Adoption in Reverse!
Ask any pet parent who they think make the best pets and many will say they believe that rescue animals make the best pets. They are appreciative, loving and very grateful to you for rescuing them from sometimes extremely distressing situations.
There are many ways of finding your ideal companion pet. You may have taken the more traditional route of buying from a breeder where you can research the animal’s and breeder’s background. Maybe you wanted a pedigree animal complete with certificates to prove it.
Or you might have been tempted to offer a home to a delightfully cute kitten or puppy via your neighbors, friends or associates because you’ve always wanted a pet dog or cat and the opportunity was there and they look sooo cute that you just can’t resist.
Well, we didn’t take any of those routes because we didn’t really choose our little girl. She picked us out and decided she was going to stay with us, whatever it took!
Stranger at the Gate
We first noticed a stray cat in our garden in about April or May. It’s difficult to remember exactly when it did first appear as it’s not the sort of event you note in your diary. As the weather got warmer and sunnier ‘the cat’, as we called her then, appeared more often in the garden. She was very selective about where she chose to sleep, depending on the weather.
If it was sunny she would stretch out on the edge of the lawn just in front of some shrubs so when it got too hot she could crawl under the shade of the shrubs. If it was raining she would hunker down under a tree in the corner of the rear garden so she kept dry as possible. If it was windy she would find a spot on the rockery where she would be sheltered from the wind.
She appeared at various intervals throughout the summer months and often spent whole days in our garden. Our garden is generally peaceful except when I mow the lawn. Then she would stare at me the closer I came with the mower. When I was cutting a few feet from where she lay he would slink away to find a more peaceful spot. When it got really hot she would rise up, stretch and wander slowly to the front of the garden where there was an old fishless pond. There she would drink the awful looking water. Even when we put out a bowl of fresh water she would ignore it and drink from the pond. That’s cats for you.
She was never a really friendly animal who ran up to you to be made a fuss of whenever she saw you. In fact if you approached quickly or suddenly she would turn tail and disappear and reappear later when she thought it was safe. Generally we left her alone as she seemed content to be in the garden and disappeared as the evening came on. We thought she probably lived somewhere in the neighborhood, was put out during the day when her owners were at work and then went home to eat and sleep again in the evening.
As summer began to turn into autumn we noticed that she was staying in the garden later into the evening until it was dark. When late September came we began to realize that she was there when we went to bed and still there when we got up in the morning. It was then that we realized that she may not actually have anywhere to go home to. If she did, she sure wasn’t spending much time in it.
We didn’t have any pets at the time although we’d both owned cats and dogs in the past, or rather, they had owned us and we love all animals.. We began to worry about this little one, knowing that autumn would soon turn to winter and the thought of her trying to survive in the open throughout the winter was something we couldn’t bear. We knew we had to do something.
We started by putting some dry food in a bowl nearby where she was sleeping and then moving well away to watch her eat. Every time she finished the bowl she would look around at us to see whether there was more food on offer.
At this time we had never gotten close enough to see what sex she was and so we called her Oliver, after Oliver Twist from the Charles Dickens novel who famously, and bravely, asked for more food.
We started out to find who she belonged to. Firstly online at various animal organizations then we followed up by contacting the local veterinary practices to see if someone had reported a lost a cat. No clues there!
We were advised catch her and take along to the veterinary to see if she had been microchipped. However, the trick would be getting her into the borrowed cat basket first!
And after a few days and lots of food and treats we finally managed to get her into the basket. She was scanned and examined. No microchip but we did discover that Oliver was in fact Olivia.
Olivia was run down but otherwise in good health and an educated guess put her age at around 5-6yrs. Her coat looked shabby and dull, her eyes were mucky as she had an infection in them, and she looked quite thin and up till then disinterested in anything other than sleeping and eating.
Now, many months on, and firmly established as a favorite family member, she looks a picture of health with a full shiny coat, she has gained weight and loves to play with the many toys we bought for her. Her whiskers are magnificent and her white markings look beautifully clean.
Fortunately, there were already cat doors in the house so she has the freedom to come and go as she pleases but only usually does so now when nature’s call reaches desperation point! perhaps she is afraid to be out for long in case block up the kitty doors and she’d be back to living in the garden. Silly thing.
We love her so much and can’t remember what our life was like before she came into it. We love watching her play with her toys and generally relaxing with us. Like new parents we dote on her and buy her the best, but like most cats, she’s as happy playing with things like cardboard boxes as she is with more expensive toys. Her current love is something we made for her which was a little plastic container with small feathers on it which she chases around the room like a mad thing. It’s great fun to watch.
She must think we are very slow witted, as it took months before we realized she had selected us as her new family and welcomed her home. Hopefully, she has now forgiven us and we think she loves us in return but, cats are cats, as any cat parent will tell you and they keep their own council, but she sure isn’t in any hurry to leave us, thank goodness!