recommended a sedative.

Chicken wire screenMeanwhile through another sister taking in the two cats from her deceased daughter’s household I learned about the chicken wire door that they had built and were using as they now had two new and three resident cats to introduce. It was a huge success! So my husband made a 5 ft high wooden frame and stapled the chicken wire to it. He then put two eye hooks on one side and we could latch the screen. The other side was butted against the door frame. Keep in mind this was on the master bedroom door but we managed to easily take it off when we wanted to go in and out.  It was very light as my husband used trim for the frame.

Now the cats were looking at each other every day.  Sammie still from up high hissing and growling and Dai-Zee enthralled at seeing her. We left them alone as Sammie was hiding less and had started using her tree bed.  She would come to the screen to see what Dai-Zee was doing.  I would let Sammie out into the house when Dai-Zee was sleeping in the basement so she became familiar with everything. We called Dai-Zee the friendly stalker as she was always running upstairs to Sammie.

Sammie did not seem to know how to play with any of the toys so I started playing with her and slowly the happy light came to her eyes.  She eagerly looked at the toys and me for play time. She loves the feather wand!

This went on for a month until we took Sammie to the Vet for another booster shot and blood work. This time with sedation we got the shot, blood work and nails clipped.  The Vet was amazed at how much her looks had changed. Thankfully the blood work showed a healthy cat.

Sammie hissing at Dai-ZeeAfter the Vet visit I started giving the cats treats together at the screen.  It was constant repetition using the word “treat” over and over again.

Then because they started touching noses we decided it was time to take the screen down just before New Years (took seven weeks).  Sammie still hissed and growled and Dai-Zee was wherever Sammie went.  Dai-Zee is truly the friendly stalker as she has never made a sound.  She has even fallen asleep in front of Sammie.

Sammie now tolerates Dai-Zee and we feel that once she is totally stress free that they will be sleeping in the same room and we will have the master bedroom to ourselves once again. Our goal is one year but it could be a lot sooner. It takes patience, lots of petting and soothing words and love. After the first two weeks and being hissed at my husband said “I don’t like her”. Now she has won him over and she is as special as our Dai-Zee is to him.

The latest picture of Sammie shows a  contented bright eyed Ragdoll with sparkling fur. A lot of family (a niece,a nephew, 4 sisters) were involved in this happy story and I am very grateful to them all. Plus of course the caring Vet who took the extra step to save “a cat with attitude!”.

collage of Sammie

Helen Loraas-Harding

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22 thoughts on “Sammie – Ragdoll of the Week

  1. okanaganbirdy says:

    I am sorry to pass on this news but we had to let Sammie go over the Rainbow Bridge on July 26,2016 as she had lung cancer. We are heartbroken. We had her for 3 years and 8 months. She was not quite 13 years old. We had her mellowed out to cuddles and lots of love. I miss my shadow and those lovely blue eyes. I know she knew how how much we loved her.

  2. okanaganbirdy says:

    It has been over three years since stressed Sammie entered our lives! Just like normal – ate too much and got a fat belly – went on a diet and got svelte! Had to have a tooth removed a year ago. Sammie is very bonded to us – talks lots and follows us around the house. Hates it when we leave her alone so tries to rip up our carpet with happiness when we come home. Cut her nails frequently. Training still a work in progress!
    We have had so much joy from her being with us and although it was a difficult introduction because of her stress level we are not sorry we adopted a senior. We truly believe at one time she had a loving family and mourned their loss. So love reading all the stories.

  3. Betty says:

    Hi Helen – Wonderful news – and well deserved! You worked had to make a gentle environment for the girls and it is paying off quickly. Thanks for the updates. Good news is always enjoyed. Congratulations. Wishing you all rubs & purrs.

  4. Helen Loraas-Harding says:

    Hi everyone – it has been 10 months since we took our rescue Sammie into our home. We have made great advances since last November. We waited patiently for her to bond to our Himalayan cat Dai-Zee and ourselves. I used Feliway for six months and believe it had a good effect on Sammie’s stress level. She no longer hisses at any of us and rubs against us for attention. My big worry was getting her nails clipped as the Vet office had tagged her as a risk to their staff and would only use a sedative. She had her nails done last December and finally I found a groomer that would take her. We took her to Petsmart and a gal named Cherisse calmly talked to Sammie, took her out of the kennel, put her on the grooming table and in five minutes her four paws were clipped. I was in awe! So now we plan on taking her there monthly. Life is good now with our two furface gals and two seniors get lots of laughs out of their actions. Sammie makes the funniest sounds when she is being petted. Not sure if that is a Ragdoll trait but it is amusing.

  5. Helen Loraas-Harding says:

    I bought the Feliway and diffuser a few days ago. I must say it seems to be taking the few rough edges left on Sammie down even further. She is now doing the floppsie on the family room floor away from her safe room. She is letting her guard down more. Of course the weather is better so she is sitting more by the open patio door enjoying the breezes and the birdie chirps. Still hisses at Dai-Zee who continues to leap the kitten arched leap in front of her and then when Sammie leaves Dai-Zee runs after her. Very annoying to the older gal. LOL

  6. Helen Loraas-Harding says:

    Today I took a picture of Sammie and Dai-Zee sitting at the sliding glass door screen watching birds together. Sammie still hisses but this time they were in peace. Sammie is playing more and astounded me by hitting the ball in the circle track and running with it. She did this three times. Dai-Zee lays beside the circle track and hits the ball that way. No exercise on her part but my goodness did Sammie ever get a workout.
    I knew there was a loving cat inside the one with the big attitude that landed at our house. She woke me up this morning at 5 a.m. licking my hand and purring up a storm. Life is good.

  7. Helen Loraas-Harding says:

    Thank you Anna. Sammie is making great strides now. She sits on our lazy boy at the top behind my husband’s head (the “I don’t like her guy”!) She is much more tolerant of our beloved himmie. Yesterday she leaped up on my lap to sit for 10 mins of petting. Her eyes go wide open at the mention of a treat and both cats sit a few feet apart and enjoy their treats. She is fast becoming a fun member of our household. I just wish I could sleep in past 5 a.m. though as she is knocking on the door at that time. Got to love cats.

  8. Anna says:

    It is lovely that you have done so much for poor Sammie – and what a caring person you are. I really sympathised with the part in your post where you wrote: “How does a nine year old cat suddenly get feral?”. It is awful to think what has happened to her along the way to make her this anxious. She is certainly very lucky to have such a wonderful family now. I wish you all the best.

  9. Helen Loraas-Harding says:

    Each day there are subtle changes. Today they both were sitting close and Sammie (ragdoll) touched Dai-Zee’s (himmie) tail. Dai-Zee quietly looked at Sammie who decided to “hiss”. Boy talk about sisterly love. I came home from shopping and was yattering away when Sammie came bounding down the stairs to look for me. Another star!
    Yes being retired has been a bonus in being able to give our stressed ragdoll lots of attention.

    • Betty says:

      Thanks for keeping us informed. It’s all good news and most welcome! It really sounds like you are enjoying the process. Sammie does sound like she is going to be quite the character. Dai-zee is a-Mai-zing. 🙂

  10. Sue says:

    What an amazing story! We too rescued a Ragdoll and I cannot believe there is so much cruelty towards these lovely cats.

    You certainly have had to have a great deal of patience with Sammi and she now looks absolutely gorgeous so well done to you and your hubby! (and your cat Dai-zee)

    Good Luck from two fellow Seniors! (or pensioners as we are called in the UK, or even ‘old fogies’ by our son!)

  11. Rebecca says:

    What a lovely story, I think that Sammie will continue to come around. She has many fears to over come from her past. Your vet may be able to get you some Feliway it comes both as a diffuser and a spray. I have also used Spirit Essence (Jackson Galaxy’s company), which I ordered on line.

    I am so sorry about your niece, I am glad that her kitties found homes. So glad that you are finding comfort in your Sammie.
    a fellow Canadian raggie owner (owned by 5 Ragdolls)

  12. Kathy says:

    What a touching story – and thank goodness you had the patience to prevail. I am sure that eventually Sammie will appreciate you for your good heart!

  13. Helen Loraas-Harding says:

    Thank you so much for all your lovely comments. They are much appreciated by my husband, myself and our two furfaces. I try to look at it like a loving project – one step at a time and each day of moving forward as a bonus. The past two days it would almost seem that Sammie is depressed as she sleeps a lot and tries to keep out of Dai-Zee’s presence. Then the magic happens when I bring out the feather wand and her whole demeanor changes. She loves it so much and even more when I whack her back with it – who would have thought there would be so much joy from a feather stick. I will try and find some of the herbal medicine for cats to see if it will brighten her up. Not sure where to go but most likely the local health food store knows who has it. Dai-Zee really is taken with the crabby gal and won’t give up trying to make friends. One of these days the magic will happen without the feathers!!

  14. Betty says:

    What a wonderful and unique story. I am sorry about your niece – your kindness to Sammie is a lovely tribute. Sammie is gorgeous- her front paws look like a glass of chocolate milk – with some of the chocolate settling on the bottom! Dai-zee sounds so sweet. It sounds to me like you are on your way to a successful integration. Thank you for sharing and best of luck to you.

  15. Teresa says:

    Very sorry about your niece. Am so thankful that you cared enough to save her. After saving a Maine Coon who appeared on our doorstep in the middle of a snowstorm (declawed), it has taken almost 5 years for her to fully trust us. She acted like a maniac when we took her to the vet as well, but only because of the trauma she suffered in the past. She thought that play was a form of aggression but lately, she has begun to play with our kitten! So, keep on doing what you are doing and she will come around. I got the Maine Coon some herbals from the Only Natural Pet Store (aggression formula), that I just used for a brief time. It really calmed her down and made her see things from a different perspective. Highly recommend them for a short period of time to get them calmed down. So glad you have her now. Teresa

  16. Lynn says:

    Such a wonderful story! Sammie is gorgeous- can you imagine someone leaving her at a shelter? Thanks for being a wonderful pet owner and giving her a chance for a happy life. Your husband is very special to build that enclosure- what a great idea! I hope Dai-Zee and Sammie are snuggling up soon!

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