About a month ago, I am grilling on the back porch when a cat appears in the middle of the backyard. It meows at me. I meow back at the cat and continue to grill. The cat sits down, watched me grill, and continues to meow every 20 seconds. Jaclyn comes out and observes the cat, I ask if I should kill it.
“Kill it!?” In an exasperated voice, “Why would you kill it?”
I explain that it is very unusual for a cat to sit down in the middle of a yard which it does not belong and is frequently patrolled by a large dog.
Jac being the more rationale side of our equation says, “The previous homeowner owned cats and she did not move far away, perhaps the cat belongs to her.”
Through the miracle of social media, Jaclyn reached out to the former home owner and within an hour, was able to confirm that the cat did not belong to her, all her cats were accounted for. The cat continues to meow at us in the backyard, but we move on with our lives, or so we thought.
An hour later, Dalia comes running in the house explaining that she has been bitten by the cat and has a minor scratch. Frequent readers of this blog will probably notice a pattern with Dalia, if we come across an animal, she will most likely find a way inside its mouth. We call the doctor and they suggest taking her to the emergency room and get it checked out. This is the second time in less than a year we are taking Dalia to the hospital for an animal bite, some geeky guy at our health insurance company is probably noticing that in an enormous database of claims and chuckling.
The kind staff at the hospital advise that we capture the cat so we can determine if it had rabies or not. If we do not capture the cat and rule out rabies, Dalia will require a 2-week course of rabies shots which are painful and terrible.
We return home, lure the cat into our sun room with a piece of microwaved trout (see earlier blog post on trout fishing!), lock the door, and go to bed.
Day 2 of this fiasco continues by trying to get a humane organization to take the cat and observe it for rabies. This turns out to be impossible and the best anyone can do is to tell us to keep the cat for 10 days and if it dies or goes insane, it has rabies, otherwise, it probably doesn’t. Jac agrees to take on the responsibility of monitoring the feline.
I am dreadfully nervous about Jaclyn going into the sunroom to provide the creature with food and water, if it attacks Jaclyn, it is possible that she will have rabies too. Fortunately, Jaclyn braves the possibility, enters the room, and the cat purrs and massages itself by passing back and forth closely against her legs. The cat appreciates the food and water, purrs for a bit, and that whacks Jac with its claws and scratches her, the cat is a jerk, but does not seem to have rabies.
10 days go by without incident, it appears very comfortable in the sun room. It ends up using an old aluminum tray from a Moe’s catering event as a kitty litter box. Jac identifies a new owner for the cat through Facebook, but we needed to get it neutered. Many docs were reluctant as they were concerned about the possibility of feline AIDs (I didn’t know that was even a thing), but we finally found someone and when they began the procedure on the cat they found out it was already neutered (this is why cats need to build a strong lobbying organization for better use of electronic medical records!).
One month & a horrifically smelling sun room later, the cat was released to his new owner on a farm in south west Pennsylvania. Jac & Dalia reported that the cat just ran for its life upon release.
Good times had by all. Pretty happy that that chapter is officially closed.