They called him ‘Old Neddy’ but in his younger days, before his brain started to hurt, he was known as Edward Loch, respected educator and friend to most.
Neddy lived in a rundown shack in a poor village. A rackety barn sat close to the home, its roof crooked from years of snowstorms, wind and rain; and neglect. An old rusty cadillac sunk into the ground behind the house, its windows cracked, seats torn. A remnant from better days before the headaches and the pain.
When the voices started coming, screaming in his head, Neddy moved far from the ones he once loved. He found this place, far from everything. It wasn’t much, but the whistles of the wind, blowing through the cracks in the cement soothed his head, blocked out the voices; or at least some of them.
Neddy was not alone in this place, he found companionship in the numerous cats he took into his care; some dropped off at his home by irresponsible owners, others who came for the food, the shelter and of course the love. The cats were his family, and this family multiplied to the point where Neddy had to make a choice who ate, the cats or Neddy himself. This is where a concerned (nosy) neighbour interveined. She called the police.
When the police arrived at Neddy’s home, they brought volunteers from the local SPCA. Neddy was frustrated at the number of human beings on his property. He had worked hard to avoid contact. People made the voices loud. He came out to greet the people, angry and yelling.
The old man stood on his doorstep, dressed in a tattered three piece suit that was expensive once. His long beard was grey and dirty, his teeth decayed like his life. He was yelling at the police, but when he noticed female volunteers, he straightened up, brushed as much crap from his trousers as possible, and greeted them respectfully.
“I don’t know why you are at my home.” he said, “I don’t break the law, I just want to be left alone, here with my friends.”
Thousands of empty cat food tins littered his lawn, bags of litter and wood chips bagged and piled high around the property, like a garbage fence; stink emitting from the bags, which were surrounded with blue flies, possibly attracted to the rotting cat shit.
The young one asked if she could enter his home, along with her friend and maybe a few police officers. “Only the females. I will let two in, two and one cop.” he said.
Upon entering the home Stella, the younger of the SPCA volunteers gasped and covered her mouth with her mask. The amonia hurt her eyes and her throat. Her associate, Jen also accompanied.
Embarrased by the state of his home, Neddy grabbed a shovel he found leaning on the wall, and proceeded to shovel cat feces towards the walls, clearing a place for the volunteers to walk. “Should have warned me you were coming, I could have cleaned the place up!” he complained, not realizing the place was beyond a quick cleaning.
He offered them a cup of tea, and some bread he had baked himself, in his stove that was also covered with shit.The two declined, thanked him for his kindness, all while holding back the vomit.
Stella and Jen were shocked at the sight of the place. Cat feces covered the small table, both tattered chairs, the couch, even the walls, and the smell was difficult, but the old man breathed perfectly, and acted like everything was normal. Cats hopped on them, lovingly, purring. Some were coughing, most were sick. Kittens popped out behind some, most mutated badly from inbreeding within the home. An old one hissed at the sight of the ladies. “He’s like me, he don’t like people much.” Neddy said.
One of the officers, concerned with Neddy’s living arrangement, asked if he had a bathroom in the home. “That went out months ago” he replied. “I cut a hole in the floor. it works great for me.” he added. Upon further inspection, he was telling the truth. A hole, chopped with an axe, served as his toilet. The smell caused all inside to urge, all except Neddy. He never smelled a thing.
The cats were easily caught. They were put into cages, and brought to the vehicles, where volunteers loaded them inside. Neddy was sobbing now, his world being taken from him. The officer held him back while the volunteers removed the cats from the home. A social worker was on hand, to help the old man. He refused of course. “I don’t need any of you, just my pets.” he said, as he cried loudly.
The officer counted the cats, he saw only 26. The neighbour guessed at least 50. Neddy said the rest would be in the shed, because they didn’t like it inside. He promised to gather the remaining cats, and call the police when he did. He never did.
The cats were all sick, and vets could do nothing for them but end their suffering. We never heard from Neddy again, but we drive past his home from time to time, to make sure he is ok. He still doesn’t like strangers, but waves as we pass; probably hoping we go away. He still has cats, possibly more than he had in the past. The tins still litter the yard, the smell of cat urine still as strong, maybe worst, The roof on the shed has fallen even more, the walls are beginning to give away as well.
As long as people abandon there pets, there are people like Neddy, hurting from what he believes the world did to him, happy to take the helpless creatures inside his home, and love them.
This is an all too real situation. Seniors dealing with mental disorders, living in conditions like this. This is a people problem. Cats and dogs not being cared for properly, not spayed or neutered, and abandoned are also a people problem, one that SPCA’s across the world struggle to control. Please help. Get your pet spayed or neutered. Help your local pet rescue when you can.
My wife and I are part of a wonderful organization whose main goal is to save abandoned pets. The Southwest Coast SPCA rescued and rehomed 366 unwanted cats last year. We also ran Trap Neuter Release Programs in feral cat colonies, and offer a low cost Spay Neuter program to low income families. Programs like those cost money, as vet fees are quite high in our area. We get by mostly on donations and fundraisers, but thanks to Covid-19 lockdown procedures, we could not hold our usual fundraisers. If you would like to help our organization you can donate through etransfers. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would rather help animal rescue in your area, visit or email the organization and ask how you can help.
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