As animal lovers, most of us can’t even imagine what might lead a person to cruelly abandon an animal on the streets. We seem to have an easier time, in fact, empathizing with the animal, left all alone without an explanation.
Luckily, most of us don’t just pass on by when these things occur – we try to help. And that’s precisely what Maria Montes did when she realized her neighbors had moved and left behind their cat.
Gone in a flash
Montes lives right across the street from the home a family moved out of suddenly one day. And she found it mind-boggling that her neighbors wouldn’t simply tell her they had a cat that they no longer wanted.
Granted, some people are ashamed to admit it, but when you leave a cat on the street, it looks a lot more like you just don’t have any respect for living things.
“They could have told me ‘we’re moving…we don’t want him’…I just didn’t want to believe it,” she told The Dodo.
She was brokenhearted for the cat because all she had to do was look out her window and see him waiting for his owners. He would look up hopefully at any car that drove by, sitting in the rain or cold.
As you might imagine, it didn’t take long for Montes to try to take in the cat. But he wasn’t going to make it easy.
Most cats don’t just open up to people, especially when they’re scared after being thrust into a new situation.
Montes had a hard time getting the elderly cat to let her near him, so she started researching ways to earn his trust.
“At first he would run, but I caught him on video where he did it and he just kind of like looked at me like he wanted to [come back] but he didn’t.”
So she did the one thing that would get his attention – she started feeding him. He had no issue finding his way to the food, but he still wanted to be alone and didn’t want to let Montes near him.
But she also saw that he was losing a lot of weight. She not only wanted to take him in to live with her but get him to a vet as well, in case he needed care. And it turns out he did – lots of it.
Getting it done
It was taking too long to completely gain his trust since he was clearly ill and needed help. So Montes managed to pick him up one day, only to be rewarded with some hisses.
But once she had him, she got him to the vet. The cat that came to be known as “Rolo” got a full check-up as well as bloodwork. In fact, in order to figure out what was going on, he needed a 4-day stay at the vet!
He needed teeth pulled because of a mouth infection and treatment for feline leukemia, which requires medication and makes him more prone to getting sick. Montes started a GoFundMe for Rolo’s vet bills and it has already far exceeded its initial goal (though his bills will be ongoing).
Fortunately, the day Montes came to pick him up she could tell he was feeling much better and he looked more alert. She brought him back to her home and that’s where he’s been ever since.
He sometimes forgets he doesn’t still live across the street and will look at his house, but he seems to know he’s safe. There’s just no way to get him to understand that his old family is never coming back.
“You can tell he was just kind of like ‘when is my babysitter gonna take me to my mom’s house?'” Montes said.
He had lived with his original family for at least the two years they lived across the street, so it would just take some time for him to forget.
And, eventually, despite his age, he became a playful cat again, chasing around anything that rolls on the ground, both inside and outside.
Montes and her boyfriend made room for the cat at the house, even relocating the washer and dryer so he could have his own little space!
Rolo’s really not into being picked up, but other than that, he seems to know where he lives now and who his real family is.
To see more of Rolo’s story, be sure to scroll down below for a video – and you can check out Montes’ TikTok channel featuring the cat by clicking here.
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