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Arlington Pet of the Week: Rusty

Becky's Pet Care

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Rusty, who is a loving cat, despite his health problems.

Here’s what Rusty’s owner, Gabby, had to say about him:

Rusty came to us as an add-on. We were adopting a 10-year-old tabby from a family whose daughter had severe, debilitating allergies and they asked us if we would also be interested in the 7-month-old kitten they had adopted two months prior. He was very sweet but skittish. They really loved him but figured they would have to send him back to the shelter. I sent his picture to my husband – a skinny, orange kitty with a belly licked bald from his stress at the shelter. We were in love.

Rusty and Toby the tabby came home with us the next week. While Toby was a mature adult about the entire process and quickly acclimated to his new home — Rusty was a wreck. His first family had only had two months to work with him on his trust issues and he seemed to regress — hiding under every surface, cowering if we wanted to touch him, always
licking away at his poor little belly — not a trace of fur. Within a month of adopting him he got very sick with a respiratory infection. Curiously, his previous owners had told us he had been on antibiotics for the same thing quite recently. Then he got another one. And another one. After six months of repeat illnesses and thousands of dollars, we were beside ourselves trying to figure out what was wrong with him. Turns out Rusty had asthma, and weakened lungs prone to infections, most likely caused by whatever terrible circumstances he endured before finding his way to a shelter.

We’ve now had Rusty six years and all of his fur has returned. He get an asthma inhaler administered twice a day and we have reduced his lung infections to about 4 times a year. He will always be a special cat prone to sickness but he is worth every penny. He meets me and my husband at the door every evening, is happiest when he is in one of our faces demanding to be loved, is addicted to catnip and sleeps on our bed every night without fail. Our tabby Toby died of cancer last Thanksgiving and Rusty has helped pull us through the other side of our sadness. I can’t even think about what would have happened to him if he had gone back to a shelter.

Dog people always say cats don’t love — that you could never form a bond with one like you could with a dog — but to that I say that’s only if you’ve never given a cat a fair chance.

Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Please don’t send vertical photos, they don’t fit in our photo galleries!

Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks. Becky’s Pet Care is the winner six consecutive Angie’s List Super Service Awards, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year and a proud supporter of the Arlington County Pawsitively Prepared Campaign.

Becky’s Pet Care provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in Arlington and all of Northern Virginia, as well as PetPrep training courses for Pet Care, CPR and emergency preparedness.

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