About a year ago I was passively searching for a companion for my year old cat, Crackers. So when I found Tokyo, she was the farthest thing from what I was looking for.
To start, she was tiny, about 4 pounds, and the vet estimated she was around 9 years old. She couldn't move around too easily and the second I brought her home she darted under a sofa and refused to emerge for over a day. Once I got her out, I realized that her undercoat was matted across her entire body. I sat down with a pair of scissors and spent the night slowly cutting through the mats, and learned that her inability to move was due to all of the tangled fur.
Because of her skittish and panicked nature, she was anything but a playmate for my other cat. I only saw her for a few minutes a day to sneak some food before retreating underneath an upstairs bed, and I was at a complete loss at what to do for her.
After shaving her down, I noticed patches of smooth skin where hair wasn't growing. A few months later when I took her to the vet for a checkup, I learned the truth about Tokyo. First of all, she was not an older cat as we had previously believed: in a period of six months her estimated age dropped from 9 years old to 3. Secondly, the smooth patches were places where she'd been burned. Discovering that Tokyo's behavior was due to a history of physical abuse, I turned to reading up on feline post-traumatic stress disorder and panic disorders, researching ways to make her feel invited into family spaces and alleviate her anxiety.
In the past year Tokyo has gone from living under beds to being a happy and confident kitty. She loves to visit with people and sleep with me, and even plays sometimes. She still has a long way to go, but I know we have many more years together to grow her confidence in people and the world around her.