Timid Martha dreams of home this holiday season

Jenny Wright, manager of the Clarke County Animal Shelter in Berryville, holds Martha, a 2- to 4-year-old brown tabby found this summer at a vineyard east of Berryville. Martha is in good health but has cauliflower ears after suffering ear infections that went untreated. Josette Keelor/Daily

BERRYVILLE — The holiday rush has been good to the Clarke County Animal Shelter, sparking a boom of adoptions in the days leading up to Christmas.

“It’s mind boggling,” said Manager Jenny Wright.

Eight dogs, six kittens and an adult cat were adopted over an eight-day period, leaving shelter staff scrambling to spay and neuter the animals so they could be adopted. It’s a happy ending for those lucky 15. But others, like brown tabby Martha, are still waiting for the right home.

Martha came to the shelter on Aug. 21, when a visitor to Veramar Vineyard east of Berryville worried about the stray’s safety outdoors.

“That’s why they named me Martha,” Wright said, speaking for the timid cat in her arms, “’cause Martha has her own vineyard, too.”

With green eyes and the typical black striped markings of a brown tabby, Martha is distinctive because of her short ears.

“She does have cauliflower ears,” Wright explained. “It’s from having ear infections that were never treated.”

A condition that affects cats and dogs, cauliflower ears happen when an animal scratches enough at infected ears to cause enflamed blood vessels to break. Ears fill with blood and, if untreated, will crinkle within days as the fresh blood dries.

“This is just from somebody not caring for Martha,” Wright said.

Animals with ear infections show obvious signs of discomfort by shaking their heads or licking and scratching excessively at their ears.

“We’ve had to have the procedure done on the dogs to drain the blood, but not very many cats,” Wright said.

Martha’s hearing could be a little worse for having cauliflower ears, but Wright said sleepiness is more likely the reason Martha doesn’t always respond when called.

A “super sweet” lap cat, Martha is between 2 and 4 years old and will do best in a mellow home with quiet companionship of other mellow cats or alone with humans.

Martha is current on all vaccines except rabies, and when adopted should be checked to see if she’s been spayed, since her history is unknown.

For information on Martha, contact the Clarke County Animal Shelter at 225 Ramsburg Lane, Berryville, by calling 540-955-5104 or visiting http://tinyurl.com/n93h5lc.

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com