Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rescue, Spay and Neuter

I have a rescued cat, Tiger, butting me with her head right now. She is purring like crazy as she sits on the arm of my chair. My first cat was a rescue.

 We lived on the farm and were newly married. When mice invaded our little abode, I tried the poison which left our sofa smelling like the county dump when the mice crawled inside and died.

"Get yourself a cat. She will take care of those mice for you," I was told.
I knew it would be no problem getting a cat. We had a dairy barn on the farm and lots of cats hung out there.

My husband, Barry, and I went hunting for a cat. In no time we found a lovely tabby kitty who was friendly. She had a short nose and long hair.

"I've always wanted a Persian cat," I said.

This ferol cat was by no means a Persian cat, but she fit the bill.
By the time we drove the short distance to our house with the new kitten in my lap, I could see the fleas on her. "We can't take her inside with all these fleas," I said."I'll have to get rid of them first."
Knowing nothing about eradicating fleas from cats, I found the only thing in my arsenal of pet care items, a box of flea powder I sometimes used on our dog.
While my husband held her, I powdered the cat until she looked like she had fallen into the flour barrel. When she had taken all the abuse from us that she could stand, she flexed her claws and my husband let her go. She ran off into the woods.

"Well, I don't know if we did any good, but hopefully, she will be free of fleas for a short while," Barry said.

A lttle while later I spied the poor kitten nearby. She had licked herself, ingesting all that flea powder I had poured on her. She was frothing at the mouth. Suddenly, I realized  I might have poisoned her.

"We have to get that flea powder off her," I cried, as I ran for a bucket to fill with water.
"You can't wash that cat, " Barry said, looking at me like I had lost my marbles.
"I have to. If I don't, she is going to die. Look at her. Look at her mouth. She is poisoned, and I did it."

Once I had filled the bucket with cold water from the outside faucet, I grabbed up the cat and plunged her as far as I could into the water. All it took was a brief minute and she turned herself wrong side out. She climbed my bare arms with her back legs and also her front. My blood ran into the water along with the white powder. I held her as long as I possibly could, but she was strong and exploded out of my hands, out of the water and out of the bucket like a  home made canon ball, wet and messy, ugly as sin.
"Well, that will definitely be the last we see of her," I said as I tried to stop the bleeding from my clawed arms. "At least if she goes back to the barn, she will not die from poisoning."

A few hours later I looked out and saw the tabby kitten lying in the sun. She had not run away. She had not left us. In spite of her terrible treatment she had decided to give us another chance.
I was a huge fan of the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's starring Audry Hepburn. In the movie she takes in a stray cat, but she never names it. She just calls it Cat. I also named my stray, Cat.
Our mouse problems did cease, but we were young and totally naive about caring for a cat. She ran loose and we did not worry about her. After all she had been raised wild and we had no traffic on the farm to endanger her.

A few months later we arrived home from vacation. While unloading our car, we heard Cat. She was howling instead of meowing, crying like some strange wild thing. I looked and there she was coming to the front door with something in her mouth. The door was closed so she dropped the bundle of fur on the porch, right in front of the door. She turned and looked at us, still howling.
"Oh, no. She has a kitten." I ran to pick up the tiny yellow/orange baby. Its eyes were still tightly closed. Barry dropped the suitcases and came to inspect our new little one. While we were oohing and aahing over the kitten, Cat appeared with another one. Then we realized she had a litter, and they were all in the hollow oak tree by the driveway.

However, Cat was determined they were moving inside with us. As soon as we returned one to the tree, she grabbed another and carried it to the door again. When we opened the door, she promptly carried a kitten inside and under the bed in our guest room. Not only had she decided she and her family were moving in, she had picked out her own room.

We learned about spaying our female cats and neutering our male cats after we had a litter of five to care for. We found homes for all but one little orange girl we named Queenie because she never stayed on the floor. She perched on a wicker stool and gazed down at her siblings as if to say, I'm not associating with those guys. I'm different, and she was. The others were short haired cats and were tabby like Cat. Queenie had the short little nose and the long hair of an ancestor. She was such a lady and so beautiful.

Both she and Cat kept themselves clean and were never a problem. Both were hunters and often brought us presents like small rabbits, squirrels, and rodents. That was a natural instinct they had in spite of the cat food I fed them every day.

Queenie was shot in her front leg and a great vet, Dr. Moree, put the hanging paw back as it was before. She wore a cast for a long time and had to stay inside all the time. To my amazement, she learned to use a litter box and even with her one good foot, she was still a clean and careful kitty.

We couldn't have loved Cat or Queenie any more if they had pedigrees a mile long. All of our cats have been rescued, except for Queenie, and we loved them dearly. Now we have a rescued dog, Rocky. I don't think I'll ever again buy a purebred dog or cat. So many unwanted puppies and kittens are born every day and so, so many are killed because there are not enough homes for them. If any of you have rescued pets, tell us about them. Why do you think a rescued dog or cat makes a good pet? How did you get your pet?

Every day I click on the animal rescue site to give help to dogs and cats like mine. Read the short piece each day on a resued pet.
All you have to do is simply click on this site and the animals who need it are fed.


BONNIE K said...

I loved this story. I have 3 rescued cats and a semi-rescued dog. We got Pepper from a guy who was moving, but he got her from the animal protective league. The employees there told him that they came in one morning and Pepper was tied by a leash to the front door, a year old. I often think who could have done this to this lovely joyous creature who is now 15 years old and brings us much joy on a daily basis.

Glenda Council Beall said...

Hi Bonnie,
thanks for your story about Pepper. It is heartbreaking to hear the stories of abandoned pets and I always wonder how anyone could do that to a member of the family. But not everyone feels the way you and I do about pets.
Thanks for stopping in and come back often.

Joan Ellen Gage said...

Oh my! I was envisioning you powdering, then dunking that cat. I can't believe it stayed!
This was quite a good story!