The Difference Love Makes: Sweets’ Story

By Judy Layne

On a pouring rainy day, a kitty was found wandering stray by a kind man who brought him to safety at the Dartmouth SPCA. The poor cat had clearly lived a hard life on the streets. When he arrived, he was almost completely covered in mats that were several inches thick and coated in urine and feces. You could barely tell that there WAS a cat under all that clumping! He was suffering from severe inflammation and swelling of his skin. The kitty needed help and fast!

Matting is extremely dangerous. It pinches and pulls at the skin and can actually block blood flow.  Mats can become so tangled and tight that nasty infections can result. If not treated, the kitty could lose limbs… or worse. The SPCA veterinary team carefully shaved the kitty from whiskers to tail and he began his recovery journey. Shelter staff named him Sweets.

We normally think of ‘loss’ as a bad thing, but in Sweets’ case, ‘losing’ his mats saved his life. Can you believe it – his intake weight was 19.1 lbs and post-shave he was 17.5 lbs. That’s 1.6 pounds of matted fur that he thankfully lost!

While medical care was the first critical step in 8-year-old Sweets’ recovery, he needed to heal emotionally too. It was decided to place him in a loving foster home where he could gain strength and learn to trust people again. Enter Julie, who was about to change Sweets’ life.

Julie and her partner Peter had signed up to be foster parents. Julie shared “Sweets was to be my first foster animal. I read his description and it sounded like he really needed help. When I learned that he was sitting in the corner of his cage with his back to everyone, I thought this must be such a sad life for him. It made me want to see if there was anything I could do to improve his life.” So off Sweets went to a fabulous foster home.

Sweets was understandably scared and timid at first. “We set up a ‘safe room’ in our house before Sweets arrived,” explained Peter. “Initially, he would hide or turn his back and sit in a corner as he did in the Shelter. He also looked really depressed. The sound of someone entering his room would scare him and he would stay hidden for hours, barely moving.”

Sweets soon learned that he could trust these kind people. His confidence grew and his personality started to blossom one paw at a time. Julie recalled “I was surprised at how quickly Sweets became close to me and my daughter. He started coming out to eat and let me pat him. Next, he started wanting to play. Then he started getting used to my 6-year-old daughter Zeeza who would pet him and offer treats. Little by little, the other 5 kids in our blended family started to visit with him and he was fine with it.”

Julie and her partner Peter already had 3 cats – Coco Bear, Suki and 2Lu – so Sweets got some feline siblings as well. “Sweets went from running away or hissing at our other cats and not daring to venture out of his ‘safe’ room, to joining our cats for meals, socializing, and playing,” said Peter. “In fact, he has found a new best friend in Coco Bear.”

Sweets definitely captured the family’s hearts and they formally adopted him. “Sweets is so affectionate and open; he is one of the most loving animals I’ve ever seen,” stated Julie. “He taught us what joy an older animal can add to your life. We are so grateful to the SPCA for bringing Sweets into our life.”

Sweets is definitely living his best life. Julie shared “Sweets loves to hang out with us – snuggling, watching tv and lounging on the couch. He enjoys chasing his toys and wrestling with the kids’ ‘Stuffies’ as if he is a champion wrestler! Peter owns Titans Martial Arts and Fitness Academy and we consider Sweets to be a member; he is currently working on getting his blue belt! Eating is also high on his list of favorite things to do! He loves to freak out Daddy by sneaking up to his chest while Peter is sleeping. He puts his face inches from Daddy’s face and waits for him to wake up and find Sweets’ face staring right at him.”

Sweets’ transformation has been remarkable. His ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos say it all. And as much as a picture can show a transformation, Sweets’ transformation is much more than fur-deep. You can feel a sense of peace and happiness in his ‘after’ photos that was missing before. He realizes he is home, safe and loved.


Thanks to you, Sweets got his happily-ever-after. Please help other animals like Sweets by donating today.


Judy Layne

Judy is a dedicated volunteer with the Nova Scotia SPCA. She is committed to speaking for animals who cannot speak for themselves.