If there is an underground kitty network, my house must be one of their approved respites. If you need a place to find food or shelter, there is a safe little tortoise burrow in the Lee Little’s yard, and it’s fenced so the dogs can’t get you. It’s not the first time I found a feral kitty taking advantage of Terra’s burrow, but this time was different.
I was checking on my garden when I heard a pitiful cry, it sounded like a cry for help, and I knew an animal or even a child was in trouble. I began to look and listen carefully, trying to determine where the cry came. I softly called out, “here, kitty, kitty.” The cry became louder, and that’s when I saw a little black face peak out of Terra’s burrow.
Another feral, I thought. I always keep a supply of dry cat food on hand for such an occasion, so I headed inside to get food. The kitty was out of the burrow when I returned, so I slowly entered the habitat so I wouldn’t scare him off. He looked like he had been living on the street for some time. His skin was dry; his fur was dull, and he was skinny and in need of a meal.
To my surprise, he came and rubbed up against my legs. I put the food down, and he gobbled it up. It was clear he was no feral kitty. After a good meal and a much-needed brushing, I moved the kitty into my spare bedroom. I wasn’t sure how this would work with my pups or how the cat would react to being indoors after being outside for so long, but he belonged to someone, or used to belong to someone, and needed to be in a home. Right now, he needed me.
I checked for a chip. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one. I spent a few minutes lamenting that many people just don’t microchip their pets, especially cats. Then I took a picture and posted it on PawBoost, Next Door, and the Lost Pet Facebook pages. Next, I called Hearts Alive Village, one of the animal rescues I support. They provided all the necessities and made an appointment for a medical checkup.
Everyone should have a name, and since I didn’t know his, I began calling him Inky. Due to my crazy and rambunctious dogs, he was confined to the spare bedroom. He had food, water, a kitty box, a queen-size bed, toys, a radio, and a night light. A gate in front of the door kept the Lee Littles out and allowed Inky to feel included. I know Inky could jump over it, but he seemed very content in his room, and the Lee Littles were content to sit on the other side and check him out.
Inky crashed at our place for several weeks waiting for his forever home. His coat grew shiny, and he put on weight. Even the Lee Littles adjusted to his being here. And every day, I had an excuse to rest. I went into the room, lay down on the bed, and curled up with a purring cat. Nothing could be more healing.
It wasn’t easy to say good-bye. Inky brought an energy into my life that has been missing for a long time. I was reminded of this energy when we spent time alone together. Inky gave me an excuse to shut out the world and be present. But Inky needed a home, not just a room, and soon the perfect kitty home came along. He now has a mom who loves him, a bed to call his own, and new places to explore. He is happy, and his life has a purpose – and treats, his life includes lots of treats.
My house seems a little quieter now that Inky has moved on. The dogs no longer keep a vigil on the spare bedroom. Terra, my desert tortoise, has now gone into brumation, but there is cat food in the cupboard and a sign on the door to Terra’s habitat that reads, “Kitties Welcome.”