When a Cat Comes to Visit

Last week was busier than usual. Among a long list of other things (that may or may not include termites and breast cyst colonies–both those suckers travel in packs), the gardener and I trapped a cat that was hanging out in our backyard. I think strays and ferals see our cats through the windows and decide our yard makes a safe place to set up camp.

This one would come sit tall and proud on our pony wall and wait for his dinner. Yes, we had to give him dinners because underneath his long fur he was quite skinny. Besides, dinner is how you trap a cat.

Have you ever seen a cat trap?

They are scary looking, but when you cover it with a blanket, the cat can’t really see how scary it is. He only knows there is good food inside that he doesn’t have to rassle (wrestle for you grammar nazis) to eat.

We didn’t know if this cat was stray or feral. A stray cat will make a good house cat once he gets acclimated. A feral cat probably will not, although you have to take it on a case by case basis. This cat would look at us in the yard, which is unusual for a feral, plus we do not have a feral colony anywhere near. In fact, there are no cats outdoors as a general rule. That is because we have a pack of German Shepherd-sized coyotes and a large bobcat. People who try to have “outdoor cats” in our neighborhood end up inadvertently killing them. In fact, I contacted people through “Next Door,” in the adjacent neighborhoods, and they spoke of the zero cat population and how a Maltese was severely injured by the coyotes.


We didn’t know if the cat was male or female, but I was calling it HE and HIM. I had an instinct, but didn’t know if I was right.

After days of luring the cat farther and farther into the trap, we were ready to catch him. That meant that the gardener needed to “set” the trap as he was the one who got the instructions from a friend we borrowed the trap from. It had been a few years since we used a trap. He was busy with stuff and couldn’t be rushed, and I was worried Mr/Ms Stray/Feral would come for dinner too soon. He did. When we came out to set the trap, he was sitting there so proud and so skinny on the wall around our fountain. He watched us very carefully as I put the food all the way to the back and the gardener set the springs. Then we went inside to see what would happen. I worried he would be annoyed and avoid the trap because he saw the trap without a blanket on it and saw it being set.

At first that was true. I watched between the drape and the window frame. He circled the trap, trying to get to the food without entering the open end. Then he left.

Durn it all, I said to the gardener. You should have come out to do it earlier. Only I didn’t say durn.

I was nervous he would get killed before we could catch him. And I was a little anxious that I already had scheduled an appointment for him next day at the spay/neuter clinic. I didn’t choose them for the lower price only, but because they are used to handling feral cats. If he was feral, he would need that expertise. The receptionist asked me if I’d named the cat. I had not even thought to, but after that two names came to me: Perry for a boy and Polly for a girl.

Five minutes later darkness descended on the backyard. I couldn’t really make out the door of the trap. I asked the gardener to come look. He said it was sprung.

So I turned on the porch light and went out to see. Our little gray and white visitor was huddled up miserably inside the trap. The food was untouched.

In the garage I had put a thick blanket on the floor for warmth and then covered that with a Chux pad for potty needs, so I placed the trap there for the night. The spay/neuter clinic would open at 7AM, and the kitty would have to be in the cage all night. I knocked the food out of the cage so he would have an empty stomach for neutering the next day. Although I’d been up all night just a couple nights before (ER visit for the gardener for a kidney stone–I told you we had a lot going on), I got up early to drive “clear across town,” which means a long way through rush hour city traffic.

I’ll be darned if they didn’t do his surgery until after 4PM! Poor thing had to wait in that trap without food or water all that time. And I was so impatient because I wanted to know:

  1. Boy or girl?
  2. Feral or stray?
  3. Feline leukemia negative . . . or not?

PERRY turned out to be stray and negative for feline leukemia. Good news for him! So I brought him over to our shelter fresh off the operating table. What nobody warned me was that some cats act like maniacs while under the effects of the anesthesia. He threw himself against the walls of the cage. It was frightening because I thought he might hurt himself–and it sure seemed a different story than how lovely he was to the vet and vet techs before his surgery. That night in his cage in the isolation room at the shelter, he tipped over his litter box and got it all over, spilled his water all over, and didn’t pee or poo at all. However, he did eat all the kibble that was left for him.

Worried about him, I ran over there first thing the next morning and cleaned and reset up his cage and amenities and gave him a little canned food. He was calm, but scared.

Perry on the bed of the iso cage–the cage is much taller, but it’s underneath the bed

Please send vibes or pray for him, however you’re inclined, that he settles in, loses his fear, and finds a loving home!


I hope that Kin Types will be ready for pre-order soon. Waiting to hear from the publisher about that.

I’m participating in the Great Poetry Exchange along with 65 other poets with books. In the month of March I am sending Doll God to one poet and receiving a book from a different poet. I can’t wait!



Filed under Cats and Other Animals, Doll God, Nonfiction, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Publishing, Writing

55 responses to “When a Cat Comes to Visit

  1. Only once have I seen a bobcat around here. He popped his head out of a field and then turned to show his tail before disappearing. What beautiful creatures but not good for cats.

    I’m inspired by your rescuing exploits!

    • They are so beautiful, but a little frightening when you have a cat outside! Now you make me wonder if bobcats are everywhere in the U.S. I don’t remember ever hearing of them in Michigan, though, but maybe?

      • It’s like the cougars everyone says don’t exist anymore in the Northeast though tons of people I know claim to have seen them (it’s in their best interest to remain unseen :))

  2. Oh my! Poor Perry–or perhaps lucky Perry, if he finds a home. I wonder where he came from. Do you think anyone might be looking for him?

    Good luck with your book, Luanne! (And all the other things–breasts and termites, and kidney stones, oh my!)

    • Everyone involved has been sure that nobody is looking for Perry for several reasons. If they are, they can find him safe in a no-kill shelter. But I only hope that for him if there was that it would be somebody who was new to the area and just didn’t realize the danger in this area–and not somebody who would put him back out again. The vet felt he was not feral, but had been a stray for quite some time.

  3. You are so kind. I hope he does well in the shelter and finds a forever home (indoors of course). We had a visiting coyote a few years back when we had Jake (our last indoor-outdoor cat). Jake never went far but the coyote would visit the yard. There were a few standoffs that I had to intercede in. I was fortunate that the coyote stayed away from humans or I may have been lunch. I haven’t seen him in a few years but I’d never let a cat outside. Our neighborhood is populated with big dogs so perhaps they keep them at bay.

    • Oh, lucky Jake that he had YOU and also only had to deal with a lone coyote. I have nothing against coyotes, but they are certainly dangerous. When my kids were in school, a classmates rabbit was scared to death (literally) by coyotes lunging at his outdoor hutch. There are so many dangers outside even when there aren’t coyote packs and bobcats–other cats, dogs, cruel humans, hunters, poisons, etc. My cats would be indoor even if we didn’t live in this neighborhood, but in this neighborhood there is no choice. They simply die if they are here long enough. That’s why it was so rare to see a cat outside.

      • Growing up we always had indoor-outdoor cats and they never lived beyond 2 years for all the reasons you list. When I adopted Mollie I decided to keep her in all the time. Fortunately it wasn’t a problem for her. She has no interest in going out. (I was never successful at converting Jake to all indoor until at the end when he was old.) It’s so peaceful. No running around at dusk trying to get them in (or find them). No worrying. No midnight runs because you are sure you heard something. Never again. You invest love, $$ and time in them. Don’t want to lose them.

  4. I didn’t think you said, “durn.” 🙂 Aw…poor Perry. He’s lucky to have wandered into your yard. You’re a good cat mommy. Praying for you, Luanne!

    • Hehe, how did you figure it out? I try to be a good cat mommy. It’s so hard sometimes because there are so many needy cats. On another note, thanks, Jill! Trying to get some answers for mom this week!

  5. Thank you for taking good care of Perry. So much anxiety involved, every step of the way – and this is no doubt felt tenfold by the poor kitty.

    • Ah, you would do it, too, I’ll bet. You are so right about the anxiety. At each step, something can go wrong to make it not work. Poor Perry, he’s been through so much. I hope things so well for him from here on out. I would take him if I could, but I realized this winter with my cats’ issues that 4 seniors and one almost senior are enough cats for me for right now!

  6. I feel so sorry for these poor homeless cats. They have a hard life when people drop them off someplace “to be free” (and in misery, sickness, pain, and hunger). You’ve done a good thing here. Again!

    • You hit upon my very thoughts, Anneli. I do think somebody dropped him off in our neighborhood. I don’t know if I’ve ever posted about it, but once I was driving behind a car and saw someone drop a little white pug-mix dog out of the moving car. I stopped in the middle of the street and scooped him up and took him to my vet who was two minutes away. A lady in there wanted to adopt him, so it all worked out great. Bottom line: who are all these creepos abandoning cats and dogs?

      • They’re too cheap to look after them properly and have them neutered if they don’t want a litter. They hide behind the idea that they’re doing something good for the animals by setting them “free” but it’s a cop-out to get out of their responsibilities. If they don’t want to look after their pets, why do they bother to pretend they own them? Oh dear. Who put that soap box under my feet again?

  7. Oh Perry looks lovely, I’m glad he had you to help him and hopefully he’ll find a loving home.

    • He’s so beautiful. Of course, you can’t see how skinny he is in the pic because he was so scared he had all his long thick fur fluffed up to look bigger. So funny how cats try to make themselves look bigger! Thanks, Andrea!

  8. What a good kitty-saver you are!! The onlhy thing is, I was a little confused because when I saw the pic of the bobcat (can’t tell the size of it), I thought THAT was the stray you were feeding and trying to trap! So then at the end when I saw Perry, I went, “Who’s that?!?” I was a little kerfuffled until I went and re-read everything carefully, including (this time!) the caption under the bobcat! So it’s all straightened out now, my brain is unscrambled and i just want to say KUDOS to you on a wonderful job well done, way beyond the call of duty!! <3

  9. Hope he finds a wonderful home. And hope you’re feeling well, Luanne–you did have quite a week!

  10. Boy, you really did have a lot going on! I hope this week is much calmer. Goodness!

    He’s beautiful. Look at that face! That’s not any ol cat face ^_^ I hope he will be adopted soon 🙂 I have never set a cat trap. I agree with you that strays and ferals hang out at cat homes, though.

  11. Wilma J Kahn

    Good luck with that kitty. You’ve done a lot for him.

  12. Perry is so cute! Well done Luanne. I have a friend who told me to stop my car one day and she jumped out and ran into the sugar cane field and brought out a feral cat (she’s very brave!) I said to her that I didn’t want a cat and she said it wasn’t for me, she was going to take it to the local vet – now that’s commitment! She also walked through flood waters one day to save a baby bandicoot stuck on a mound of dirt that was about to be washed away. And – she also gave CPR to a rooster she found constricted by a python and saved it’s life (I’ll stop now with the stories of her). I just wanted to say I love people who care about animals and you’re certainly up there with the best of them xxx

    • Oh, wow, Dianne! I love these stories. If you or she would like to write up anything about them, I’d love to publish them on my blog!

  13. What a lovely little critter. I’m partial to bibs. Like wearing a tux. He looks so world-weary.

    • Me too. I’m partial to tuxedo cats, black cats, and snotty little calicos. (And the other cats, too). He is not happy to be at the shelter. I hope that once he gets out of ISO and into the roaming room he’ll be so interested. He also probably needs to be around a few kittens. That’ll warm him up!

  14. Oh what a heartbreak Luanne, poor Perry, so puzzled and frightened… do hope he finds a loving home… and you are wonderful… I know what it’s like trying to catch strays or ferals….

    • He is still puzzled and frightened. They haven’t vaccinated and microchipped him yet, so he can’t go into the roaming room until they do. Those are done on certain days. I sure hope he can get into the roaming room soon because then he will become interested in seeing what’s going on, I believe. He needs to get out of his own head ;). When I try to catch somebody I get so anxious until he/she is safe somewhere. It becomes a little overwhelming for me. Obviously much more so for the poor cat (or, in some cases, dog).

  15. Congratulations, Luanne! You did such a wonderful thing for this creature. I am so moved by your story. Crossing fingers it turns out well. We have two “feral rescue” cats we adopted as kittens (ten years ago) from a feral rescue operation, and while they are still shy, they have grown into being around us and welcoming affection (on their terms, of course). I know what you mean about coyote predators – part of our property is a greenbelt/ravine that has become a haven for urban coyotes – and huge urban raccoons – both of which welcome cats for meals, I suspect… Wonderful! And congrats on the poet exchange, too. Happy for you.

    • Oh my, I am so glad you had such good luck with your kitties! I am dismayed that Perry is so unhappy at the shelter. I really thought that he was going to do better than this. I went over yesterday and read to him and brought him presents. I will try to do it again today because I know the techs don’t have time for that stuff. And he’s alone in ISO now, too, so that means he’s REALLY alone.

      • Oh, I’m sorry to hear about Perry’s isolation, Luanne! That’s so great you are being a comfort to him. About 3 years ago our tuxedo cat Mittens became seriously ill and needed a couple of days’ stay at the vet to rehydrate and get meds. We went up there a couple of times a day to talk with her, etc. but I know she was super-glad to be back w us. 🙂 Give Perry a “hello” from me!

  16. You are a patron angel to this cat named Perry. Thanks for letting us know all the steps to take and how challenging it is to catch a wild cat and so glad he isn’t feral. He is rather cute! I am proud of the Gardener and you, Luanne! I would never have guessed that the drugs would set an animal off?! Our dogs always passed out during surgery and after their “shots.” <3

    • I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Perry. I collected more information today and will probably get to bring him home this weekend!

  17. I just realized you were talking about personal problems in your breasts, termites and kidney stones. . . I am now including you, Perry cat and family (Mom, too) in my prayers and happy thoughts list. 🙂 <3 <3

    • We had bees in the house today! Thank you so much for your prayers and happy thoughts. Yes, especially please keep Mom on those lists with her upcoming surgery! And Perry too, the little scared guy.

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