Somewhere in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was the most unusual creature anyone had ever laid eyes on. It lurked under the one place where most people safe — under the bed. It was living there for a long time it seemed, until Paul Russell from Churchill, Pennsylvania, accidentally discovered it. And when he saw it, his heart fell out of his chest.
He Had a Weird Encounter
When Paul Russell went to check on one of his distant relatives’ home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he never expected to find something as unusual as what he found. It was practically out of this world. His heart pulsed violently in his chest as he went into the house. Then he aimed his flashlight towards the bed and caught a glimpse of the growling creature before it run into the cellar. But what was it?
The Old Man Left Something Behind
His distant relative was an old man who had fallen ill in 2016, so he had to get placed in a nursing home so his kids would be able to visit him. The old man had lived in that home all alone for several years. But no one had any idea that there was a secret lurking in those walls, until Russell walked in.
It Had No Caretaker, But It Wasn’t Alone
Russell knew that the old man was a cat lover. In fact, he had a 17-year-old cat named Siam, but when they relocated the old man to a nursing home, he wasn’t able to bring him along because of their no animal policy. So, Russell went back to the old man’s house to find Siam and take him home, which is something both he and his wife has agreed on. They already had a couple of cats at home, so she had no issues adopting another cat. But soon, Russell learned that there was something else in the home with Siam.
He Shone a Light on the Creature
One of the first things Russell did was try some of the light switches, but realized he would have to check the circuit breakers in the basement to get the power back on. So, he went out to his car and grabbed a flashlight. Then he went back in the house. It was a good thing the flashlight had a string wrapped around his wrist, or he would have dropped it when he saw the creature.
There Were Claw Marks on the Wall
Russell was overwhelmed by an odd smell in the house. The interior was littered with trash. It even had boxes, some of which were full of old stuff. There was also a collection of newspapers, broken furniture and a bunch of stacked up dishes. Then he noticed that the windows were blacked out and there were scratch marks on the walls. Was something trying to claw its way out of the house?
His Imagination Started Racing
The claw marks had Russell speculating as to what could be hiding down here. Was it a rat, a wild animal, or something more sinister? Every step he took brought him closer to the truth and he couldn’t help but worry about Siam, the cat who was nowhere to be seen.
He Called the Cat
As he took a closer look at the scratches, he realized that whatever did them had torn into the wallpaper. If Siam was still alive, it wouldn’t be for long, so he called to the cat. “Here kitty, kitty.” But the feline was nowhere in sight, and yet he couldn’t leave without it, even though his instincts told him that whatever was in the house was watching him.
His Instinct Told Him to Run
As he shone the flashlight into the darkness, he noticed that the hairs on his arms were raised. Was his body trying to tell him something? He knew what his brain was telling him to do… run! But he never would have forgiven himself if he left without Siam. Was it a decision he would live to regret?
He Hoped Food Would Get Siam’s Attention
He had found Siam’s food bowl when he walked into the kitchen. He decided not to let fear get the best of him and filled the bowl with the cat food he brought. He assumed the cat would smell the food and come running, but it didn’t. Unfortunately, finding Siam in the dark wouldn’t be easy. So, he manned up and prepared to find that circuit breaker, but then he heard a sound from behind. He turned but wished he hadn’t.
A Sound Lured Him Into the Bathroom
He heard a loud screech, followed by a thumping sound in the bathroom at the end of the hallway. He felt his legs tremble as he took one difficult step after the other and cautiously opened the door. He hadn’t found anything yet, but decided to test his luck by pulling the shower curtain back.
Siam Was Hiding From Something
Russell was immediately relieved at the sight of Siam huddled in the bathtub, but it didn’t look very happy. He assumed that this was the noise he had heard and the presence he felt in the house. Then he heard the noise again, and it wasn’t coming from the bathroom, which made his body tense with terror.
He Was Afraid for His Safety
Was there an intruder in the house? Maybe someone had crawled in through an unlocked window. Russell felt bad for Siam, but he had a wife to think about. He didn’t want his life to end here. There was still so much time and so many things he wanted to do. But something inside of him refused to leave until he found the mysterious source of the noise.
The Noise Wasn’t Coming From Siam
He heard a growl coming from the room across the hall and wondered what was making that noise since Siam was right in front of him. He ruled out the intruder theory and assumed that a raccoon had somehow made its way inside the house, which explained why Siam was hiding out in the bathtub. So, he headed to the other room where the growl came from, and when he shone his flashlight on the source, he freaked.
The Creature Darted Out of the Bed
“I started searching around, and suddenly this huge creature darted out from under the bed and ran down to the cellar, and I thought, ‘What was that?’” Russell explained. Most of you would have grabbed Siam and gotten out of there, which is what he did by himself, but then he did something most of you wouldn’t do. He went back and headed into the riskiest part of the house—the basement.
He Needed a Backup Plan
Russell wasn’t the kind of guy to give into superstition, but the creature had scared the living daylights out of him. If this thing was something otherworldly, he would have to proceed with caution. But more importantly, he needed back up, which his exactly what he got.
He Brought His Wife With Him
Russell decided to have another look, but this time, he brought his wife Jill with him. They came with flashlights and traps as they cautiously made their way down into the basement. “The next day, I went into the creepy old cellar. I’m down there with a flashlight looking about— it was almost like a horror movie. And I found her hunkering in the corner…” he explained.
They Trapped the Creature
With Jill’s help, Russell was able to corner and eventually cage the mysterious creature. But his wife was dumbfounded by what they’d just caught. Russell had described the thing as a “dusty creature with glowing eyes.” She thought he was making it up, and yet it was staring right at her. They weren’t sure what it was, so they took it to someone that could give them the answers they needed.
The Vet Solved the Big Mystery
Russell and his wife had recovered from the shock by the time they arrived at the veterinarian, but they still wanted to know what kind of creature this was. He figured it was just some kind of animal no one had ever seen or heard of before. But the vet was able to figure out what it was eventually.
It Wasn’t a Monster at All
No one had figured out what it was, but it wasn’t an alien or a monster. It was a cat. The veterinarian sedated the feline, which under the circumstances was the right thing to do. They had no idea who it belonged to or of it had a name but they decided to give it one anyway.
Hidey Couldn’t Groom Herself
It was a she, and they decided to name her Hidey because her hiding skills were so impressive that everyone had forgotten about her. Over time, she became covered in her own matted fur. Ironically, she had belonged to the old man, but he just assumed Hidey had run away long ago. “Hidey was really overweight, so that makes it harder for [cats] to groom themselves, and that’s when you see matting happen,” Western PA Humane Society Senior Marketing Communications Manager Caitlin Lasky explained. Now they had to figure out what to do with her hair.
Her Hair Was Weighing Her Down
When you’re having a bad hair day, all you have to do is walk into a salon and have a stylist work his or her magic to get you all glammed up, but cats like Hidey don’t have that luxury. Without a human to take her to a groomer, there was no way she could get rid of all the excess hair which was about the weight of a small bag of rice.
It Needed a Haircut
“They hadn’t seen anything like that,” said Lasky. “Even looking online, I had a hard time finding anything similar, so it’s definitely a unique case.” In this case, there was only once course of action and that was to anesthetize Hidey and begin to cut out her matted hair.
Hidey Got a Complete Makeover
The shelter’s team explained on their Facebook page: “Our Medical team shaved off the pounds of intertwined fur from her body and, needless to say, this cat is feeling so much better now!” By the time they were done, Hidey had lost two pounds of fur. “Lots of furs. It had to be years of matting for it to get that long,” they added. But despite the cat’s new makeover, there was one thing Hidey was sorely missing—a home.
This Was Their Home
There was no way that Hidey could return to the old man, and not just because he was in a nursing home. Her owner, who was 82 at the time, suffered from Alzheimer’s and didn’t know anyone anymore, according to the Russells. So, they were left with only one choice.
Hidey Joined a Full House
Once Hidey was released from the vet, she became one of the newest members of the Russell household and she wasn’t alone. Siam also joined the family which included three other cats and two dogs. But Russell and Jill knew that it would be a while before Hidey learned to trust people after living in isolation for long. But at least she got to live in a happy environment where she wouldn’t be forgotten again. But her past trauma continued to haunt her.
She Still Hides Under the Bed
“She’s been hiding under the bed for the last couple of days,” explained Russell. “I’ve been dragging her out, and holding her, and she purrs a lot. The last couple of days, she’s climbed out from under the bed on her own and into a cat bed, I have. So she’s starting to work her way to see people more.”
Owning a Pet is a Huge Responsibility
“The companionship of a pet can bring many positive benefits to the elderly, however, owning a pet is a large responsibility,” said Dan Rossi who is the CEO of the Animal Rescue League Shelter and the Western PA Humane Society. He also made a suggestion about what to do when elderly family members own pet, so the creatures don’t end up forgotten like Hidey should something terrible happen to their human.
Don’t Turn Animals Away
“If a family member, friend or neighbor owns a pet, please help them to make sure there is a support system in place if/when mental faculties begin diminishing,” Rossi explained. “Also, open door shelters such as Animal Rescue League Shelter and the Western PA Humane Society do not turn any animal away if there are no other options for the pet.”
Hidey Has a Tough Road Ahead
Getting over a trauma isn’t easy. Hidey had a tough road ahead and so did the family, but they seemed to be doing great. “Other than being standoffish, you hold her and she starts purring,” said Russell. His wife, Jill, is also optimistic about Hidey’s recovery.
Wayward Kitty is Part of a Big Family
“In six months she’ll be running the house, and hopefully she’ll be a little trimmer,” Jill explained. It was a good thing Russell found Hidey when he did. And thanks to a haircut and a lot of love, she has managed to bounce back. Now Hidey and Siam are part of a human, canine and feline family.