Monday, 11 February 2013

The first of our animal's stories - meet Horrace

As I have said previously on our blog we are both ardent animal lovers, and we have a motley collection of animals that we care for here. To highlight the problem with abandoned animals, I thought it would be interesting to tell the story (as far as we know it) of each of the animals that are part of our family. Both those that we brought with us from England and the newer additions we acquired since being in Turkey.

We brought two cats and one dog with us from England and will start their stories with the oldest 'Horrace' who aged 20 years flew to a new life in Turkey, three months after we were advised to have him put to sleep.

Meet Horrace

Horrace appeared one day as an adult cat on David's doorstep long before David and I were together. He was emaciated but other than that appeared to be in good condition, with a good coat and skin. He looked like he had been someones cat who had been abandoned or lost. David gave him food and water as he appeared hungry, but he touched neither, and disappeared again. This scenario went on for a few days, and after several days David was able to pick him up.  He then discovered that there was a very good reason for Horrace not eating, he had a piece of wire around his neck that was so tight it was embedded into his skin. Obviously hungry as he was, he had been unable to swallow. After the wire had been removed he was at long last able to eat and drink, but has never been able to make any noise as the wire must have damaged his vocal chords. Nobody ever claimed him or asked about him, so where he came from has remained a complete mystery. The village David lived in at the time only had twenty houses so he certainly wasn't a local cat.

Horrace stayed around for many years, although every summer he used to disappear for a few weeks. David always thought he used to stay away when there were a lot of rabbits about to catch. Each year he would return again around September time and stay until the following year, although he preferred to be outside for most of the time, he would appear morning and evening for food. But in his latter years spent more time in the house in the winter months.

The years passed by and when we were preparing to move to Turkey, Horrace was a concern to us as he was assessed by the veterinary surgeon as being twenty years old, and we were worried how he would handle the flight and also how he would cope with the heat as he is a long haired cat.

Loving the Turkish summer

However, just before it was time for the animals to be seen by the vet to start their vaccinations and the paperwork for their move to Turkey, Horrace suddenly became ill, he went off his food, very quickly lost a lot of weight and was almost constantly vomiting. He spent almost all his time in his bed - not like Horrace at all. David took him to the vets, where he was diagnosed as having chronic kidney failure and he was advised to have him put to sleep. I had been expecting the worst and was surprised to see Horrace in the basket when David returned home. It was a Friday evening and David had felt that he needed to bring him home for the weekend before returning to the vets for the dreadful deed to be done on Monday morning.

All I can say is that Horrace must have heard because he got out of the basket and for the first time in several days joined the queue to be fed. Over the weekend he continued to eat and seemed to improve somewhat. On Monday morning we both went with him to the vets and explained that he seemed to be trying and that we did not feel the time was right to make the decision. More blood tests were taken and he was put on a renal diet, and the vet agreed that he was not in pain so to wait awhile.

We had already negotiated the cost to transport them to Turkey and we also had all the paperwork from DEFRA to complete. I rang both the shipping agent and DEFRA and asked for the absolute final date for a decision to be made as to whether we would take him or not. We only had about three weeks grace.

The vet visited us and commenced the rabies vaccinations and paperwork for our other cat and our dog, while we waited to see how Horrace responded to treatment and his new diet. Horrace seemed to slightly improve and when it came to D Day for our decision, it was very much a borderline call. We both felt that Horrace deserved the chance to try and the vet agreed with us, so his paperwork, micro chipping and rabies vaccinations commenced at the eleventh hour. I contacted the shipping agent and told them to go ahead with preparing flight crates for all three.

On the day of transportation, Horrace quite happily came in his basket in the car. We had to fly from Birmingham as the only airport that could accommodate the animals other than Gatwick. When we reached the cargo offices and had to transfer the animals to the flight boxes, Horrace went in his with no fuss whatsoever, and was looking around the warehouse at the forklift trucks and people with more interest than we had seen him show for weeks.

We had never flown with our animals before and I was very uncertain about the whole thing, as I don't like flying myself, and if I am honest I wondered whether Horrace would stand up to the flight at all.

Horrace newly arrived in Turkey and off out to meet the neighbours

On arrival at Dalaman we waited anxiously for the sight of the animals crates, we were very unsure where we would collect them. We had been told that the cargo office would be shut at that time of night and that they would appear in the baggage hall. Suddenly out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw a box at the far end of the hall and headed towards it - Yes! there they were all three - alive and well and looking around.

We all arrived safely, and all three ate well and looked around their new home. After a day inside we opened the doors and Horrace was the first cat out to look about. He loved the Turkish summer, and his condition improved so fast that we think someone must have served him the elixir of life on the plane. Horrace has continued to flourish and is currently on a normal diet and in better condition than he has been for a long time,but even more incredibly he can now make sounds!

Horrace today - alive and well and living in Turkey

We appreciate fully that as he is now in his twenty first year he can't go on forever, but bringing him with us to Turkey was the right call and we are so very, very glad we gave him that chance.


  1. Ah bless him! Great story....Go Horace!! :-) Jo x

  2. What a beautiful cat and obviously a fighter, great story. This story is very encouraging to me. We have two dogs 6 and 8,we plan to relocate to Turkey in 5 years time but thought we might have to postpone our plans if our dogs were still with us as they would be too old to travel. Your story gives me hope, we'll be in Turkey in 5 years time. Carol x

    1. I am so glad that Horrace's story has inspired hope for your move with your animals to Turkey Carol. I think animals are more resilient and adaptable than we give them credit for sometimes. x

  3. Thankyou so much for sharing Horrace's story. What a happy ending and good for you and David having the courage to give him a chance of a new life. Looking forward to the other stories!

  4. Thank you Ayak. We'll be adding the stories of the others weekly over the next few weeks.