Cats Just Know

My neighborhood has a lot of street cats.  Infuriatingly, the sheriff at the end of the street is the one who has a large colony.  So while his employer tries to get it into everyone’s head that you’re supposed to spay and neuter your cats to avoid overpopulation, he can’t be fucking bothered.  So a couple times each year, there’s a new batch of kittens and some survive to adults and others, who knows.

These cats have a pretty big patrol area.  Some come into my yard and piss off my two.  Sometimes there’s even screaming matches in the middle of the night that I have to go out and break up.  So usually when I see one of these assholes, I’m pretty hostile and scare it off.  I know most of the repeat offenders.

But last night, there was a new face in my driveway.  And oddly, she didn’t dash away when I stopped and got out.  So I got down and called her.  To my surprise, she cautiously came over and was immediately friendly.  So she’s probably a neighbor’s cat, but not one I’d ever seen before, and I know the nearby cats, who are generally friendly to me, if not to my cats.

But this new one was thin.  Bony.  And she had obvious battle marks with some lost fur around her head and neck.  Since I had just come back from the store, I pulled out a serving of wet food and offered it to her.  It was gobbled up with no hesitation.  Well, if she’s homeless, she knows where food is now.  I left her outside and went in for the night.

This morning, I didn’t see her out, but when I returned from lunch, I spotted her watching me from behind the neighbors tree.  I sat down and again she came right over.  Now in the daylight, I could see she wasn’t in very good shape.  Her fur was dry and dirty and bare around her back legs.  She was thinner than I thought, also.  But she is a fully black cat, and they say black is a minimizing color, so…

I gave her a quick once-over and when I found she was declawed in front, that sort of made up my mind.  She can’t stay outside, being defenseless.  It’s not surprising that she was on the losing end of fights.  This was probably an inside cat that had been abandoned.  So I began the process of rescue as best as I understood.  It’ll be a couple of days to schedule a vet visit, which is fine since that will give her time to get her acclimated to this place.  She wasn’t scared being moved into the garage, and she voluntarily stayed in there all day.  Food and water were greatly appreciated (especially the water) and she now has a towel and a chair to lie on.  I’ve set up a litter box and will have to see if she’s willing to use it.

I guess she knew from the start this was the place to be.  She’s ok with being held, has no problems with being on a lap, gives headbutts and drools out of happiness.  She’s already started grooming herself, which bodes well for her mental state.

The bigger unknown lying ahead is the integration into the house with the other two.  I’m trying to ease that pain by letting my two cats smell my hands every time I come back in the house.  The two are very interested in the smells and don’t seem to be upset by them, so I’m cautiously optimistic.  If I can keep this up for a week or so, and maybe swap towels to get more scent exchange, there may be a chance.  But the next step at the moment is getting the new one to the vet for evaluation.  Who knows, maybe she’s chipped and lost.

Saving a black cat just before Halloween season.  Of course.


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