I whined a lot prior to and during the move. My nerves were shot but it wasn’t just the simple act of moving which by the way is not a simple act. I’m still coming to terms with what I have to give up to downsize but this post is not about that.
My old house had a pond and it attracted all sorts of wildlife. During the fall I saw a beautiful tuxedo cat come for a drink. I didn’t think anything of it and I only saw him a few times. He was strikingly beautiful and looked very healthy. He’s mostly black but has white whiskers and socks. I assumed he was someone’s pet.
Come winter I’d still see him at the pond but on a very cold day in January I saw him eating the corn that was out for the crows and squirrels. Cats don’t eat field corn so it touched my heart (which is attached to a very weird part of my brain that makes me take action).
The first day he ran when he saw me but I put kibble out. He came back later and ate it. The next day he was checking out this new restaurant around dinnertime (for him it’s between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. depending on sunset). I put out a whole can of cat food and he ate that fast so I put out a cup of kibble. Also gone in an inkling.
He came for breakfast too. I propped the screened porch door open so he could be protected when he ate and there was a cushion for him. Before you know it he was there regularly and my bed and breakfast was open. It took six days before we went from running away to playing with a feather on a stick. He was very tame. Although he let me pet him I couldn’t get close enough to pick him up or grab him.
During normal times, I would have continued this routine until I earned his trust, then tried to bring him inside. (Yeah, yeah, I know but it’s who I am.) This wasn’t normal times. I was moving in two weeks.
I reached out to my neighborhood Facebook page hoping to find an owner. I had pictures of him to post. A rescue person responded and she agreed to trap him for me prior to my move. The thought of him coming one day and no one being there just broke my heart.
She was very efficient and he was trapped on the first try. Then we noticed that his ear was tipped. It was very subtle. That means he was trapped, neutered and returned outside. I was surprised because he is a friendly but cautious cat. He is also gorgeous. His markings are striking. I didn’t know why whoever TNR’d him wouldn’t have tried to find him a safe home.
He was very scared and didn’t eat much the first day or two. He was relying on the week of double meals he had been getting. After a vet checkup and flea treatment (yes he had fleas), he went to a foster home to get more socialization. He was still scared and it took him awhile. They were also fostering another tuxedo cat. The two cats get along really well. He still is cautious around humans (reminds me of my old cat Hazel who never warmed up to people). He allows petting and sweet talking. He loves his roommate and my fervent wish is that they get adopted together.
This all played out while I was packing, moving and overseeing Morgan’s broken leg. I couldn’t take him inside because Sasha wasn’t a fan of his. She’d smack the window when she saw him so it would take some time to introduce them. Time wasn’t on my side.
He still doesn’t interact freely with humans although he’s come a long way. The rescuer assured me that the foster is skilled with super shy cats so I’m being hopeful. If I would have had time to work with him, he would progress sooner but at this point I don’t have a dedicated cat room. I have a lot of respect for people who foster. I doubt I can do that. I fall in love too easily. At least with cats.
Author’s note: I wrote this last weekend. Since then I heard that he had two potential adopters interested in him. Both are experienced with cats so his shyness wouldn’t be an issue. Today I found out that he is going to his forever home on Sunday. I had a lot of angst over this kitty. He was such a funny cat. A part of me wished I could adopt him but another part smacked me on the side of the head and said “What are you thinking?” I am keeping my distance from all cats except my own. Oh yes, my cats would have smacked me too.