The other day, we came home to find a blackish cat sitting on top of the cage we live in the barn door. The cage allows the cats to get in and out, but not the chickens. At first, we thought it was one of ours, but then realized it was a long haired cat, and we have all short hairs. As we approached it, it ran into the barn. We were never going to find it there. The barn is filled with too many places to hide.
The next day, we saw it again. This time, it ran under the barn. We certainly weren’t going to get it there. Hmmm….We weren’t too concerned until the next day when we saw it up a little closer. It’s back legs were missing quite a bit of fur. The first thing we thought of was mange. Eeek! We knew we had to lure it in closer to get a better look.
Into the third day, we decided that bringing the food dish up close to the house would help. Perhaps we could catch it. I sat outside on the step, for what seemed like forever. It finally appeared. I spoke to it softly, and gently. It meowed back! I was getting somewhere. We had about a twenty minute conversation, and it finally came up to the food bowl…just about two feet away. At this point, I knew it could not be a feral cat, as feral cats don’t usually get this close to a human. We got out the cat carrier, staged it for cat entry, and proceeded.
Realizing that food was the sole motivation of this cat, I got out the big guns. Yes, the can of tuna. With just a little in the bowl, I knew it couldn’t resist. Armed with thick leather coat, and leather gloves, I sat there as it ate. I talked softly, and the tuna was devoured. Poor thing ate like it hadn’t had a meal in weeks. I sat still, knowing that if I moved it would run off. I waited until it came back to lick the bowl, and I gently reached over, scooped it up, and placed it in the cat carrier. No scratching, biting, or hissing. So bony thin it was. The leather coat of protection hadn’t been necessary.
Into the car, and off to the vet we went. It wasn’t happy to be in the cage, but soon settled down, and meowed through the whole trip. We had a great conversation, though neither of us knew what the other said. We talked about names, and decided on Boo Radley. Boo Radley is the guy in “To Kill A Mockingbird” that creeps around in the night. We thought this would be an appropriate name. I tried to keep my excitement down. I didn’t even know if this cat was going to make it. Even so, it would need a name.
We arrived at the vet, and found out “it” was a female. Well, there goes the name of Boo Radley. A new name would have to be thought of.
He checked her all over, and did some blood work. He wanted to check for feline HIV, and feline leukaemia. We waited for the results. Tick, tock, tick tock. Why does time always seem to pass by so slowly when one is waiting on test results?
The vet stepped back into the room. Although she had some worms, the blood tests all came back negative. He said the missing fur was due to fleas. It was not mange, as I had feared. Yay! She was going to be fine. He gave her a rabies and distemper vaccine, and we were off. She was to be put on kitten food to “fatten her up”, and a check up in a month would be all she needed…from the vet anyway. We knew she needed lots of love and attention from us. While we were checking out at the vets, the lady told us that if we didn’t name her, “stray” is what would appear on her rabies certificate. We couldn’t have that. We have named all our cats after old movie stars, or old movie characters, and we had to continue the tradition. Hmmm….We thought for just a couple of minutes, and Hattie McDaniel popped into my head. So, we went into the vet with “stray”, and came out with Hattie McDaniel.