Two days after the emotional drop off of Mindy at the ASPCA Animal Hospital I received a call from a caretaker I very much like, Pat and Joey. Apparently an adult cat had joined their colony and he was not doing well. He was dragging his paw and had either a tumor or a hernia on his belly. We set up time the following day for me to come by and try to trap the injured cat.
I rushed to the train after work, got home, and quickly packed my trapping gear unto my rolly cart. On the way there I got a call from Pat, she was able to get the cat corralled in the basement, something that would surly make my job easier. I arrived on scene and we carefully entered the basement making sure not to let the cat out. As quickly as I could I set up my drop trap and put some food under it thinking that might be easier. When Pat called him, the cat tentatively approached us, but he seemed a bit worried. I had a transfer cage along with my drop trap and thought maybe I could just put him in it. Picking the cat up and trying to put the cat in the transfer cage understandably upset the cat so I decided to try a different approach. I picked the cat up and put him into the drop trap, much easier as it is a much larger space and less scary for the cat. From there I directed the cat into the transfer cage and loaded him up to go home.
The cat was rather unhappy being transported, meowing most of the walk home, but he wasn’t going absolutely crazy and by the time we arrived at our destination he was quietly sitting in the cage. Getting him home, I set up a playpen (Prevue Deluxe Cat House) and got him comfy and settled.
He was a lovely black male cat, intact of course, with flecks of white throughout his thick coat. Sadly I realized I already knew about this cat. The owners of Simba, a friendly cat who had been accepted into a residents basement apartment in the neighborhood, had reached out to me several months prior about a cat who had approached them on the street they wanted me to get fixed for them, the only thing was the cat had a large hernia on its belly. The cat apparently walked up to the man, rubbed around his legs, and meowed. The couple though it was a reincarnation of a cat, Blackie a.k.a. Tiny, who had passed away in their care months prior. The death of Tiny really upset me as I did not feel they had made an effort to get the cat medical attention before it passed. In a way I felt responsible for his death, for not having reported the issue when they told me he was sick weeks prior to his death. I didn’t really know how to properly handle the situation. Because of this I told them I would only be able get the cat fixed if they had the hernia resolved. I didn’t hear back from them. Now months later here was the cat, limping and still with a hernia, this time on the street. I’m not sure if they let the cat in and out of the house and thats why he had joined the colony or if they had permanently kicked the cat out. Either way I was unwilling to return the cat to that household. I named him Ralph, put some Revolution on his neck, and set him up in a playpen for the night. He ate as if he were starving to death and he didn’t know when his next meal would be available.
Kitten season was nigh and there were no spaces for Ralph in the adoption program so I made an appointment at the ASPCA Animal Hospital for the following week and set about petting Ralph and telling him how lovely he was each day. He seemed pretty content in the cage with unlimited food and a soft bed. He meowed at breakfast and dinner time along with the other voices in our house, and seemed to relax into the indoor lifestyle easily. The next Saturday I took Ralph to the Animal Hospital and he was inspected. Unfortunately, he got a little irritated at the doctor and the technician during the examination and swatted at the doctor ripping her glove, but not her hand. They decided it was best to get him in for x-rays for his leg and to make sure the hernia wasn’t already too far gone. I had no idea hernias were so dangerous! Apparently the intestines trapped in a hernia can strangulate thus cutting off the blood supply. Ralph remained at the hospital and I headed home on the train. Later that evening we got a call from the doctor letting us know she felt it would be important to operate on the hernia as soon as possible, we of course said “yes, please!” Ralph remained at the hospital until Monday evening when we picked him up.
Once home Ralph settled in like he had lived with us all his life. His original cage was occupied by kitten, so he had the whole room to him self. First he had a meal and then stretched out on the table for a light nap. I think the pain meds left him high and drowsy, but I didn’t get the impression that he minded much.
It is so wild to me the coincidences that come along with each “friendly” I pull off the street. Lyla and Ralph are two examples of fate in a good way. If I hadn’t become TNR certified I would never have even known they existed and where would the be now? How many other cats are out there in neighborhoods where their future Sarah’s are just learning about TNR? What happens when those Sarah’s don’t find out about it for one reason or another? What happens when those Sarah’s don’t walk dogs everyday, get to know their neighbors, and find out their cat is pregnant yet again? It both upsets and thrills me to think about that as I’m sure a lot of cats are left to fend for themselves, while a lot are pulled out of the deep end of life for a second chance.
A day or so later I reached out to the adoption program and he was allowed to be on the waiting list. Ralph goes to the ASPCA tomorrow to begin the process of finding his forever home. We couldn’t be happier for him. He has made himself quite at home during the wait, sleeping on the dresser at night, sprawled out full length, and roosting on any perch he can find to beg for food, which is always readily available to him, but he would like some more please.