One day back in June as I was making beads in my studio, I noticed a little brown tabby cat on my plant stand in the back yard. When I finished the bead I was working on I went to the window to get a better look. He was so thin and emaciated and was gobbling up hard corn scraps left behind by the squirrels I had been feeding. This just made me cry. That day I started putting a bowl of kibble out for this poor little stray cat.
He would usually come around in the afternoon and eat his kibble then sit on the plant stand, looking in through the window of my studio. On many occasions I would go out and try to talk to him but he would always run away. I even tried approaching him with food in hand, but he wanted nothing to do with me. My neighbor told me he had been living under the gazebo she had in her yard. I told her that he must have been born in the wild because I’m usually very good at being able to make friends with even the most timid of cats.Every day when Straycat would show up, I could see him gradually gaining weight and looking better. Every day he would eat my offerings of kibble and then watch me through the window of my studio as if to say thank you, but I still could not get within 20 yards of him. Then one day my neighbor told me her granddaughter’s friend told her the people that owned the cat had moved out of town months before, leaving this poor kitty to fend for him self. This broke my heart even more. Just what kind of person could do something like that? Domestic cats can live in the wild if they are forced to, but it’s never pleasant for them to be undernourished, infested with parasites, exposed to the weather and at risk of being hit by a car.
Now for the last few weeks I’ve noticed that Straycat has been living in the culvert pipe than runs under my neighbor’s driveway. This way he can see me when I come to fill his bowl and he’s there every morning and afternoon, meowing a pitiful little soft meow at me from a distance. But he would never come to eat until I had gone back in the house and all was quiet.
Well a few days ago Straycat and I had an amazing breakthrough. He was crying for his breakfast and watched as I filled his bowl and then I put it on the ground. I took a few steps back from it and just stood there very still, talking to him in a sweet voice. Finally he came slinking over and very cautiously began to eat. Every time he would turn his head away I would quietly inch closer until I got to where I could squat down and stroke his fur. With the first touch, he flinched as if I had zapped him with a tazer gun. But he didn’t run. So I continued talking to him sweetly and stroking his fur. Before he was finished with his lunch, he was rubbing all over me, doing pushy pushy with his front feet and purring up a storm! Not wanting to overdo things with our first real encounter, I turned to go back in the garage and much to my surprise, he pranced in right behind me, meowing and purring and rubbing me just begging for some more loving! The power of touch is truly amazing!
For the last few days he’s been camping out in my garage. During the day I have the door lifted about 8 inches just in case he wants to go out and stretch his legs, but he’s content to lounge in the patio chair that I put an old towel on for him. He also prefers to use the litter box I’ve provided, rather than to do his business outdoors, so I’m certain he was once an indoor cat.
Brian and I have decided to try and give this sweet little Straycat the life he deserves and we’re taking steps to make him part of our family. Saturday he has an appointment at the vet’s office where he will be tested for Feline Leukemia, Feline Aids and checked for worms. If he gets a clean bill of health I will take care of his fleas and treat him for ear mites and move him indoors to my studio. My studio is attached to my house and closed off with two sets of sliding glass doors where he and my two indoor cats can get used to seeing each other. After a while I will crack the door open just enough for them to smell each other. Then, if everything is going well and it looks like this will work, he will go back to the vet’s to get neutered and have all his shots and then we can introduce him as a permanent member of the family and come up with a better name than Straycat. Meanwhile he’s more than happy to live in the garage and soak up every bit of kindness we have to offer. So here are a few pictures of what will hopefully be our new baby.