Ladysmith’s Forrest Field is home turf for several community sports teams like Mid-Isle Soccer, and the Ladysmith Steelers, but it is also one of the many homes of Chewy, the ‘Turf Kitty’.
Chewy’s former owner spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern of online abuse directed toward them and their family.
Chewy was born seven years ago, and grew up at a home not far from Forrest Field. Chewy was the only cat from his litter who was not adopted. His former owner still has his mother, Miley.
Ever since he was big enough to venture out on his own, Chewy has been an adventurous cat.
“He always goes to peoples’ houses. No one knew what his name was, so he’s had different names – Tuxedo, or Turf Kitty. There was another lady who thought she adopted him. She had him neutered and everything. She called him Woody. Then he decided to come home, and she realized he wasn’t a stray cat,” Chewy’s former owner said.
One time Chewy was even found sleeping under a child’s bed.
“I’ve gotten pictures of him going into people’s cars at the turf and going down for a ride to Tim Horton’s on their dash. Everyone knows this cat, and he loves the turf.”
Because of his near constant presence at the turf field, and die-hard support of Ladysmith sports teams, Chewy was adopted as the mascot for Mid-Isle Soccer. A costume of Chewy’s likeness was made, and is known as Turf Kitty or TK #9.
“He’s become quite famous for being at the field. Everyone knows him, everyone feeds him, and everyone thinks he’s their cat. But he’s not, he has a home.”
Chewy’s former owner moved away from Forrest Field to live in south Ladysmith around five years ago. Despite the large distance between his new home and his beloved turf, Chewy would regularly roam all the way back to Forrest Field. Chewy would be gone from home for days at a time as he returned to the turf.
“Chewy is not an inside cat. He will not stay indoors. He will cry, he will scratch, he will get mean because he wants out,” his former owner said. “I brought him back from the field about eight times, then I finally I realized this cat was never going to stay here.”
To protect Chewy from dangers posed by his long walks, Chewy’s former owner contacted their old neighbours and found a ‘foster mom’ to take care of him. Although Chewy has a family that takes care of him, many people within the community assume he is a stray because of his somewhat rough appearance.
One of the main concerns about Chewy is his ‘goopy’ eyes. Chewy suffers from feline ocular herpes, which can be managed through medication, but never completely cured. Feline ocular herpes cannot be transferred to humans or dogs.
Chewy was taken to the vet regularly by his former owner, and is taken regularly by his foster mom – his next appointment is in late September.
He gets medicated eye drops to manage his herpes, however public concern for Chewy’s well-being has resulted in people feeding him or taking him home with them. This prevents Chewy from returning home to receive his medication as often as he needs to.
Rumours have swirled that Chewy was abandoned by his owners due to his condition. People have regularly accused his owners on social media of neglect, and abuse. The negative comments have taken their toll on both Chewy’s former owner, and his foster mom.
His former owner wants the community to know that Chewy is well taken care of, well loved, and that there is no need to worry about Chewy’s well being.
“He’s loved. He’s loved by many people. Don’t take him away from his home.”
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