The name Journey was a fitting choice for this special cat.
Watching the feline play with her foster carer now, it’s hard to believe she is the same cat that was found emaciated and terrified inside a shipping container in B.C. in April.
It has taken months of treatment, rehabilitation, care and trust building, but little Journey is slowly but surely overcoming her horrific ordeal.
The feral six-year-old cat survived a harrowing three-week voyage from Shenzhen, China to the Port of Vancouver before being discovered hiding in a crate delivered to an auto glass distribution company in Prince George.
She was barely conscious when the container was opened and was facing life-threatening medical issues. Weighing only 1.5 kilograms, Journey was so emaciated her ribs were showing, and she was suffering from liver disease caused by starvation.
Her long road to recovery began at North Cariboo District SPCA where she was kept in quarantine, received fluids and was slowly reintroduced to food.
The BC SPCA said in the beginning Journey was terrified of human contact and would hiss and growl at staff. As she became stronger, she was transferred to the BC SPCA’s Maple Ridge Branch for care.
“Because of her intensive fear of humans, it was challenging to provide the medical care Journey required, but staff used low-stress handling techniques and immediately began implementing a behaviour modification plan to help her adjust to being handled,” BC SPCA said in a statement.
While there, Journey received ongoing treatment for a liver parasite and had oral surgery to extract damaged teeth and address her severe dental disease.
The BC SPCA said Journey’s progress was slow, but staff members were delighted to see small improvements in her emotional welfare each week.
She has now reached the point where she will play with toys on top of a bed with her current foster carer, Dr. Karen van Haaften, BC SPCA’s senior manager of behaviour and welfare.
Dr. van Haaften said Journey had made incredible progress at her home in Vancouver. As well as beginning to play, she said Journey was using the litter box consistently and no longer ran away when people entered the room.
“This little girl is becoming braver and is more willing to show her personality around people,” she said.
“She is very playful and will play with wand toys in the open now.”
While she’s made great strides in her recovery, Journey will need a few more months in her foster home before she’s ready to be adopted into a home as the only cat.
“The next step is to slowly get Journey to become comfortable being touched and cuddled to ensure she will be well-adjusted enough to find her forever home,” Dr. van Haaften said.
The SPCA is not currently accepting adoption applications for Journey but will provide an update to the public when applications will be open for this special cat.