Monday, November 30, 2009

The Cat Who Would Not Leave

Someone obviously dumped him, and another cat, out here in the middle of nowhere. Both cats found their way to this farm over a year ago.  Upon their discovery we immediately started feeding them outside. They lived in the many connecting barns and we left other treats for them to snack on until I was sure I could capture them and get them directly to the local vet.  Both cats were skinny, dirty and looked typically feral, so I needed to be guaranteed that they would be free of feline aids and other diseases before incorporating them into the household with an older, disabled, inside cat. And do it before harsh winter weather set in.  With 2 traps set up, it took a week to trap the orange boy and somehow in that same time period the black cat dissapeared and was never seen again.  Surprisingly, the vet discovered the orange boy was already neutered and declawed.   His blood tests came back negative, so he was vaccinated and wormed.  I brought him back to the farm and brought him directly into the large old farm house to start his new life. He had the good fortune to already have sniffed the resident dog and cat thru the thick screens on the front doors all summer, so I hoped all would go well.      And it has.

It took a few weeks for the Orange Prince to find all the rooms and secret hidding places in this ancient old farmhouse and he was initially a bit uneasy with the quick movements of the farm dog.  He has his own idioscycracies: such as refusing to use any litterbox at any time, no matter how desperate he may be.  He insisits on going outside at 5 am each and every day and returning several times per day to eat and then go immediately back outside.
I found myself being a doorman to his constant in and out needs.  If it was raining he would refuse to go out the front door, wanting to exit by the back door that goes directly into the barn instead.  A very smart cat.  When he would return in the evening he would eat and then go immediately upstairs to the most comfortable bed in the house and curl up to nap until 4:59am the next morning.    His personal grooming was non existant, yet he would not let me close enough to brush him.   From any window in this house, he could be seen prowling the several hundred acres here morning, noon and just before dusk. Ranging far and wide. He stuck out like a fireball, and I prayed the local coyotes and foxes would not notice.
A year later, after 3 trips to the vet to get him updated on vaccines and worming, he has improved his personal grooming habits, gained 2 pounds, jumps in my lap when I am on the computer and snuggles up with me for his night time sleep.   Getting him adjusted to daylight savings time has been an ongoing struggle.    "Murphy" as he is now called, is independant, entertaining and one of the 2 dominant personlaities in this household.  He obviously has decided to stay.

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