Hey gang! I hope all you pet mommies out there had a great Mother’s Day! My four kitties and dog got me the sweetest card, though I’m pretty sure they had a little help from Dad when it came to signing it.
Anyway, as I’ve mentioned before, the reason I’ve teamed my animal blog up with the Adopt-a-human campaign is to bring awareness to all the fantastic qualities cats possess and how they can enrich anyone’s life, from any walk of life. The campaign also wants to educate people about the cat crisis happening at many shelters here and around the country. The fact is, kittens, puppies and adult dogs are all easier to adopt out than adult cats. One thing aggravating that fact is the feral cat population, something I have a good bit of knowledge about. If you’ve stopped by this site before, you may recall that our third cat Sweetie, was a feral cat living behind my old TV station when I found him. I mentioned in my first blog how it was pretty hard to tame him, but almost downright impossible to get him to our house and I promised to give you all the dishy details about that two week saga. So, here goes:
Our station was moving to a new building in June of 2004, and after spending the past three years patiently feeding and taming Sweetie, I decided there was no way I could just abandon him there. But the week before I was planning to take him home, Sweetie threw a wrench into my plans in the form of a terrible fight with another cat. He showed up late one night behind the station, limping in pain, his right paw crooked and very swollen.
At that point, I thought he’d been hit by a car and I totally freaked out. I knew I had to get him to a vet right away, even though it was about 11 at night. I ran inside and found one of my fellow animal lovers and told her what was going on. As luck would have it, she had a cat carrier and some blankets in her van, so we grabbed those and ran back outside. Now, in the best of times, Sweetie was still very skittish and cautious, even with me, and now that he was hurt, he was on high alert. He took one look at me and my friend armed with the carrier and blankets and quickly hopped off, squeezing through a small hole in a fence surrounding one side of the building. The fence stretched about forty feet long, but was only fencing in about a five foot width of grass. Sweetie was crouching about halfway between the two ends of the fence and watching us warily to see what we would do. What we did was decide our only choice was to climb that eight foot high fence and try to trap him.
A couple of our photographers were still inside the building at that time, and had one of them by chance walked out to catch the next ten minutes on video, they would have had the next You Tube sensation. Picture this; I’m still in my business suit, in a skirt, with about four inch stilettos on, and there I was, climbing shakily up that fence with a blanket clamped under one arm. My friend was at the opposite end of the fence, climbing that side with a lot more ease than I was. Or at least I thought she was until I heard this LOUD ripping sound, an ‘oh @#$@,’ then silence, then a faint ‘I’m okay!’ I heard her drop to the ground as I climbed carefully over the top of the fence, giving anyone who happened to be watching, quite the show I’m sure. Finally, my stilettos hit the ground and we were ready to rock and roll. Sweetie, however, was just ready to roll.
He sat tensely and watched as my friend (in her now completely ripped and ruined shirt,) came at him from one side with the cat carrier, and I approached him from the other with the blanket. We made it to about within three feet of him and I was just getting ready to throw the blanket over him, when he pulled a move that would make Walter Payton proud. He faked to the left, then immediately darted right, running by me before I even really knew what had happened. Fortunately, since he was injured, Sweetie’s speed was not up to par and even in my heels, I was able to catch up to him as he awkwardly climbed the fence.
I lunged at him as he crested the top of it, my hand just grazing his back legs, reaching, grasping for him, but it was too late. He slipped through my fingers, jumped to the ground and I watched in shock as he took off into the neighborhood behind the station. I navigated the fence again, no more gracefully than I did before, and spent the next 30 minutes calling his name and shaking his bag of food, but to no avail.
The next morning I called my vet and told him what happened, (he had the good grace not to laugh at my fence-climbing antics,) and he came up with a new plan for me. He gave me some cat tranquilizers and told me to keep an eye out for Sweetie. He said since it appeared I was Sweetie’s only source of cat food, he was sure Sweetie would eventually show up at the station again, even being hurt and likely traumatized from our ill-fated attack. I kept the pills in my desk over the next two days, frequently running out back between anchoring the news to look for any sign of him, (and to any of my former managers reading this, yes, I’m well aware this was not how I was supposed to be spending ‘company time,’ but come on!) I had just about given up, when late on the third day of his disappearance, my fence friend came running up to the anchor set, yelling ‘He’s here! Sweetie’s back!”
Of course he’d come back right when I was in the middle of the newscast and could NOT, under any circumstances, get up to go try to tranquilize a cat. I told me friend where the pills were and begged her to put them in his food and have the cat carrier ready to go when he finally gave in to the sedatives. She took off on her mission and for the next 30 minutes, I sat anxiously on the set, reading the news without really even comprehending it, worrying in my head that this wouldn’t work and he’d be lost forever.
Finally, the newscast done, I bolted to the back door of the station and opened it just in time to see my poor friend closing the cat carrier door on a snarling Sweetie, her arms scratched all to hell and bleeding. Turns out, even with enough sedatives to fell a big dog in him, Sweetie’s feral fight instinct was strong enough to overcome them. He was definitely woozy but still alert enough to put up quite the fight as my friend’s arms could attest.
Now, this saga doesn’t end here, not by a long shot, but I’ll save that for another day. Suffice to say, Sweetie made it through and made it home to my house, where he’s been living quite comfortably for the past six years, snoring loudly in our bed every night. As for my fence friend? I think I still owe you a drink for your troubles. And probably a new shirt.
So what are your feline adventure stories? All my fellow cat addicts at Adopt-a-human’s facebook page would love to hear about your funny, sweet, keystone cops-like dealings with your cats. Write about your antics in the comments section under today’s blog. Tell your friends too, since the more cat fans we have, the more cats we can spread the word and save cat’s lives!