The quest for a special home has begun for a diabetic cat that has spent his entire life at a charity rescue centre and in a specialist foster home.
Berlioz is 18 months old. His mother arrived at Yorkshire Cat Rescue as a stray – having given birth to her kittens outside. She was in poor health and suffered from Feline panleukopenia virus.
Berlioz contracted the virus spending some of his kittenhood in hospital and isolation. At first, Berlioz seemed to recover normally but then he began losing weight. He just wasn’t thriving and had no kitten spark. Dozens of costly vet visits followed and, he was eventually diagnosed with kitten diabetes.
Determined to save him, Yorkshire Cat Rescue worked tirelessly with his foster mum to try to stabilise his condition – a momentous challenge as he had lost all pancreatic function. His life was literally on a knife-edge.
There were a few times when it seemed he would not make it as centre manager, Sam Davies explains. “One time I rushed him to the vet; he appeared to have stopped breathing and because I didn’t want him to die alone in a carrier, I took him into my arms and just held him. He was falling into a coma but miraculously pulled through. Finally, with a new type of insulin his condition is stable and it really is time for him to find somewhere to call ‘home’.”
Berlioz needs twice-daily insulin injections 12 hours apart, which makes it challenging to find him a new home. Sam who is currently fostering Berlioz is offering to look after him personally during his new owners holidays and for occasional respite care if they wish.
She says: “I admit it; this cat has made a very strong impression on me. He has developed his very own way of greeting the day – with great enthusiasm, love and affection. Not a day goes by when he doesn’t make me laugh – after being through so much – nothing phases him. But his vision isn’t perfect and the fact is that he struggles to feel at home among other cats. He is most relaxed when he is the only one which is why he needs a real home of his own’
“Because of the diabetes, Berlioz can have little mood swings. But he is a cat that will sit on your shoulder and always be the first one to greet you when you come home”
Berlioz will always need insulin injections as well as a special diet. But Yorkshire Cat Rescue has promised to cover all vet bills associated with his diabetes for the rest of his life.
Sara Atkinson is the founder of Yorkshire Cat Rescue. She says: “His mother was neglected and abandoned – Berlioz won’t ever be. Some people might think us crazy for going all this way for just one cat. But once these beings are in our care, we never give up on them. Berlioz is a truly special cat and we won’t stop looking until we find him someone with room in their heart for a larger-than-life character. It is the season of miracles – maybe one will come for him this Christmas.”