I feed the stray cats who live in my neighborhood. Every morning the cats know to come over to my front porch for breakfast. That way I keep track of who is a new stray cat and how the regular strays are doing in all sorts of weather. Some of the cats are true ferals and only eat at night or when they think no one can see them. Some cats belong to neighbors who think cats in busy suburban neigborhoods are perfectly safe being outside all the time. Generally these cats are fixed and have collars and know where they live. And then there was one cat who either had no owners or very neglectful owners who never bothered to get him fixed and then let him out to run around in the neighborhood.
So I have been keeping an eye on this cat. He has been running around with a cat called Elvis. Elvis is the character of the neighborhood. He trips people, jumps up on legs and twines around ankles being as cute as possible. But show him too much attention and you will get clawed. Recently, Elvis has been hanging out with a small orange tiger stripe cat. Very friendly, very sweet, very hungry and very male. This lasted for about 3 weeks with Elvis showing the younger cat the ropes of being outdoors. But it couldn't last forever. Elvis started striking out at junior as the younger cat matured and I made a mental note to get ready to pull junior to safety.
That meant getting out the cat carrier, making sure it had a towel in it and everything was stowed in the car for a quick drive to the local FOHA vet. It also meant taking the initiative and talking with the intake officer of FOHA about helping this poor little guy. I also talked with the medical officer who knows about every vet in the area and has all of them on speed dial and email contacts. (I mean, doesn't everybody have their vets on quick call? If you are rescue, this is standard operating procedure because when things go wrong in rescue they go wrong very fast and you need to be able to get help as fast as possible.)
But I am happy to relate that things went very, very well today. I scooped up Elvis (while putting out the breakfast in my 'jammies). He was trying to beat up junior. And I told him 'no.' Then I ran upstairs to get dressed and headed to the car. Naturally, junior was no where to be found, but I heard the squirrels hissing at something and looked down at the base of their tree. And there was junior.
"Little man," I called to him. "Come over here." And he did because he knew everytime I called to him before he would get hugs, protection, love and food. All powerful motivators. Building trust is essential in what I do. It takes longer to rescue building trust but it makes for a much better relationship between the cat and the human going forward. So once the cat came over I gave him a hug and then just held him close and got into the car closing the door and putting him into the cat carrier.
Job almost done because then I needed to call the medical officer to make the date for me at the vets and then needed to drive out there. Once I was there, junior and I figured out his name from one of the other dogs named Murphy who was there for an early morning appointment. Seeing as it was St. Patrick's Day, junior became Patrick Murphy which really seems to suit an orange tiger striped yearling who weighs all of 7 pounds 5 ounces.
All that remains after I dropped him off at the FOHA isolation room to wait for his neutering operation is to locate Elvis's owners address so that I can tell the medical and intake officers just in case Pat the Cat actually has owners even if they were careless with him. And then tell the Fairfax County Shelter exactly where I first saw him and where I think he might have lived considering who he was associating with. So tonight I get to amble down the street and make a note of the street address to email to the officers at FOHA. And if he doesn't belong to them and isn't claimed in 60 days by anyone else in this area then he belongs to FOHA and can be adopted out.
Until we neuter the owners and save the animals may all beings know peace