Although he is a sweet, gentle boy, he is very, very frightened. His ears are gnarled with scar tissue, and running your hands along his body reveals a litany of old fight wounds. He has a gaping wound on his head, a burst abscess, but he barely seems to notice. This is probably l because it is not his first abscess, though it is likely the first one that will he will receive veterinary treatment for.
Marvin's story is all too familiar to us, and to cat rescue centres across the country. It's one that we've grown weary of hearing, because it involves suffering that is so easily preventable.
Marvin's origins are a mystery. A traumatised but friendly cat, he obviously had a home once, but with no microchip, we have been unable to trace his owners. Because he is unneutered, his hormones likely drove him to wander far from his home, and are likely one of the reasons he got lost and became part of Britain's 10 million-strong stray cat population. He was then faced with surviving on the streets, where he almost certainly mated with other unneutered cats, making more strays like himself.
Marvin's endless fight wounds, both fresh and old, are also a result of being unneutered, as his hormones compelled him to fight with other entire Toms. His current, gaping wound is a bite or scratch that became infected, formed an abscess, and then burst. This is an injury that we see almost exclusively in unneutered Male cats. Unsurprisingly, Marvin is also FIV positive, as this is a virus spread by deep bite wounds. Again, FIV is a diagnosis that we see almost exclusively in unneutered Male cats.
The lesson here is obvious: neuter and microchip your cats before letting them roam outside. However, this simple message seems to fall on deaf ears among huge swathes of cat owners, and so time and time again we are faced with broken cats like Marvin. We're left to pick up the pieces.
This is exactly what we are doing for Marvin. For him at least, the suffering is over. A kind person suspected that he was a stray and begun to work at befriending him. When he showed up one day with the burst abcess, she immediately began contacting local rescue centres for help, and so Marvin came into our care. His fear is a result of living for so long without human companionship, but it will fade with time, with love and care from our volunteers and eventually from an adoptive family. Already he has begun to come out of his shell. And although his scars may remain forever, he will be safe and loved for the rest of his days.
He is one of the lucky ones, but if you don't neuter or microchip your cat, he or she might not be. Please do the responsible thing.
If you would like to donate towards Marvin's ongoing veterinary treatment and care, please visit our During the Covid 19 pandemic, when the charity is in your donations have been a lifeline, and are our only means of continuing to take in cats like Marvin.