I used to live next door to a man with many cats. Way too many cats. Most of them were feral and sickly. Seeing a few of them almost brought me to tears because of the terrible shape they were in. Every couple of a months a new litter would appear; with every crop of cats came more fighting, more illness and more mess. Thankfully, my family was able to trap many of these feral cats and have them fixed through the local Spay-Neuter-Release program. These volunteer-led efforts spay or neuter free-roaming cats at a discounted rate and then return them to the communities they call home, thus helping control feral populations. Cats who go through these programs are permanently ID’d in some way, such as ear-tipping, so that an observer can quickly tell they’ve already been altered.
Let me introduce you to some of the cats we’ve rescued over the years…..and added to the family.
Mink was a beautiful, raven-black female that we found starving and pregnant on the streets of our neighborhood. She came home to our farm and promptly gave birth 2 weeks later, much to the joy of our children and the consternation of my husband….
Mink had three baby boys. From left to right: Houdini, Cosmo and Batman. We decided to keep Houdini and he grew up with our flock of chickens, spending his nights in the warm coop and his days scuffling playfully with the birds over kitchen scraps. His brothers were adopted out through Craigslist to wonderful families.
Today, Houdini is just as handsome as ever and he still has that upside-down heart on his nose. He might just as well have been named James Cagney (one of my favorite actors) because his motto is “I don’t take nuthin’ from nobody.”
Solomon was abandoned during a local blues festival in our town. He sought shelter in a tree in our back yard and boy was I glad he picked us. Solomon (in all his glory) turned out to be one of THE best cats we have ever had the privilege of knowing. He let Catherine dress him up in doll clothes, purred with contentment while the toddlers “handled” him, and remained calm in the storm of chaos and noise that a family of 7 children often stirs up. He passed away last year at the age of 8 and was deeply mourned.
While shopping the antique stores downtown, the children and I found some tiny little kittens in very bad shape, huddled under a pile of trash. They were so young that we had to mix up kitten formula and feed it to them with syringes. But it didn’t take long for them to recoup and thrive on our farm.
Dante (the gray) is a couple of years old now, but still a big baby. He seeks out my lap constantly and likes to “make muffins” (that’s what my children call it when a cat kneads its paws up and down). Pixie (the silver Siamese) also stuck around and became a favorite of our oldest son. Corduroy (the brown Siamese mix) was adopted by my sister. He has grown to be the most impressive of all, like Aslan in his glory. My brother-in-law has nicknamed him “Dragoslav,” which he feels is more fitting for such a magnificent and awe-inspiring feline. 🙂
Now, I know this post is all about stray rescues, but I can’t leave out the Queen Bee. The very first thing I did after graduating from college and getting my own apartment was to buy a cat from PetSmart on the day that the local humane society was offering adoptions. Foxy Brown was sassy and fiery right from the start; I laughed out loud as she trounced every one of her litter mates.
Foxy is 14 years old now and the darling of my heart. I admit she is pampered more than the others, but that’s her right as the dominant female and as a “senior citizen” in cat years.
Look at this face. She knows she’s IT. The children “decorated” her with Easter eggs last Spring and Foxy bore it well with no loss of her dignity. She might as well be wearing a diamond tiara in this photo.
I’d love to hear about your pets and how they became part of your family!