“Honestly, I do not understand why somebody left such a beauty outside,” Ilona Tkachyova says of the long-haired, black and white animal that she and her husband adopted in 2013. “She is a really lovely and gentle cat.”
Abandoned in her carrier in front of her foster’s house, Applesauce always erred on the side of caution. When she met Ilona for the first time, she was apprehensive. Fortunately, Ilona was undaunted by Applesauce’s skepticism and approached anyway.
“I tried to touch her and she started licking my hand right away,” Ilona recalls. It was an instant attraction for both. The lick, according to Ilona, was also very tender.
However, adjusting to her new home wasn’t easy. Applesauce hid under the furniture and cried throughout the first night.
It took time, but Applesauce now welcomes her owners home with loud meows and follows them from room to room. She even waits for them on the bathmat while they take a shower. In fact, the bathmat is Applesauce’s favourite place to be.
As for toys, Applesauce can’t be bothered. Ilona and her husband tried every kind of toy that they could think of to encourage her to play. “The only thing she likes, and it was kind of a surprise, is knitting needles.” The little red ball at the end of Ilona’s needles is, apparently, irresistible.
Prior to her adoption, Applesauce had to undergo surgery to remove a mast cell tumour, which left one of her ears bent forward permanently. Although the veterinarian who performed the surgery felt that the tumour was unlikely to grow back, it returned within six months. Despite this setback, Ilona believes in doing what’s best for the animal regardless of whether she is healthy or sick.
“You have to do whatever they need.”
In Ilona’s case, the vet proposed another surgery that would entirely remove Applesauce’s afflicted ear, followed by chemotherapy. Ilona and her husband ultimately decided not to proceed with the surgery. Applesauce is also suffering from chronic kidney disease and there was a chance that she might not survive such an invasive procedure.
Instead, llona manages Applesauce’s conditions through a combination of herbal cancer and kidney support remedies and a holistic diet. It’s working. Applesauce is 11 years old this year. Her tumour has stopped growing aggressively and the couple hope to have many more years with her.
“She is the joy of our home,” Ilona says. “You cannot look at her without smiling.”
— Leslie Sinclair