Monday, September 27, 2010

Design Tips: A Lost and Found Cat Story


This is one of my cats. She wasn’t lost. We found her a buddy. Sort of. My cats weren’t thrilled, but my husband and I sure were.

Last Saturday we were at the kitchen door, prepping our bikes for a ride when a charming young calico cat marched up the driveway, tail straight up in greeting. Neither of us had seen her before. She strolled into our garage, checked things out and decided it was acceptable. She sat down, looked at us and meowed.

We petted her, looked her over and wondered where she lived. She was obviously a house cat and used to people. A little thin but not too bony for an active young cat. Her big white feet were dirty, the rest of her was clean so we figured if she’s a stray, she hasn’t been lost for long.

We gently shooed her out of the garage. Well, we said, if she’s still around later we’ll figure out what to do. Maybe a neighbor just got a new cat and lets her come and go.

Later. I’m in the yard trimming the street trees of low and broken branches. Guess who came up to help. They’re “street trees” since we live on a moderately busy corner. The little cat shows no fear. She rubs against my legs, against the compost container, not concerned at all for the traffic.

Thinking she might make a move for the other side of the street, I wrap up quickly. The little cat follows me back to the door. She curls up in a flower bed, next to the house behind a couple of tipped flower pots. She naps as I put away the tools.

She’s comfortable, she’s sweet and friendly, we’d take her in immediately if we knew she had no home. I look in the paper for a “lost cat” notice and don’t find anything. Our neighbors have seen her lately, but don’t know where she lives. We let her inside our house.

We give her water and we consternate what to do. She’s hungry but not starving. Whether she gets a regular meal, a neighbor is feeding her or because she hasn’t been lost for long, we just don’t know.

In Oregon (and probably most states) there are laws regarding claiming stray animals. You have to try hard to find the owner. Probably has more to do with livestock than pet cats, but, to someone, this cat is valuable. My cats are priceless to me!

Monday am I took her to the vet to see if the cat had a microchip and for a flea treatment. I treated all my cats just in case. No chip. I post the requisite flyers and ads. The phone calls start coming in. People walking their dogs see other posters in different neighborhoods, and connected the dots.

Darn, for me, this is a great cat. But I sympathize with the owner who missed her dearly. All is well.

I can’t count how many people were involved with this lost then found cat. Apparently she’s an escape artist and wandered off two weeks ago, to be found by someone, then she escaped, then found again. Then she escaped. Then we found her. She almost escaped twice. She’s just a year old and has a kidney problem. If left without her meds for long, life would not be good for the cat.

I was impressed with how active the community was in a case like this. Warm fuzzies, and it wasn’t just the cat! People talked with me as I hung, then later took down, the posters. Friends of friends knew who called me first. A small town in the middle of a big city, a nice reminder of how caring people can be.

But. Moral of the story is: Microchip and neuter your pets. Vaccinate and license them. This creates a paper trail that makes it very easy to track down owners. Keep the cats indoors. Really. They’ll get used to it, and so will you, not having to deal with cat fight injuries, dirt and fleas. Or worse. Supervise your dogs. Fence the yard, train for basic obedience.

Pets are a valuable part of our lives. If you care, take care.

Until next time!

--Elaine Bothe


References:

Your local Humane Society (google “Humane Society of” then your state) for a wealth of resources for lost and found animals, adoptions, spaying and neutering, care, vaccinations, and much more.

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posted by Jennifer Adams Design Group Blog @ 12:01 AM 

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