A couple of weeks ago I told you the story of the cat who came to visit our yard and how we trapped him so he wouldn’t get eaten by a local predator. I had him neutered and took him to the no-kill shelter where Perry was put into the ISO room until he could be vaccinated and microchipped.
Although the vet and vet techs that did the surgery on Perry realized he was not feral because he was affectionate and even let them handle his family jewels (before the big heist), once he got put into that tiny cage in that little room right next to the big dog room (with their loud chorus of barking) he became withdrawn and very unhappy with humans.
The shelter began to wonder if somebody had made a mistake or even lied about Perry being a stray, but domesticated cat. Maybe he really was feral and, if so, what would the shelter that is designed for putting friendly cats in together until they get adopted into loving homes do with him?
I talked to the wonderful organization Alley Cat Allies that works to better the plight of feral cats and to the spay and neuter clinic that had done Perry’s surgery. It seemed clear to anybody not witnessing him at the shelter that he was not feral. I’ve gone to the shelter every day, but only for a short period of time, to read to him and (don’t tell anyone, please) sing to him.
Perry’s favorite book
He seems to like the “Riddle Song” and “Billy Boy,” two of my specialties. I put an extra stanza in the latter that always seemed missing from the original. I am careful to show him the illustrations in the picture books and notice that his eyes track the images as if he is really examining them. I find that interesting . . . .
Using a soothing, but pleasantly expressive voice while reading to cats and dogs is very effective with them. It doesn’t get done often enough because of time constraints. Consider reading to shelter animals near you or bring children who are early readers so they can practice their reading skills out on the very nonjudgmental animals. In the Curious George book, Mr. Herb gets angry with George, but I am careful not to show that in my voice to Perry who can’t handle that kind of emotion right now.
The techs and volunteers couldn’t get Perry out of the tiny cage in ISO to move him to a big 3 story cage in the roaming room so that he could have better accommodations and get to know other cats and humans, too, and we don’t have a “cat den,” where a frightened cat goes to hide and the “door” can be shut so you can move him. But finally our cat volunteer and staff member ROCKSTAR Judy maneuvered him into a kennel and moved him to the new cage in the big room. I didn’t get involved in this for two reasons. One is that I want to be a safe person for him, one he doesn’t associate with grabbing and other mean shenanigans. The other reason is my primary lymphedema. Cat bites and scratches can be very dangerous for someone with lymphedema, so I am always aware when working and playing with cats that are not my own (and even my own).
Yesterday afternoon I was heartened that Perry was no longer in his cave. He was sitting in his litter box (hahaha) on the bottom level of the cage. I had put a skirt of towels around the bottom, so maybe that was why. I assume he was in the litter box rather than the soft bed next to it because that bed might be too soft compared with what he is used to outside. I opened the skirt in front and sat on the floor to read to him. Another new cat, Oreo (a very friendly guy), crawled into my lap and stuck his nose in the book. Although I used the book as a little shield between the two cats so Perry wouldn’t get spooked, Perry was quite good at Oreo being so close and even meowed once at him. He also meowed at me and gave me eye blinks, both good signs that he is thawing.
I don’t yet know Oreo’s story, but he and another cat share a cage (that he happened to be out of at the time) and both wear lime green collars. That makes me guess somebody turned them into the shelter because they couldn’t keep them any longer. 🙁 New cats generally stay in cages inside the roaming room until they are used to the room and the other cats. Because the two cats are together and are wearing collars, they didn’t live outside like Perry did so they are more social.
Please send good thoughts Perry’s way that he loses his fear (terror) and begins to show his affectionate nature so that he can work his way toward the perfect home for him.
With my son’s wedding coming up and other family matters, the only thing I am able to handle right now in addition to work is trying to do a little promotional stuff for Kin Types. Finishing Line Press is very good about providing a sample promo packet, along with sample press releases and the likes, but it all takes TIME, a phantom-like wisp that I have been chasing but not catching for a few weeks now. So although a few ideas for writing have crossed my mind (and disappeared into the horizon) I definitely
43 responses to “What Happened to the Cat Who Came to Visit?”
Thanks for sharing the cat update. Reading to cats is like talking to them. You do it often and softly and they get to know you and trust you. Some cats don’t do well in cages. My cat Hazel and her sister had a hard time getting adopted because they cowered in the back of the cage. No one (but people like me) pursue those scaredy cats. Best wishes to Perry.
This is it, Kate–some don’t do well in cages and some just never do well in shelters. Yesterday, another volunteer said to me that as much as we love PetSmart because many of our kitties get adopted that way, too many of the cats become depressed over there because of the noise and lights, the big forklifts, the small cages, etc. But without PetSmart how would they find homes? If only there were more people out there like you, Kate. They mostly want the youngest, prettiest, healthiest, friendliest, kiss-your-tush personality cats! So hard for the others cats, which are in greater quantity!
It’s a shame. PetSmart could make the area friendlier with larger cages and glass it off from the noise. I wouldn’t do well in a cage either. I adopted Hazel but her sister languished another two months before someone adopted her.
Well, these are decent cages and there is glass, but it’s still so hard for them. Not sure they could do too much better other than providing maybe a little better care from the employees. Aw poor Hazel’s sister! That is hard to see, too, when a sibling (or one raised as a sibling) has to wait long past the other. 🙁 Too bad we can’t take them all!
Thanks for the update on Perry. Poor little fella. <3
Loved your hashtag! xo
I wish that hashtag wasn’t true right now, but alas, I am one person. I am hoping to percolate a novel somewhere in the back of my mind while I’m thinking about everything else hahahaha. I will let Perry know you are thinking about him! xo
Your writing pulled me right along to visualize Perry. I may say i am a dog-man, but i have a tender heart for cats too.
Ah, thanks, notdonner! I can’t imagine without living with cats and/or dogs. We used to have dogs and then started finding cats and they eventually took over, but now my son got a dog so there is a new dog in the family! I saw on your blog that you not only like dogs, but family history too–me too!
It’s amazing when you use the internet with only a few clues, it begins a great adventure.
It sure does!
I love hearing about you reading and singing to the cat! What a wonderful way to spend one’s time, and I know you don’t have a lot of it. :/ It all makes me want to do the same thing at a dog shelter of some kind, although the one nearest to us has such a bad reputation for volunteers that I don’t want to go there. Inspiring, Luanne! Wishing you and all the cats a wonderful week!
Oh, you would love reading to dogs, Carla! And they would love it. You have a wonderful, soft and expressive voice for it. Thank you from me and on behalf of all the kitties in my life! xoxo
I sure hope Perry comes around and gets over his terrors. It’s so sad to think of these poor little creatures. Who knows the horrors they’ve had to endure?
That’s what another volunteer and I were talking about yesterday. Some of the animals have been to more than one shelter, on the street, and with various owners in their short lives. The tumult and chaos, even without neglect and abuse, is mind-boggling! But whatever can be done to make even one animal’s life brighter is good :)!! I will keep you posted about Perry!
Thanks. I always have a soft spot for animals who need help.
I enjoyed the story of perry and want to congratulate you for caring for him. We rescued a momma feral and five little ones years ago. Got the feral neutered and released again. The little ones all were adopted after spending from age of 4 days to eight weeks at our house. yup bottle fed and the works.
Oh, John, that’s a wonderful story! Thank you so much for doing all that work for those little guys. You done good!!! I know how much work the bottle feeding is, too!
Thank you, Luanne. 🙂
Wow, quite a sage about Perry. I hope he thaws soon and can find a new home and family. Or they can find him.
If he can get to the point where he is friendly enough he should be very adoptable because he’s only between 1 and 2 years old and such a pretty gray and white long-haired beauty.
With beautiful clean white teeth!
Aw, I am wishing what’s best for Perry 🙂
The sound of sweet talk brings all the animals instantly at our house. I can see why reading would work wonders on a stressed cat’s nerves.
Yah, they were all sitting near me while I was reading today! It’s so cute! Then a fly flew in and distracted the distractible ones.
Beautiful story Luanne, reading about the love and care and imagination you put into trying to help sweet Perry … thank you o behalf of all the animals you help… it eases one’s own mind to know that there are people like you who not only care, but Do…
There are so many who do so much more. I am so in awe of them. I mentioned the rockstar Judy. She is phenomenal, for instance. Her abilities are measureless, and she is such a good “sale closer” at finding the right cat for the right person and “closing the deal.” Sounds crass, but it is a talent that I don’t have . . . at all. To see how devoted so many are to helping the animals makes me realize that humankind will survive–and hopefully so will the other animals for the most part.
A good bit of caring, Luanne
Oh poor Perry, I’m so glad you’re taking the time to be his ‘safe person’ and I hope that the care he gets makes all the difference. Great idea to read to animals – it’s now considered important to read with babies and even to the pregnancy bump, despite the fact they don’t have language yet, that interaction is important, so why not animals. If I chat away to my dog he seems to enjoy listening, so maybe I’ll try reading to him!
Let me know how it goes! They also seem to like poems, especially ones that are fun to recite. Some of MacBeth is good hahaha. Also, “The Spangled Pandemonium.” He bent the bars the barest bit and slithered glibly through!
Good cat news! Keeping positive thoughts for Perry. I am actually still really new to cats; it wasn’t until we got Simon that I really began to appreciate them, but I am still unsure how to handle them at times. So different from dogs.
Thank you so much on behalf of the dear boy. He was back in his cave yesterday as there was a lot of hubbub in the room. He seems not to mind the other cats, though. My two cents is that dogs can be handled–cats must be treated as very sensitive little people hahaha. And some are more sensitive than others: Perry. Having owned and loved dogs for years, I would say that a relationship with a cat is more intuitive, rather than a series of demands on each side, as it is with dogs. We demand of them, they demand of us ;). Did I tell you about my new “grandson/dog” Theo? He’s a rescue mutt with big spots on his belly, very sparse blond fur, and an adorable face. He is an amazing jumper.
Do you follow that cat rapper? He has a real way with cats – there’s one of him rapping while sitting in the tub with a cat bathing it. it is so cute.
No, is he on Youtube?
Luanne, kudos on being such a heart-warming friend to Perry! I had no idea about the different enclosure arrangements that can be used for helping cats adapt to a change of situation. And I loved your aside that “don’t tell, but I was singing to him.” I never realized cats enjoyed being read to, and now when I feel guilty about not petting my cat often enough, maybe I’ll try reading to her! Thank you for sharing your experience! Ah, forgot to mention that I finally saw last week the coyote (or maybe a coyote) that my neighbors have been reporting seeing in our yard (we are on a greenbelt). She (I like to think) trotted along the edge of the yard as if she were on business. So looking like a dog it was eerie. 🙂
… oh, and cats safely inside, at least our own cats.
For a brief period of time I did guided meditation with a Wayne Dyer CD (don’t laugh!). As soon as my pets heard his voice they gathered round and went to their “zen” place. 🙂 I think it’s so cute that the cats are read to. Thanks for sharing your cat adventures–you’re a brave woman! Not sure if I want to know what lymphedema is but I wish you the best with that.
Oh, that is such a sweet image. (My mom loved Wayne Dyer btw). That is similar to what happens when I read at the shelter in the evening when it’s calmer. During the day, I only get a couple of them really listening. Lymphedema is dangerous with cat bites and scratches so I have to take care.
Do take care then, Luanne!
Hip hip hooray for baby cat steps! I like that Perry didn’t get jealous or upset with the other cat, Oreo, in such close proximity. I like his using verbalization. Oreo sounds like a very nice cat. I am crossing my fingers for the green collared duo and of course, Perry. <3
Im hoping by now he is much better you are so kind to do this Luanne. Sorry so late to conversation but it touched my heart reading this today xxx
He is going to take months, I’m pretty sure, but he does let me hold his bowl while he eats. He lets me touch his feet pads, but then pulls them away pretty quickly. heh