Update to the tale of Possum….. the cat

Possum Joy


For those of you who have been following the tale of Possum the cat after capture, there were quite a few revelations – the most surprising one, he was not a male cat after all. So, SHE has been renamed Possum Joy.

Many people responded to this request to help out after Sharon Hicklin managed to capture the cat after feeding her for almost nine years. Monroe Fire Chief Bill Owens and his wife, Lisa, offered to pay the vet bill at Countryside Animal Hospital. Others who had also offered to help have said they will send cat food as Hicklin is retired and on a fixed income.

On Friday, July 3, Possum Joy was dropped off to spend the day at the vet. Because of her condition, everybody was of the opinion that she was in the last years of her life and likely in poor health. It turns out, neither was true. Hicklin says the vet has put her age at likely not that much more than nine years so she would have been a very young adult when Hickin first began taking care of her.

After a day at the vet, and a much-needed spa treatment courtesy of Countryside, she now looks a lot more like her former young self. She tested negative for any potential feline diseases and the only medical issue appears to be an abscessed tooth for which she is receiving antibiotics. Hicklin says her skin is beautiful and soft to the touch.

“No more mats or dreadlocks hanging down her side. Her ears are clean as a whistle and she did not have mites. She has been treated for fleas and she feels like a princess,” Hicklin said. “Countryside Animal Hospital is a Godsend to have braced that shave and bathe session. They were pros! Possum did not even need a sedative. She totally relaxed except for when they got to her tail area which she wasn’t too crazy about. She has a beautiful, perfect tail now. No more broom or mop!”

Hicklin said Possum Joy has settled into her new home and is hardly showing any signs of her past feral life. She now spends her days eating, sleeping, relaxing on the window ledge or spending a little time in the outdoors secured in a crate.

“When I scratch her head and kiss her cheek she purrs. I bet she didn’t even know she could purr,” Hicklin said.

It appears that Possum Joy has already come a long way from her life as a homeless stray on the streets of Monroe.

Initial Story

Possum, the cat.

Possum is, well … a cat. People can be forgiven for mistaking him for a opossum since his looks favor that species. But the tale of Possum the cat hasn’t always been a happy one. He was one of the strays that lived in the bushes around town until his habitat was destroyed when the bushes were removed.

“They cut them down to the ground and threw out his crate and feeding station. He was left homeless so he had to flee to the storm drain. It took me two weeks to find him. He ate three cans the minute I fed him,” Hicklin said.

For the next few years, Hicklin could often be seen sitting at the entrace of the drain making sure that Possum had food, water and, when the rain washed down the drain, a dry crate to crawl into. This earned her an occasional appearance in the City of Monroe’s Police Report and the name, “The Cat Lady.” She would be reported as a suspicious person and the police would note in the report that it was just a lady feeding and watering cats.

Possum the Cat. Contributed photo

“I had another lady ask me if I was homeless once and another one asked me if I needed food,” Hicklin said, but she kept feeding Possum nevertheless – even going hungry herself sometimes to make sure that he always had food. 

Then came the day she wrecked the car and no longer had a way to get to Zaxby’s location to feed Possum. She had to rely on other people to help her take food to him, She worried about him, especially during storms. She knew he was really old and very feral. She said she feared the day she would get there and find he had not survived the night.

“I have gone to bed many a night so sad over leaving him, especially in cold or rainy weather,” she said.

Then came June 19 this year during a stormy night – and a miracle.

Possum the Cat. Contributed photo

“After nine years of feeding him and never being able to touch him I HAVE CAUGHT POSSUM!!!!!!,” Hicklin announced on Facebook. “We had a huge storm tonight and after it was over I went to feed him and found him huddled in his crate on a soaking wet blanket. I was able to pull him out and swaddle him in another clean blanket I had brought and without protest he let me sit him on my lap and pet him for the first time in nine years! HALLELUJAH!” 

Possum has now joined the other animals that Hicklin has saved over the years. But he is desparately in need of grooming and medical treatment and Hicklin, retired, on social security and a cancer survivor, is not in a financial position to get him the treatment he needs. She has managed to get a groomer who is prepared to take on getting rid of his matted fur, but only after he gets a rabies shot. She has had difficulty finding an open clinic during the coronavirus pandemic prepared to take on a new patient for the rabies shot.

Possum the Cat. Contributed photo

“Look at how bedraggled and dirty he is. The other side is very matted and dreadlocked. He looks pitiful,” Hicklin said. “He has had no human touch in at least nine years.”

She knows that he is old, but she just wants him to get the proper medical care he needs to be able to live out the remainder of his years healthy, warm, dry, well-fed, and at peace. She is preparing an outside pen for him to spend his days in, and a windowsill and crate for him to sleep in at night and during stormy weather.

If anyone can help with lining up a rabies shot or a vet who is prepared to check him over, please email sharon@waltonliving.com and we will see if we can help line it up to get Possum the help he needs.

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