This is a story about a cat I called Lucky. At the time I did not realize how wrong I would be about choosing that name and also how right I would be.
It started on a Saturday Night, October 8, 2005. Our neighbor across the street, Doug, called and said there was an injured kitten under my wife’s car and it was hissing when he tried to get close. Of course, the last thing we needed was another cat (we had six then) but we couldn’t leave it there.
I went outside and tried to coax the kitten out from under the car but she was not going to budge. I didn’t know the sex of the kitten at the time but we found out later it was a female. Her front paw looked broken and she had a hard time moving. She hissed at me a few times, probably because she was scared, but she never tried to bite me.
I put some dry food near her and she ate it all, so I gave her some wet food and a little water. She was very hungry and thirsty. Since I couldn’t get her out from under the car, I decided to move the car. I very carefully backed it up while Rose and her son’s girlfriend watched for any movement. Rose threw a towel over her as soon as the car was clear and we very carefully moved her to the garage.
We got her into the garage and put her on a couple of towels. That’s when we noticed a chunk of skin about the size of a quarter, maybe bigger, missing from her hind quarter. She also had cuts on one of her ears and it looked like her jaw was slightly out of alignment. We suspected right away, but we knew then, that a car hit her.
Rose put some antibacterial ointment on her wounds and we moved her near the door and made a make-shift barricade around her so she wouldn’t hurt herself further in the garage. I gave her some food and water and checked on her a few times before we went to bed.
At the time we were raising two boys and six cats and did not have money to spare so a large vet bill for a stray cat was not in our budget. Because of that, we decided to bring her to the SPCA in New Port Richey, Florida, which opened at noon the next day. We got there when they opened and they turned us away before we even got to the door. They said they had no vet on duty and they were full. Vet or no vet, full or not full, they were still in a better position to help an injured cat than I was and should have done something. Since then I have not been a fan of the SPCA, even though I know I shouldn’t judge because of one incident.
Rose was very upset and said to the person at the SPCA, “What are we supposed to do, put him back on the side of the road?” They did give us a list of vets in the area and I called a place called Little Animal Hospital, which was named that because they were on Little Road. They told us to bring the cat in, which we did.
When we got there they took the cat in the back while we waited in the front. We noticed there was a big window showing a room full of cats that needed to be adopted. It was nice to know that they cared enough to do that. A few minutes later we were called to the back where we spoke to the vet.
She told us her foot was broken and would need to be amputated. There was also unknown internal injuries. We didn’t even ask about the cost because we knew that the surgery, combined with all the other rehabilitation costs, as well as the costs of getting her spayed and immunized would be way more than we could afford. Our other choice was to have her put to sleep. I didn’t like that idea but there seemed to be no other choice so we agreed to that, paid the $73 bill and left feeling horrible.
On the way home I told Rose we made a mistake. This little kitten needed us to save her and we failed. We should have arranged to make payments or something. Rose agreed with me but it was too late.
Around the same time, Rose’s Mom was looking to adopt a cat so Rose told her about the cats at the vet’s office that were for adoption. She found a Maine Coon cat there that she adopted and named Monkey.
She also came back with a story that we were very happy to hear. Our little girl lucky was not Euthanized. The vet decided to try to save her. They did not amputate her paw either. She did require a lot of rehabilitation. Just using the litter box required human help for many weeks until she healed. I do not know what happened to her after that but I was very glad that the story had a happy ending.
My son recently moved into an apartment with a female roommate that is not his girlfriend (further Stymieing my desire to have a grandchild). His roommate recently got a black kitten that she named Binx after the cat from the movie Hocus Pocus. When he told me about the kitten I asked where he was but he didn’t know. “He’s around somewhere,” I was told.
We talked for a few minutes and then the kitten showed up. I was amazed at how small the kitten was and I asked if he was old enough for adoption. “He is almost eight weeks old,” Chris told me (My son, coincidentally, is also named Chris). He said his littermates were twice as big as him.
I suppose he is right about his age because he gets around very well. He uses the litter box and goes up and down the stairs with no problem. I will be interested to see how big this little fellow gets.
Recently, friends of ours lost both their cats not too far apart from each other. After a short break, they decided to adopt a kitten named Carter. A couple of weekends ago they went away and needed a cat sitter. My wife immediately volunteered, even though she was going to be out of town, at least for the first visit. That meant it was my job to take care of the little fellow.
It turns out Carter is a very affectionate kitten with a loud purr and it was a pleasure to spend a little time with him.
He seemed to take to me like he knew me his entire life.
Very few cats can be so intimate with a stranger. It is one of the appealing qualities Chris had that made me want to adopt him.
How common is this? Do you have a cat that likes strangers?
The stray cat and her kittens have become somewhat regulars at our house recently although their visits are still somewhat unpredictable. They seem to come between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m but some days I don’t see them and some days I do. When I do see them, sometimes it is just the mother. Other times there is one or both kittens with her.
I have learned that the mother is not feral and is actually quite friendly. The other day she even rolled upside down on top of my foot and let me rub her belly. It was very brief but It amazed me at how quickly she learned to trust me. She still hisses at me sometimes but that is usually when I come out with food. I think maybe she is not sure who I am at first.
I noticed one of the kittens has a darker face than the other. That one is shy but he does take risks while the lighter faced kitten stays in the shadows. The lighter faced kitten has a hint of tabby marking which makes her, or him, somewhat unique.
Below are a video and some pictures that I took Thursday morning. The kittens were here at 5:30 in the morning eating and then I noticed them an hour later playing on the other side of the house while the mom lied in the grass watching. Our cats watched too. They seemed just as comfortable at our neighbor’s house than at ours.
Notice the tabby stripes?
I wonder how the planter got knocked over.
I was late for work when this playing was going on which is wy the video is so brief but my wife says she was quite entertained watching them play for a while after I left.
This morning I was able to get another video that shows how friendly the mom is and I captured a funny moment when one of the kittens was torn between fear and hunger.
My wife talked to a person at the TNVR place and he said they only trap on the weekend and put us down for next weekend so cross your fingers that everything goes well. I just fear that we will catch one or two but not all three and that would leave that kitten alone and scared.
I found a video from January when Chris had gotten into the cabinet above the refrigerator. Floki was determined to get in there too and almost fell in the attempt. This video was much longer but I cut the middle part out. That part was just Chris not wanting to come out so Floki could go in . . . and sit on the crock pot. I guess for a cat, that’s entertaining. I know it was for me.
I was looking through the archives and found this picture of Chris from a couple of days after we adopted him. He was still a kitten then at about six months old. In the picture, you can see Abbey, who was always good to Chris even though Chris annoyed her.
We don’t know when his exact birthday is but, if I remember the story correctly, Floki, his brother and one or more kittens from another litter were found in a box in a Walmart parking lot on Memorial Day last year. I subtracted his estimated age when we adopted him on the Fourth of July and came up with April 18.
I thought I would show some highlights from the past year.
Below is the picture my sister-in-law sent us to let us know she had kittens available. We don’t know for sure if this is Floki or his brother.
This is the first known picture of Floki at the vet where we came to see him and other kittens.
This was one of his competitors.
Here he is with his brother and another cat. We wanted to take them all.
Here is Chris meeting Floki. This went better then when he met Frankie.
Below is our first vet visit.
Chris shows him who’s boss.
Floki takes to the cat tunnel.
And he turns out to be a daredevil.
He makes friends.
And discovers new heights.
All while finding his place in the group and in our hearts.