Tama is an elderly gent who was found sleeping rough on a sad patch of concrete.
When he first came in to the CPW shelter, our vets found that he had multiple health issues, including hyperthyroidism, tooth decay and high blood pressure.
They also found a couple of growths in his chest, and we prepared to keep him in the shelter for palliative care instead of looking for a foster home for him.
So Tama settled into the shelter, loving the warm blankies and comfy sofas, regular food and all the human company and fusses.
But his health improved better than we expected, with the chest masses stable, and his energy levels steady.
So when Natalie and Joey came in looking for an older cat to foster in August, and were drawn immediately to Tama, it looked like he might get his own home after all.
The couple had been waiting to get a cat until they found a rental property where they would be allowed to keep one. That finally happened this year.
“I stalked your website for two years,” Natalie says. “I knew if we got a rescue cat, it would be an older one. I know that it’s harder for older animals to get adopted.
“We wanted a cat who was happy to have company, that wanted to hang with us and chill. Maybe less energetic than a kitten.”
When they visited the shelter, Tama was relaxed and friendly. Joey says: “We just sat down with him, and he was pretty comfortable. I think we clicked with him right away.”
“He was the oldest of the old cats,” Natalie says. “We knew we could give him a home for the rest of his time.
“I know he’s 18, but he seems fine.”
They have fostered Tama under the Care for Life permanent foster programme. They take him to the vet as often as needed to keep him healthy, but all the bills are taken care of by CPW. In return, they love him forever.
Natalie and Joey say Tama is pretty active, and enjoys playing and batting toys with his paws.
He also goes for walks on his harness, and he’s pretty comfortable with that as long as they stay away from traffic and other people or animals.
“He methodically checks the front doors of all the other apartments in our block,” Joey says. “He loves it when people come over. My friends will be here tonight, and he’ll hang with us.”
While Natalie and Joey are keen to focus on caring for older cats, they’re aware that losing them will take a toll.
“We should see how we are when he passes on,” Natalie says. They said CPW had counselled them that it could be tough to lose him, but for now they’re focussed on giving him the best life he can have.
Natalie has found that while Tama means “boy” or “son” in Te Reo Māori, it also means “jewel” or “perfect” in Japanese, and “joy” or “surprise” in Hebrew.
“I like to say that he’s our perfect jewel and our surprise joy,” she says. “Even when he wakes us up at 4am. He’s got to be the best thing we’ve ever done.
“He’s the sweetest, we’re obsessed with him. He’s king of the castle.”