Rags To Riches: Balou's Story

Balou, March 2012, weighing over 12 pounds
Balou, March 2012, weighing over 12 pounds
Balou June 2011 severely dehydrated and a  bag of bones
Balou June 2011 severely dehydrated and a bag of bones
June, 2011
June, 2011
March 2012
March 2012

The day I brought Balou home, I was not even sure he would make it, but I had high hopes for him, because he somehow managed to survive as long as he had, nearly dead and being attacked by other animals. That told me he had a very strong will to survive. I was in the field vet clinic, waiting for my Nala to get fixed, and these three girls brought him in. They said they found him near the CAP office. They wanted him to get an exam and vaccinations and fixed, they wanted to keep him. He started talking almost right away, begging someone, anyone, to come sit with him, and better yet, let him out of that cage. I walked over and stuck my fingers into his cage and introduced myself to him. Right away he came up to my hand and started loving it, still talking. My heart broke for him, and I fell in love with him from the moment I saw him. The next day I went to pick up a litter of kittens and their mother that I agreed to take in. I asked them what was going to happen to the blue cat. They said since the girls parents told them they could not keep the cat, then the cat would go back to Rapid City with them and its chances there did not look good. What was I to do...I took him home with me.

Balou was so weak he would lose his balance and fall at the most inconvenient times. So I figured the safest place for him, until he got stronger, was the bathroom. Whenever I would go in to use the bathroom, I took the time to strengthen the already growing bond between us. I would pick him up and cradle him like a baby and gently rub his chest. He has one of the loudest purrs I have ever heard. He enjoyed that (being cradled and cooed to and having his chest rubbed) that today, 9 months later, he actually asks to be cradled and have his chest rubbed. When I pick him up, he will maneuver himself into position if I am not quick enough to do it myself.

Right away I began feeding him Purina Kitten Chow and canned food. As he started to get stronger, I began taking him outside on a harness and leash, for fresh air. The first time we went outside, he could only take a few steps at a time before needing to lay down and rest. Patches, our welcome wagon kitty, was the first to meet him, and he was afraid sweet Patches was going to attack him. He soon learned he could trust Patches though. I could tell from his frame that he was once a large cat, I figured his ideal weight was 12 pounds, and I was right...He now weighs between 12 and 14 pounds. And as you can see in his March pictures, he isn't the least bit overweight.

Balou is close to me, and loves to snuggle. He will stay in my lap as long as I let him. How did he come to be in the situation he was found in? We can only guess that his owner must have died and the family either did not want him or they simply neglected him until he ran away looking to feed himself, but by then maybe he was to weak to catch his own food. As he got weaker and could no longer defend himself, he became prey to other cats and dogs. When he was found, he had injuries indicating he had been attacked, and the tip of one ear was gone and still scabby.

Balou went from rags, (almost literally) to riches, or riches for a cat anyways, on the day those three girls found and rescued him. He owes three unknown girls his life.

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Comments 11 comments

cloverleaffarm profile image

cloverleaffarm 4 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

Maybe it's just my eyes, but writing in all bold makes this hard to read. Glad Balou is doing well.


tlmcgaa70 profile image

tlmcgaa70 4 years ago from south dakota, usa Author

that is funny...i always write in bold because it is easier for me to read than the small light font, so i just assumed it would be easier for everyone else to read to...i never thought someone would have trouble reading it. thank you for cluing me in. and thank you for stopping in to read and comment. have a great day


jenubouka 4 years ago

What an incredible story! Bless you for your unconditional heart, such a beautiful feline. It is hard to imagine any human who would abuse an animal to the point of near death. Just thankful to know that there are people like you that are courageous enough to heal animals in need. An angel on earth tlmgaa70.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

Balou is a lucky duck, tlm, excuse me, I mean cat, to have found you and vice versa. May you both enjoy each other's company for a long, long time. BTW, Is there a special meaning to the name, Balou?


tlmcgaa70 profile image

tlmcgaa70 4 years ago from south dakota, usa Author

Jen, i am no angel...i sometimes get into trouble(from my step dad) for bringing another rescue home...but sometimes i just can't say no, any more than someone could say no to a little child in desperate need.

drbj...we are both blessed that is for sure, and thank you, i to hope he is around for a long time to come. he seems to be in great health. and Balou is just a play on blue, which is his color. he seems to like it.

thank you both for your sweet comments. i hope you both have a terrific day.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas


tlmcgaa70 profile image

tlmcgaa70 4 years ago from south dakota, usa Author

Thank you very much for the heads up HomeSteadBound. i wrote to the site admins telling them to remove my article from their site and let them know if this andre person was stealing my article i doubted if any articles belonged to them. you know what they say...imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but in this case I would rather not be flattered or imitated. thank you again.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

Hi there my dear friend! Oh, how I love this story..and your huge heart...you are my sister in appreciation for animals..they are so important. Thank you a thousand times over for this and all the other loving acts of kindness you do for animals. So much respect and high regards, Tammy!!! Kathy


tlmcgaa70 profile image

tlmcgaa70 4 years ago from south dakota, usa Author

hey Kathy, how have you been doing? our Balou is now at his ideal weight, and it is funny when he sits next to our two female one year olds, his tail alone makes them look tiny. i have NEVER seen such a huge thick tail on a cat as his is. i am positive you know just what i am talking baout when i say any kindness i do for these cats is repayed a million times over by their love and joy they give back. i will always consider myself blessed to have them in my life and i constantly thank GOD for them. thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment, it is wonderful to hear from you, always. take care and have a wonderful night.


DearBandit profile image

DearBandit 4 years ago

You really are full of kitty love. you have a big heart.


tlmcgaa70 profile image

tlmcgaa70 4 years ago from south dakota, usa Author

DearBandit i am truly challenged to think of something else that compares to the love of cats on this earth. they are truly special creatures. i hope your day is absolutely purrfect!

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