Guy Shows Up At Shelter With A Super Strange 'Cat'
“As I was bringing the box back, this arm comes out ... and it’s hairless.”
In late October, a man stumbled upon a tiny pink animal all alone in a used car lot. With winter well on its way, he knew the little animal wouldn’t survive on her own, so he bundled her into his car and drove her to the South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (SPWRC).
Gail Barnes, executive director of SPWRC, watched on camera as the man dropped off a box at the center’s intake building. She had received a call explaining that he'd be dropping off a wild possum — but it didn't seem that way at first. “As I was bringing the box back, this arm comes out ... and it’s hairless,” Barnes told The Dodo. “And I go, ‘Oh my gosh, this is not the possum. This must be a hairless cat.’”
Safely inside, Barnes opened the box and realized that she was in fact holding a wild possum, with only a sprinkling of hair on her face and feet.
“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, she’s so cold,’” Barnes said. “She was hypothermic so we had to warm her up. We put her in the incubator and got socks, heated them up, and got her temperature back up to where it was supposed to be.”
Next, Barnes and the volunteers set about helping the possum gain weight. They had no idea how long she had been without her mom, so they gave her a variety of food to snack on, and the possum happily ate it up. “If the mother knows that something is wrong with the baby they’re going to drop them off or discard them," Barnes said. "So she probably was scared to death.”
During her vet checkup, the vets determined that the little possum's unique appearance was due to alopecia, an auto-immune disease causing hair loss. And without fur to protect her from the elements, the possum was unable to be released into the wild.
The center put out a call for little sweaters and pouches to keep the possum warm during the winter months, and the community happily responded. So far the little possum has received knit pouches to snuggle in and hand-me-down clothes from hairless cat owners.
In the weeks since arriving at the wildlife center, the possum has already doubled her weight, and soon she'll be ready to be introduced to her roommate Remy.
The two small possums will live in an indoor/outdoor enclosure with plenty of room to roam and cozy dens to sleep in. The wildlife center hopes they can one day help educate people about the important role that marsupials in North America play.
“Possums are one of the most misunderstood animals," Barnes said. "People trap them, they don’t want them in their yard, they think they look prehistoric because they have more teeth than any other mammal. But they’re really very beneficial. They’re scavengers — they eat all your insects, your bugs and your snakes."
The little possum is growing more comfortable with her caretakers every day, and is proving that against all odds she is determined to thrive.