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Happy Tail: Possum

When Annex Cat Rescue trapper and foster Lizzy responded to a call about a stray cat in 2020, she got far more than she bargained for. The cat, who Lizzy named Possum, wasn’t alone. She was living in the bushes on someone’s front lawn… along with her six three-week-old kittens.

“The homeowner had cancer and was not in a position to help them, so she emailed ACR,” Lizzy explains. But, “the homeowner’s friend had been secretly feeding the cats. The friend was distraught and wanted Possum and the babies to stay outside so she could continue to care for them.”

Luckily, once Lizzy and her partner Peter explained that ACR would take good care of Possum and her babies, the friend agreed to let them go. So, Lizzy and Peter packed up the cats and brought them home.

Possum after hernia surgery
Possum after hernia surgery

“Possum was an excellent mother, so the kittens were chubby and clean,” Lizzy recalls. And her motherhood went above and beyond. It turned out one of the kittens in the litter was not biologically Possum’s. That kitten, Crow, was seemingly abandoned by his own mother, but Possum cared for him as if he was her own.

Lizzy cared for Possum and her kittens — named Caribou, Birdie, Mouse, Bunny, Squirrel, and Crow — at her home until the kittens were seven weeks old and could be weaned. Then, the kittens were adopted out to loving homes.

“I suspect [Possum] had several litters before this,” Lizzy says. “As the kittens grew, it became awkward for Possum to nurse them. I began to observe that she was rightfully over motherhood. She had no issues leaving her kittens and seemed grateful to finally be the center of attention.”

ACR put up an adoption listing for Possum, including a photo of her with her babies. And it was that photo that made her future adopter fall in love.

“She was embracing her babies,” Myriam recalls of the photo that made her want to adopt Possum. “She was pretty, but also, you could see that she was a good cat.”

Myriam had owned animals before, but when she started thinking about adopting, it had been several years since she had had a pet. She had just moved into a new apartment and wanted a companion around. It was Myriam’s friend who sent her Possum’s adoption listing, and when she saw it, Myriam immediately reached out to ACR and “begged” to foster her. Soon, Possum was home with her.

Despite having been a stray, Possum had very few behavioural issues. “She was hiding at first, in my closet, but she was OK with me getting close to her. After two, three weeks, she was already wandering around the apartment,” Myriam says. Possum was very food-motivated, and always hungry. But overall, she was an easygoing and friendly cat.

Soon into their time together, Myriam noticed that Possum was having issues going to the litterbox and seemed to be in pain. She took her to the vet, where they discovered that the cat had a hernia. It would take surgery to fix it, and as the vet explained, the risk to Possum’s life was high.


Myriam was terrified for her kitty. But fortunately, Possum came out fine, and healed quickly. Afterwards, she seemed much happier, and was no longer in pain.

“From that moment, I think she understood that I was there to support her and take care of her,” Myriam says.

After that, she and Possum were the best of friends, and still are to this day. Possum is very attached to her owner, spending most of her time in the suspended bed next to Myriam’s desk, where she works from home. If Myriam works for too long, Possum puts her paw down. “She’ll start meowing and being like, ‘Hey!’ She does it every day.”

But Possum is a pretty hard worker herself and has learned to do a variety of tricks! “She can high-five, she can turn, she can give me a kiss,” Myriam says. “I’m trying to teach her to go up and down. She loves it.” Possum also loves playing with Myriam; though she ignores her fancy laser toy and her cat tree, she loves playing with plain old pompoms.

“I find them all over the house,” Myriam smiles. But Possum’s favourite thing of all is having Myriam all to herself.

“She’s very exclusive, I would say,” Myriam laughs. “I live alone, but I do have a boyfriend. She, I would say, tolerates him.” When it’s just the two of them, Possum is much more comfortable. “She’s the queen of the house, and she deserves it 100 percent.”

Myriam encourages potential adopters to do their research and make sure they know what they’re getting into. “The worst thing, honestly, is when I see someone get a cat, and then it’s, ‘Oh, no, he doesn’t pee in the litterbox,’ or he’s aggressive. You need to be ready. There’s work to do.”

But is it worth it? For Myriam, absolutely. “I swear, she’s the best cat ever. That’s what I say to everyone, try to go find your match. Definitely, she was a match.”

– Aleks Kandic