This is the cat. He has been hanging around our neighborhood for a couple of years, dumped most likely by someone who got tired of him hanging around their neighborhood. Until the last few months, we've never had more than a glance at him. He hides in the bushes and only comes out to go from one hiding place to another. Many times he is missing patches of hair and covered in big, scabby wounds. Once he was hit by a car and limped for a month or more, but then recovered on his own. That was at a time when he wouldn't let anyone near him.
But then Maggie moved in with her female cat, and this cat began to change. He started sleeping on Maggie's porch, eating her cat's food, and even let Maggie pet his head. Maggie didn't want him hanging around her house and shooed him away every day, so he still roamed the neighborhood, getting in fights with both dogs and cats. But we started leaving out food also, and eventually, he let us pet his head too. I didn't want him either, but there didn't seem to be any way to get him to go away, so we just decided to let him be.
Doesn't he look nice? He's not. He can be, but he can also go from purring to slashing in a second. Whoever feeds or pets him has to have really fast reflexes to avoid the claws. He also sprays - the house, the shrubs, the patio furniture. Everything. That was the last straw for me. I decided that if he was going to stick around, he had to be fixed.
He is not an adoptable cat because of this aggressive behavior, so we wouldn't take him to the SPCA even if we could catch him, which we can't. We've tried. He is very wary of cages; in fact, he is wary of everything. Any sudden move or noise and he takes off like a shot. He did come in the house one time (there was food involved), and he was fine until I closed the door.
The neighbors across the street call him Tom, not because he is a tom cat, but from the cartoon Tom.
Not that he cares what anyone calls him; he doesn't come to any of those names. He comes to KittyKittyKittyKittyKitty using a hyena-like voice. That means food. He comes to food and nothing else.
He's really a pretty worthless cat. Won't catch rats, mice, or birds. I saw him watch a rabbit hop by him and while he looked with interest, he didn't move. He doesn't play with leaves, or strings, or crickets, or any of the things other cats normally chase. He's just lazy. I don't know how he survived so long on his own until we started feeding him. He was much thinner then too.
So, that brings me to Operation: Cat
I called the vet last week, told him of our failure to catch said cat, and asked for Plan B. This vet always has a Plan B. This is the plan.
Today, at 1700, I pick up a cat tranquilizer from the vet.
Tomorrow, at 0700, I start the kitty call.
At 0800, I crush the pill and mix it with a teaspoon of tuna.
At 0805, I pet the cat (so he won't leave) until he falls asleep.
At 0900, I slip the unconscious cat into a pet carrier and take him to the vet.
At 1100, the vet gives him a rabies shot, and a quick snip, snip.
At 1400, I pick up the cat and take him home and get him out of the carrier before he awakes.
At 1500, the cat stops spraying and starts singing soprano.
The success of Plan B hinges on the reliability of a stray cat to show up in the morning.
Wish us luck.
Until next time, may you have blessings and sweet kitties,
(Part Two of this story here.)