You may remember that Paul arrived in rescue a few weeks ago grubby and miserable and scared.
He made some slow but positive progress here ….. however with all the other cats to care for we didn’t have the time to spend with him to properly grow his confidence. We wondered if he might need to look for an outdoor / farm kind of home. The young woman who had been feeding him before he came into rescue had felt he really wanted to be friends, but was just very shy. I could see what she meant …. there was a real sense of a lovely character inside that hissy, grubby jacket.
So then there’s a dilemma:
A: Try to move him on as quickly as possible and have an outdoor home. There are some lovely outdoor homes as you’ll know if you’ve followed the story of Tab and Mowse. Difficult to hope we could find anything near so good as we did for them though.
B: Keep him here, moving desperately slowly towards being a timid house cat. He seemed quite settled and not in any rush to get back outdoors so that perhaps wasn’t too bad (unlike Ozzy who is banging on his bedroom door, desperate to be out). However it’s kitten season …. and not to put too fine a point on it …. Paul was bed blocking. Obviously we love him and care for him and want the best …… but there are mums and kittens struggling for their lives outside … and we can’t take them because Paul has the room.
Rescue is too often like a real life game of Lifeboat.
We dared to hope for option C …… which was to find Paul a foster home where he could have time with people, and grown his confidence ready for a purrmanent home …. and we could then free up space here for other cats/kittens. It was a big ask, given how Paul was at that stage .. but amazingly ….. Mikey’s adoptive parents stepped up. I could have cried when I got their email asking if I thought they might be a suitable foster home. YES YES YES! Having seen how they’d welcomed a rather anxious Mikey into their home a short while before, I couldn’t think of anyone more suitable for the challenge.
It’s been a complete delight to get updates about him and see him getting cleaner, happier and more confident as the days go by. He gradually dared to emerge from his cave and to not need to run for cover the moment anyone moved. Then he’d approach his foster family for food and treats … now he comes to them just because he wants to come to them. He’s also having a boost to his education as he listens to one of his teenagers quoting Shakespeare to him in preparation for impending exams.
So we had Paul’s room free and set about the next priority of trapping Stanlie. Stanlie is a stray who camps around our estate. We’ve been feeding him for a while and his trust in us (and our neighbour) has grown gradually over the last few months. He spends a lot of time sitting in our neighbour’s garden trying to fathom out my shift patterns … and as he’s got more confident, complaining loudly at me when I get back late.
Sometimes Stanlie seems to be in quite a bit of discomfort when he walks, other times he’s fine. He’s not confident enough for us to pick him up so would need trapping to come inside. That’s going to freak him out a bit I think. The weather is warm, he’s found a decent way of getting by. Should I try to trap him now and keep him indoors at least whilst he’s neutered and vaccinated. Is it fair to keep him locked up? Then again …. is it fair to risk him being on the loose and not neutered? I can sense he’ll be another Paul … wanting to be friends but struggling. Do I then keep him prisoner, or release him back to his previous life .. but no longer trusting me because of what I did. Having gone around in circles deciding what to do …. I took a rare decision to prioritise ME! I have the six residents with their various needs and squabbles, we’ve had Mathilde & Mollie needing hand rear help and lots of attention, and Ozzy who is adorable but completely fed up and crying in his bedroom (next to mine) a lot of the night because he’s lonely. I can’t let him out because that will inflame arguments amongst the rest of them. One way and another I’ve not had a decent nights sleep since Oz arrived a couple of months ago. The thought of Stanlie kicking off in a similar way in the bedroom on the other side of mine was just too much. I still have to be up in a morning for the day job.
The outcome of this dilemma was that because I didn’t trap Stanlie, I did in effect have a spare room. So when someone messaged me whilst I was at work on Tuesday to say that a cat had just had four kittens in her outhouse ….. Well if you know me you can probably guess.
Back to the Lifeboat game … she may have survived without rescue but her kits most certainly wouldn’t have. If she did survive she’d be pregnant again in no time. Stanlie hopefully will cope for a few more weeks. Right now … her room will be quiet because she’s focused on snuggling with and caring for her tiny kits.
Current dilemmas are more mundane. Is Hecate an acceptable name for a black cat … or will the witchy connotations put adopters off? Is it safe or acceptable to use tiny collars for her kits … just so we know who is who among the apparently identical quads?