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WEEKEND: PET SOS: Tibby shows his true face; BEHIND THE FIERCE LOOK IS A CAT WHO GIVES COUPLE A LOT OF LOVE DESPITE BEING DEAF AND WOBBLY ON HIS FEET.

Byline: Ann Evans

AFTER Pat and Tony Pritchard's beloved cat Millie died at the grand old age of 17, the couple decided not to get another, because they could not face a repeat of the heartbreak.

But a year later, says grandmother of five Pat, "the house just seemed empty."

"I kept thinking it would be nice to have another cat. My neighbour has a lovely rescue cat and I was wondering if I could be lucky enough to have one as nice as hers."

Then about a month ago, Pat and Tony, of Spring Lane, Kenilworth, saw the Pet SOS feature in the Evening Telegraph which highlighted a number of special cats who were slightly brain damaged, and decided to offer one of them a home.

But they had no intention of having the one on the harness called Tibby because they thought he looked quite fierce in the picture.

Little did they know.

When they went to Cats Protection and met Tibby, it was a different story.

Pat says: "When Tony and I saw him, we both fell in love with him straight away.

"We didn't even want to look at the others because we had both made up our minds about this one. We did look though, out of politeness."

For the caring couple, it didn't matter about Tibby being 14 years old, stone deaf and with renal problems that require a daily tablet.

They took him home anyway and over the next few days he gradually settled in.

"He was a bit shy to start with," says Pat. "He would hide under the bed and I had to lift him out. It was 10 days before he would come and sit on our laps. Now he's never off - and we keep a cushion on the floor beside the sofa so he can climb up easily."

Being deaf and slightly wobbly on his feet, Tibby had got used to walking on a harness.

In his new home he has the run of the garden, but usually likes to wait for Pat to come out so he can go with her.

Although Cats Protection thought that Tibby did not get on with other cats, he has made an exception for the cat next door and gets on fine with him when he hops over the fence.

"I used to think that if only I could find a cat like Tom next door," says Pat. "Then I found Tibby and he is gorgeous.

"Even though he's deaf, when we come in, he knows, and comes to greet us. And he purrs louder now than when we first got him.

"Cats are lovely company and give so much affection - especially rescue cats."

We would love to hear about the rescued pet in your family. Phone Ann Evans on 024 7650 0346, write to Features Department, Coventry Evening Telegraph, Corporation Street, Coventry CV1 1FP, or e-mail: ann.evans@mrn.co.uk

USEFUL CONTACTS

The RSPCA Animal Centre, Coundon Wedge Drive, Coventry, is open six days a week (closed Tuesdays) 11am-4pm. Telephone 024 7633 6616.

Dogs Trust (formerly NCDL) Honiley, near Kenilworth. Open every day except Fridays noon-4pm. 01926 484398.

PDSA, Barkers Butts Lane, Coventry, 024 7659 0298. General inquiries 0800 917 2509.

Cats Protection League (Cov) 024 7625 1491. Mid Warks 01926 334849.

Petseek 01926 814883.

Petsearch (dogs) 024 7650 6399/ (cats) 024 7676 5639, Nuneaton Bedworth area 024 7639 7374, Balsall Common and north Coventry 01676 540341.

Animal Welfare Office/Dog Warden 024 7683 1832.

Cats Action Trust 1977: 024 7634 7738.

Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary: 024 7634 5243.

CAPTION(S):

D19035_2 HOME COMFORTS: Rescue cat Tibby likes nothing better than sitting on the sofa with owner Pat Pritchard. Picture: LISA CAREY
COPYRIGHT 2004 Coventry Newpapers
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Apr 24, 2004
Words:622
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