35 Wabash St. PO Box 8480, Pittsburgh, PA 15220

Peggy Rises from The Ashes

18 months after arriving at Animal Advocates scared and semi-feral after her home had been burned down, Peggy is now in foster care and well on her way to being adopted.

It took some time, but Peggy went from frightened and defensive to friendly and sweet in 2020.

When I started volunteering at Animal Advocates in the summer of 2019, Peggy was there. I’m not sure what drew me to her at first. Maybe it was her unique combination of fluffy orange, white and black fur. Or maybe it was her backstory of being rescued from a house fire. Or maybe she reminded me of my own cat – equal parts adorable and feisty.

18 months ago, Peggy would not let me near her. I wondered if she would ever trust people enough to find a home. Peggy came to Animal Advocates as one of eight semi-feral cats who had been displaced after the home that she spent some of her time had burned down in April 2019. Her mother, Mama, arrived with her and remains at Advocates, as does another cat named Pepper.

As a scared, semi-feral cat who watched her home burn, it was not out of the question that she might end up spending her remaining years at Advocates. However, something about her resonated with me, and I refused to give up on being her friend, no matter how many times she hissed at me or batted at my hand.

Slowly, my relationship with Peggy began to evolve. It started with special bowls of food just for her because I knew she didn’t like getting into the fray. Then there was the time spent letting her sniff my fingers and get to know me, followed by eventual attempts to get her to play with toys. Earlier this year, she started allowing me to pet her back gently.

Then in the spring, it came full circle and I was granted the honor of scratching around her ears!

Then in the spring, it came full circle and I was granted the honor of scratching around her ears! I think she even started to be happy to see me when I would arrive for my Friday cat care shift (at least that’s what I’ll tell myself).

Seeing her transform from scared and defensive into the sweet, friendly and confident cat she is today has been one of the highlights of 2020 for me – though that is an admittedly low bar in this year of twists and turns!

Fast forward to today. Peggy was just placed in foster care! It’s a wonderful success story, only made possible by the volunteers at Animal Advocates, whose commitment to loving and rehabilitating cats like Peggy is truly inspiring. It’s also a credit to our donors, whose generosity and spirit make everything we do possible.

I will miss Peggy dearly, but I am so thrilled that she’ll finally get to experience the love, warmth, and connection of having her own home and human. She is a perfect example of why Advocates never gives up on animals, and her success has reaffirmed my commitment to volunteering.

– Mark Fleckenstein