Her first home was a one-bedroom apartment with a young couple, their small daughter, and two medium sized dogs...AND her two sisters. This was too much for these people, and the building manager started pressuring them to get rid of the animals. So they responded by throwing her and her sisters in the February snow, when they were four months old. The manager kept up the pressure to at least take care of them for months, but they refused, even after getting rid of the dogs and a couple eviction notices.
One sister disappeared, the other was severely injured by a dog and shot. By the time Madeline started sleeping on my lawn chair she was pregnant and her back was bent in almost a 90 degree angle, which made it hard to climb into the chair, let alone catch birds to eat. And other cats would beat her up and take away her birds when she managed to snag one. Almost feral by that point, I started gaining her trust by standing between other cats and her while she ate birds who literally fed themselves to her by landing in front of her. Eventually I got her to eat dry cat food, and then lured her inside. My other cat was used to fosters, but didn't get on with her, but then it didn't really matter as he died a month later.
I signed up as a foster home for her with a charity, but even after her late term spay, she was unadoptable because of arthritis in her back, headaches, being very very hyper AND hypersensitive, with blue-eyed white cat syndrome on her left side, all of which made her aggressive. She also refused to eat canned, and I wasn't going to make dry her main food, so, while she was still officially a foster, I asked THK about their free food for rescues program. I didn't qualify, being as I was not the rescue, but they still sent me a 4lb box that was about to expire anyway. And the rescue decided, after a vet confirmed that she was unadoptable due to her issues, to let me keep her for free.
It took a year of feeding Prowl and Sparkle almost exclusively (she still wanted some kibble), massage, and chiropractic to unkink her back and bring the arthritis and hypersensitivity under control so she wasn't lashing out all the time. Unfortunately during that time she was also diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis, most likely due to the spay. The vet gave her a probable lifespan of about 3 years, but with very careful management, mostly consisting of keeping her eating regularly (rotating Prowl with canned, after I found some that she liked, and Blue Buffalo Longevity dry, Sparkle mixed with all) and occasional Zantac, 4 years later she is still diabetes free with the arthritis under control, and no longer hyper or hypersensitive.
She has also saved my life several times by waking me when my brain forgets to send the signal to breathe. She was already a service animal under FHA rules, due to my depression, but this makes her even more special. :)
People who don't know her history don't know how far she's come to look like a normal cat, and think I'm exaggerating when I tell them. They're also amazed that she walks on a leash, and eventually I hope to move to another place where we can do that regularly again.
Thank you Honest Kitchen! :D