The kitten’s real name is Elsa, but she quickly became known as “Velcro Cat.” Elsa’s foster mom, Crystal Mackey, started calling her this because of the way Elsa cuddles up to her and attaches herself.
“Within the first hour of her arrival, she discovered how warm and cozy my neck was,” Mackey told The Dodo. “Then she discovered that she could actually balance on my shoulder to snuggle my neck. After that, I couldn’t get her off my shoulder, and every time she found me, she’d climb her way up and give me kisses.”
Before Elsa became Velcro Cat, she was living at an outdoor pool store in Sydney, Australia. Rescuers found her there alone – no mom or siblings in sight.
Elsa was in terrible shape – she had lice, fleas, intestinal worms and ringworm. She’d been born without fully formed eyes, and she had a pronounced head wobble and difficulties walking, which a veterinary neurologist later diagnosed as cerebellar hypoplasia.
Despite all these issues, Elsa was incredibly affectionate and sweet, and she constantly purred for attention, Jenny Storaker, cofounder of CatRescue 901, told The Dodo.
Since the rescue group doesn’t have a designated shelter, Elsa needed to go into foster care. Mackey volunteered for the job, driving two hours to pick her up, and two hours back.
Elsa was unusually quiet for the majority of the car trip, Mackey said, until the last stretch of the trip.
“I had my brother in the car and he had the carrier in his lap,” Mackay said. “When he opened the carrier door, she ‘looked’ over at me from the passenger seat and did the biggest head wobbles, like she was saying, ‘I know you’re there. Who are you?’ I really can’t remember feeling my heart falling in love as fast as in that head-wobbly moment.”
When they got home, Elsa quickly attached herself to Mackey, earning her the Velcro Cat nickname. “She did nothing but roll around in my lap, purring.”
Elsa could roll on Mackey’s lap, but she had a lot of trouble walking and generally moving around. To help Elsa, Mackey does daily physical therapy sessions with her.
“It took the whole week to teach her how to walk and play with toys, but eventually she was running and jumping,” Mackey said. “She had picked her favorite toy the day she arrived – a ‘crinkle ball’ toy that makes a lot of noise.”
Now nothing stops Elsa – she runs and plays like any other kitten her age.
“She carries her toys everywhere, and thinks she’s hiding them when she places them next to our shoes,” Mackey said. “She loves to run in the grass (supervised of course), and will chase me for half an hour before toddling off [to] explore. She also climbs up on the bathroom sink and puts her head under running water until she’s soaked, then goes for a run around.”
Though Elsa can be adventurous, she doesn’t like being far from Mackey. “She meows when she can’t find me,” Mackey said.
Mackey initially planned on just fostering Elsa, and she even set up some appointments with prospective adopters. But Mackey quickly realized that she was just as attached to Elsa as Elsa was to her.
“I started to feel really sick whenever I thought about her leaving,” Mackey said. “I was so worried because she had fit in so well and I didn’t want her to feel rejected. I knew I wanted her to stay forever so I could keep watching her change and grow.”
So Elsa stayed. She’s been living with Mackey for nearly eight months now, and neither one could be happier.
“I love her big ears and unique little white nose and paws, and waking up in the morning to her against my neck,” Mackey said. “She is such a giving little girl, and has such a huge presence in everything I do. I hope she has decades with me to come.”
While Elsa is no longer up for adoption, CatRescue 901 has plenty of other cats looking for homes, including another blind cat named Stevie Wonder. If you’re interested in adopting Stevie or another cat, get in touch with the rescue group. Alternatively, you can rescue more cats by making a donation.