Occasionally in life, we come across a road with no clue where it will lead. Such was the case when I stopped-by a local kennel. As I walked by one of the cages of its boarding facility, I noticed a cat rubbing his head against the wire mesh door and gently purring. A tag on the cage indicated that the cat's name was Patches and that he was up for adoption.
Curious by the adoption, I asked the attendant about Patches' story. She indicated that Patches was turned in about six months earlier by someone who had lost her home through foreclosure. She also said that Patches had Feline Leukemia ("FeLV"), a deadly virus that can be transmitted between cats. I was surprised, since Patches showed no outward signs of being in ill health. Indeed, his eyes were clear, his coat was full and shiny, and he was very perky. Although heart-wounded and confused by finding himself homeless, love still radiated from within Patches.
I was deeply saddened to learn about Patches' predicament and the thought of him condemned to live out his life in a cold, metal cage. With 6 to 8 million animals ending up in shelters every year and only half of them finding homes, the prospects of an adult, FeLV-positive cat being adopted were not very promising. The nagging question tugged at me: how much longer could Patches continue to be confined, until his spirit would be broken and he would no longer rub his head and purr with each passerby, having given up hope of finding the home he so desperately needed?