In November, a cat was facing extermination. Let me tell you his story.
He was an owner-surrender to a kill shelter in Antioch. He was in a cage in the room with the feral cats waiting to be put down. 4 years old. Neutered male. Long hair. Blue eyes. He had gone from being in a home, where he lived in fear -- but he had learned to survive. (We know he was abused because he still ducks and still gets frightened. Ignore that history.)
A woman who rescues ferals and has a colony (they live in her yard, shots, neutered, fed, shelter), and who often fails to let them be ferals, has a over-stocked house, was picking up a couple of ferals to join her pack. By accident, this kitty was placed in that pick up. The very day he was to die! When she got him home, she saw - this wasn't a feral. This cat would not survive outdoors. He was neutered because it's the first thing the shelter does. That's all the info we had. She posted a photo on-line hunting for a foster home - EMERGENCY! A round-eyed, terrified, beautiful cat. Now, bear in mind she lives 500 miles NORTH of me.
A friend of mine spotted this cat, and tagged me on Facebook. I wrote back - if you can get him to me, I'll take him. 500 mile driving is something that is getting too hard on me.
Well, the feral colony lady offered to baby-sit him. My son was driving down for Christmas. One month. I had daily updates. I renamed him "Sir Thomas". Thomas was bonding with his foster mom and had been moved from a cage in the garage to living in the laundry room. No windows. And during the month I got updates, videos. Thomas is a love bug. He purrs, He talks (a little). He allows petting. He likes food.
What you are missing - I was looking for a FEMALE, SHORT-HAIRED, ORANGE TABBY KITTEN. Ranger had crossed the bridge after 19 years. I wanted an all-female household. HA!
So, come transport day, the friend who had tagged me picked up Thomas in a travel cage (lent for the occasion) and drove him to my son. (First 50 miles of his trip).
Thomas was terrified and protecting himself. He tried to rip my son's hand off when he tried to put food in the cage. They left him overnight by a window in his cage. There was a SMALL litter pan. food and water.
Let me explain about Thomas. He is not a little tabby cat. He is 16.9 pounds. Hefty. Big. Long-haired. You do not mess with a big cat. He hisses, he WILL swipe. He has BIG PAWS. Cute white paws but they are HUGE. They tucked him into the back seat of an extended cab Tacoma and hauled him down. First thing, they carried him in in his cage. I had Summer's pink travel cage set up. I had a bed. I had a throw rug, soft. I had litter pan, water dish, food.
We knew we had to get him out of the cage so it could be returned. We figured, set the cage down, open it and flee.
Nope. We opened the door and he left that cage like a shot, tore ass around this LARGE upstairs office checking shelves and places to hide, found one. OK. Solves that problem. We left him alone.
Eyes round as saucers. High adrenaline. Strange location. Pissed.
That was Dec 23. Since then, I got him into his carrier (bigger than the carrier for Summer - half his size). He has been to the vet. Took 2 months for me to feel I could pick him up. I still don't. He had been calming down - but the vet trip pissed him off and he was mad at me for 12 hours. (Well, how do you like getting shots and having a thermometer shoved up....? His heartbeat was 200 - terrified.)
He's not fat. He is BIG.
He spent 2 months hiding in the cage (I lifted the drape for a photo) whenever he heard me coming, or hiding on a shelf, or hiding on the window sill behind a box, hissing. He played the FREEZE game. I'd see a tail and part of a leg and he DID NOT MOVE. He hissed for the first week. And once in a while after.
1995 box of software - I am still clearing the office.....He's on a bottom shelf - he has 3 locations in the room - I played Hunt for Thomas when I went in the room. He'd find a new place, I'd find him. Pissed him off. Mommy wins.
FINALLY - after many feedings of Temptation Treats, he allowed me to pet him.
It is now March. I added the master bedroom to his area. Two big rooms. He has taken over the bed. He plays and races around the rooms while I am downstairs. Those are BIG kitty feet. I get kissed by a raspy tongue, ordered to deliver treats, and am allowed to hug him and pet him and cuddle them as long as his feet are on the cat tree top shelf. It took a week after I opened the French door into the bedroom. (He will still trot in the room and dive under the bed - I have gotten down and shown him that I can still see him down there.....
I now sleep with a cat. A big cat. On his terms. He has let me know he isn't fond of me watching TV or reading in bed. He prefers the TV off and the light out and THEN he leaps up on the mattress.
He and Summer are in the trilling stages of getting acquainted. Summer is the one who hissed and who raised a paw. She is in charge. She's half his size! Anyway - they are scoping each other out. Time to shut them up together. Thomas is scoping out the fact that there are more doors he has yet to get through. He and the beagles have touched noses and that was enough. He ignores them. They (except for trying to get to his food dish) ignore him.
Thomas on the bed with me - looking in the mirror - he is casually flopped.
He refused to get on the bed last night because--- I ran in and hugged the crap out of him yesterday. I must pay a price! (He is getting used to my arms around him and my chin above him, and my nose in his fur, and my petting his chin and ears and stroking his back.)
At night, he has discovered I have feet and he plays whack a mole.
WHAP! While I was reading in bed and laughing.
I was up late - reading. After typing and working on taxes ALL DAY LONG...I wanted to SLEEP IN!
Sir Thomas wanted me UP! He "talked to me" for an hour! He is perfectly comfortable marching around the bed and complaining loudly. No more tiny squeaky meow.
When a big cat cries at you to get up and get it treats---- but then he got quiet. Oh good!
And then someone's yapping dog went off in front of the house. This alerted my built-in beagle alarm system - SUKY - who - still in her carrier --- had like GRACE ---remained silent so far. You cannot sleep through a beagle barking 4 feet from your bed. Grace does the household barking to order up food, treats, in and out, car rides, etc. Suky is the guard dog. Division of labor.
Thomas has taken over from Summer in getting me up. Or down.
Who needs ADT? I don't. I forgot to set it.
It was only 7:45 (which is 6:45 - right?)
Yes --- the big kitty got his treats - after I grabbed him in my arms (his feet still on the cat tree) and hugged and petted him. He tolerated it better. He's pretty cute sitting there having his head rubbed. Probably thinking of ways to get even.
He does love chin scratches. And he has rubbed every piece of furniture and me as well - marking us - he owns everything.
You are loved cat! Get used to it!