Posted at Oct 10, 2012 2:37 am in cats
Many of you know that, back in August, there was a visitor at our house.
My husband went outside and was assailed by cat meowing. A huge, painfully skinny tomcat was begging for food.
My husband came back inside and woke me up. “Honey…there’s a cat out here.”
So we fed him.
He stayed. And we kept feeding him. He wasn’t feral…he hung out on our patio and slept in our garden. He meowed and talked – noisy boy! He sat in our patio chairs with us. He purred and wanted to be petted. Once, I stretched out with a book and he laid on my chest and put his head in my hand.
It became apparent that we’d have to find the guy a home. My husband dubbed him “Gibby,” after one of his favorite baseball players. We have five cats already. Two have FIV and one has lymphoma. We have to be very careful not to introduce new germies to the environment, and six cats is, well…crazy. It would make me nuts to have him outside and cold and so close to the street…I know I’d obsess over him. We have a set of neighbors who are not nice to animals, and I didn’t want him to run afoul of them.
So we asked around. I put up a flyer at work. My husband had a co-worker who has barn cats and who was willing to take him. My boss thought he knew someone who could use a starter cat. Gibby seemed very sweet and very interested in having a home.
So we took him to the vet to get him neutered and tested.
Gibby turned out to have FIV. It’s not like FLV, which is a really awful way to go. Cats with FIV who are indoor cats and who get regular veterinary care can live long and happy lives. Our two cats with FIV have been happily symptom-free for ten years.
But. We couldn’t ethically send him to be a barn cat and infect others. FIV is usually transmitted through fighting and kitty lurve. We couldn’t leave him outside, and he would need to be with folks who understood FIV and would be watching out for some of the problems that can crop up (like dental issues).
So. We have a new cat. We quarantined him in the basement, then moved him to my office.
There has been drama. Gibby was terrified of the other cats and spent two weeks after quarantine hissing at anything that moved and getting his butt moved back to his room.
But things slowly improved. There’s been no fighting. Rarely any hissing now. Gibby loves playing with his sister, Luna. And he’s warming up to his brother, Syd. Everyone gets fed in a herd, and there is peace and harmony in the animal kingdom.
Gibby has put on weight. We got all the rest of his shots, got his ear infection cleared up, fixed his worms, and have got him accustomed to his litterbox. He’s a good boy, very eager to please. And a talker. He’s always talking to us and the other cats, trilling. He’s smiling a lot now. Playing.
He was asleep on the couch today while I was on the computer. I thought you guys would want to see how different he looks than he did when he first came to us…
He smiles in his sleep. Totally worth it.