Rhonda Andersen, who is active in her local TNR community, first noticed Snow White roaming the neighborhood 4 years ago and set up a trap to capture her. “Back then,” she says, “she was a little angry spitfire, lunging and hissing at us.”
When they took her in to get spayed, they were surprised to find that she had already had the surgery. They tipped her ear so her status would be obvious to other TNR volunteers, then released her a few days later with food and shelter. She soon disappeared and Rhonda didn’t see her again until last October.
This time, Snow White was in much worse shape. She was skinny, dirty, matted, and had goopy eyes. “She was very wary and smart, so it took two months to get her to take the bait,” Rhonda recalled. In that time, Snow White even pulled her famous disappearing act again. Thankfully, she returned a couple weeks later.
Snow White had stopped grooming herself, beyond occasionally washing her face after meals. Consequently, her coat was filthy and she had large mats of fur hanging from her throat and hip. Because of Snow White’s tendency to stay in a crouching position, it was hard for Rhonda to assess the state of her health beyond noting discharge from her eyes and a runny nose.
Rhonda made a safe space for Snow White in a cat condo in her heated garage, and vowed to make sure she would never have to fend for herself outside again. Her first priority was to help Snow White learn to trust her and to feel safe in her new surroundings. Slowly but surely, she started to relax and allow the occasional head scratch.
Because of her high level of anxiety and distrust, Snow White was sedated while a veterinarian checked her out. The good news was that she tested negative for both FIV and FeLV. The bad news was that the veterinarian said her teeth were the worst he had ever seen and recommended a full dental extraction to relieve the pain and swelling from stomatitis. She also received treatment for an upper respiratory infection.
While she was sedated, the clinic took the opportunity to give Snow White a nice spa treatment. They bathed her, cut away the mats, and even gave her a pedicure.
Rhonda was able to schedule Snow White’s tooth extraction surgery once the upper respiratory infection was cleared up. It turns out that she didn’t have to lose all of her teeth after all! All of her molars were removed, but she was left with 3 canines and all of her tiny front incisors.
These days, Snow White is living the life of a true princess in Rhonda’s home. She’s starting to trust that she’ll be fed every day and that Rhonda is only there to love and care for her. “When I talk to her, she turns towards me. No more downturned head. When I want to give her a belly rub, she yields with shy acceptance. When I want to massage her weather-beaten paws, she curls them around my finger. Inside that matted, grungy mess was a sweet, docile princess waiting for someone to rescue her. She will live happily ever after!”