As you know from my last article, three of our cats went to The Rainbow Bridge between September 2015 - April 2016. Sometimes out of somethingbad comes something good. In February of this year, I started helping an elderly couple about a mile away with some feral cats in their yard. I had never worked with ferals before so this was a new experience for me, but I was glad to help.
I borrowed a trap from someone I knew that rescues then I brought it to the couple. I told them to call me when they caught a cat and I would bring him/her to the local shelter to be spayed or neutered then keep it inside to recover, then release to the same spot.
The first cat was no problem. They were actually going to try to keep her as a pet, so she stayed in their basement for a week while recovering. They ended up letting her go back outside after that time because she was so afraid. The second cat they caught was definitely a male and he looked tough. He had some fight wounds and scratches on his ears and nose.
I brought him to the shelter and they told me that because of his wounds he would need to be euthanized unless I signed a paper agreeing to keep him inside for 6 months. The reason for this is the rabies law, not knowing if a rabid animal had attacked or not. I wasn’t sure how I could manage that, but I certainly wasn’t going to let them kill this poor guy.
His surgery went well and his male odour went away after a few weeks.
My husband made it clear that he didn’t want another cat after just losing two and dealing with Spooky’s kidney disease which was a battle we were not winning. A week after he was neutered, a couple showed up at our door and wanted to see him. They had been feeding him even though he wouldn’t go near them. They had feared coyotes had got him so they were relieved to find out he was safe. They said they wanted to adopt him when the quarantine period was up. I was polite, but in my mind, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I was already in love with Daryl the feral. After they left I was overcome with emotion and started crying, then I got angry. This was my cat and I had already lost so much recently.
Daryl’s wounds ended up getting infected so I took him to our regular vet who performed surgery to remove the infection. Once we had invested $400 on this cat, I knew my husband would have a change of heart. I had to keep him contained (the cat not the husband!), so I put him in a large crate with his food, water, litter and a blanket. He actually let me pet him and didn’t lash out or anything so I knew there was hope.
Once he healed, I let him out of the cage and into the upstairs bathroom so he would have more room. He was quite vocal about the cage and his confinement which made me think he wasn’t a true feral, but stray instead.
I changed his name to Brody after that and he seemed to learn that quickly.
It took a few months to integrate him with my other cats and at times it was very frustrating. He was fearful of humans, but wanted to be with the other cats. The trouble was that most of our cats are older and didn’t want to deal with a young whippersnapper. After a month, he started to let me pet him as long as felt he was a safe distance, then he would rub against my legs. And now, 6 months later, Brody is a lap cat. He loves to sit on my lap and purrs his adorable head off.
I would have never imagined when I first adopted him that he would turn into such an amazing pet. I believe everything happens for a reason and that he was meant to be my kitty. I also believe he is here to teach me patience, something I am lacking in. I was so frustrated at first when Brody was so afraid of us and everyone kept telling me to be patient. I just wanted him to love me back, it took a while, but now he does.
I ended up bringing one more cat in for them to be fixed. Then the couple started doing it themselves and brought in 7 more. There is only one female that still needs to be spayed. I also called the couple that wanted to keep Brody and let them know that I already loved him and would be unable to give him up. They were sad, but understood.