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Happy Tail: Tonks (formerly Mally)

It’s fitting that Tonks was adopted into a family with a tradition of naming their cats after Harry Potter characters.

More than a bit of magic was at play in the back story of this super-sweet, super-cute, super-floof tortoiseshell, formerly called Mally, who was — coincidentally but fortuitously — found alone at a construction site in the Markham area by a trapper on-site hoping to capture an injured raccoon.

The kitten was dubbed Mally for Mally’s Third Chance Raccoon Rescue which provided care to the creature that ultimately got Mally off the streets and indoors with her forever family. But the road to adoption wasn’t without some wee bumps.

As Mally’s foster Lisette recalls in an email, when her family first got the kitten in late 2020, she was “a dream cat, friendly, affectionate, and absolutely gorgeous!  I joked that she could make the cover of Cat Fancy. I expected she would be moving on to a forever home in no time, but on a first visit to the vet, Mally was running a fever and vaccinations needed to be postponed.

“We soon got caught up in the busy times of holiday season. We did enjoy Christmas with her and of course, like all of our cats, she got her own Christmas stocking! Then another delay: post-spay, Mally got quite sick, not eating and being lethargic.  The adoption was delayed and that gave us some more time with her.  What could have been a ‘few weeks’ turned into a few months. But it was a privilege to spend so much time with her.”

Tonks first morning
Tonks Comic Short
Gabby has created a comic about Tonks

In came Gabby, a lifelong cat fancier who has COVID, of all things, to thank for finally getting a cat of her own.

“My sister Rocio is 10 years older than me. The first thing she did years ago when she moved out of the house was get these two cats, Ash and Remus, like from Harry Potter. I was obsessed because my family never let us have pets. I would go to her place as often as I could to hang out with the cats. From age eight onwards I was hanging out with these cats.”

Gabby continues, “During the pandemic, my sister got a new kitten, Kingsley. But because she was so busy as a midwife, my family took care of Kingsley. My parents fell in love with that cat. I seized the opportunity to suggest we adopt a cat. I promised to be fully responsible for it and my parents finally agreed after, like, 20 years,” Gabby laughs.

“One night I was casually talking with my sister about getting a cat. She suggested Annex Cat Rescue as she knew a volunteer there at the time, Madison, who sent me a picture of Mally. She was this tiny little fluffball. It was love at first sight.”

Gaby says it took Tonks a while after her January 2021 adoption to feel comfortable in her surroundings, or at least, surroundings beyond Gabby’s bedroom which was quickly established as Tonks’ safe place.

“She hid under my bed the first day. I spent the whole day in the room with her to get her used to my voice. She’s very into food so feeding her treats was the way into her heart. That night she crawled out and hopped on the bed. From that moment on she trusted me.

“She has an aversion to men, and to strangers, and is terrified of thunderstorms, so I’m not sure what happened when she was living the street-cat life. But she uses me as her point of reference and looks to me to see if something is safe. We are really attached.”

Kingsley also became enamoured with Tonks as Gabby’s family continued to cat-sit when Rocio was away. Indeed, the pair’s cozy friendship has been depicted by aspiring illustrator Gabby in cartoons she draws for posting on Instagram.

“When those two met, it was hilarious because Tonks just wanted to play, and Kingsley was annoyed,” Gabby recalls. “But then he became obsessed with her, and now he follows here everywhere.

“I am totally behind the idea of adopting from a rescue and always encouraging my friends to go get a cat from ACR,” Gabby adds. “And for the record, my parents adore Tonks. My grandmother just finished knitting her a sweater,” Gabby laughs. “She has everyone in this family wrapped around her paw.”

-Kim Hughes

Tonks in a birthday hat enjoying a treat
Tonks' first birthday