A stray at Tay

Stray cat

As I was working in my study this morning, Dan came in from his walk with Raven and called up to me that we had a visitor. I went downstairs to discover a little orange and white cat prowling around the kitchen. Raven had found him in one of the fields at the back end of our property. Dan picked him up and brought him back.

Stray cat

The poor thing is nothing but skin and bones and a ravenous appetite. He attacks the kibble like he’s afraid it’s going to jump out of the bowl and get away. It’s hard to guess how long he’s been out there fending for himself, but he wasn’t doing so well at it. Perhaps he’d been surviving on grasshoppers and dragonflies, which are all mostly gone now. I might have given him another week out there on his own, at most. If starvation didn’t do him in, then coyotes or foxes or hawks or fishers surely would have.

Stray cat

He’s extremely friendly, currently sitting on my lap as I type this. He doesn’t seem afraid of Raven, rubbing up against her and walking underneath her belly like they grew up together. It’s hard to say how long he’s been out on his own, or whether he’d had an owner at some point, although generally cats that have been wild for a long time become very scared of humans, and it takes a long while to earn their trust back.

Stray cat

We took him to the vet this afternoon, primarily because he had a wheeze and a runny nose and we were concerned about letting him be around our other animals, but also just to get him checked out. He weighed in at just 3.8 lb (1.7 kg), and has to be the tiniest cat I’ve ever met. He makes our other cats look huge. From his size, I figured he was a three to four month old kitten. We asked the vet how old he thought the little guy was, and he guessed about a year, based on the fact that he has all of his adult teeth, and some of the back molars are starting to get some tartar buildup.

Stray cat

The poor little guy, such hardship in only his first year of life! But things are looking up for him now. We’re not sure if we’ll keep him or find a good home for him, but either way his days spent out in the cold scrounging for food are over.

Stray cat

I can’t believe how much he reminds me of Jackie, another young cat who came to my family by similar means when I was in my early teens.

He seems really happy to be here.


Author: Seabrooke

Author of Peterson Field Guide to Moths. #WriteOnCon Mastermind. Writer of action/thriller SF/F YA. Story junkie. Nature nut. Tea addict. Mother. Finding happiness in the little things. Twitter: @SeabrookeN / @SeabrookeLeckie

21 thoughts on “A stray at Tay”

  1. 3.8 pounds at a year old? Even for a small cat, that is indeed skin and bones. I’m thrilled Raven found him. He seems like a friendly chap, certainly one socialized with dogs and people, and he’s quite handsome. He deserves a second chance.

    1. We were surprised at how well he moved about considering that his body was probably at the point of starting to metabolize muscle. After we gave him a bit of food and water, and he got the antibiotic from the vet, he’s perked right up – and he was pretty perky to begin with. Makes you wonder what his backstory was, and what he’s gone through over the last year.

  2. I think he’s a keeper for you! Especially since he gets along with all the other four-leggeds in the household. How lucky he was that Raven found him!

    1. I’m suspecting so, Ellen! It’s so easy to get attached to these creatures that come in to your life like that. I’ve sent out a few feelers, but I think if we don’t find a home through word-of-mouth among family/friends, we’ll just keep him.

  3. Sometimes people in a vacation spot will get a new pet, and when they leave the pet gets dumped. I found a dumped kitten of about a month old. I heard a cat crying, looked around and this little face looked back up. When I picked him up he curled into a ball and looked like he was giving up. The poor tyke was very cold and starving.(it was October 1 several years ago)
    I named him Rupert, and he has really taken over. But boy I would love to get my hands on those people…
    I think your new charge is not going to be going away.

    1. That’s a sad story, Kirk. It’s good you found the little guy. It’s really abhorrent what some people wil do to animals.

      I know there are people who don’t spay their female cats, but still let them outdoors, and when they discover that she’s gotten pregnant and they don’t want the bother of the kittens, they bundle her and the kits up and dump them at the side of the road. My mom found such a female a number of years ago, completely wild. She was able to rescue a couple of the kittens, but it took a while before the mother cat was finally caught, in the course of which she had a few more litters. Most of the cats that she, my two sisters and I all own (totaling nine individuals) are from this female.

  4. I’m so glad you rescued this little kitty. He is obviously used to people, because even a half-starved feral cat won’t let you get close to them. And he likes the dog, too. Some awful person probably dumped him. If he was just lost, someone would be looking for him.

    Carolyn H.

    1. He’s such a sweetheart, it really makes you wonder what kind of person could just dump him and leave him to fend for himself. The alternative might be that he escaped from someone’s house and they couldn’t find him, I suppose. Probably after a week or two they would’ve given up looking, and judging by his condition he’s likely been on his own at least that long. Who knows how far he might have wandered if that’s the case.

  5. Awwwwww, what a little cutie. He is doing his best to let you know how nicely he’d fit in with you all. He is determined, you know.
    Good wishes to you, little kitty. Purr lots. You will convince them.

    1. He certainly is doing a good job! I think Dan is already quite attached. I guess we’ll see how he gets along with our other cats before we commit to keeping him.

      1. He will be so grateful for your kindness that he will bend over backward to get along with “everyone”. He is already seeing how his monogram will fit on the towels.

  6. Truthfully, I’m not much of a domestic feline enthusiast. However, having assimilated a darling bushy-tailed cutie (by the name of Jewel) into my household, I can attest to their persuasive ways.

    I haven’t a shred of doubt that this cat is in good hands!

    1. They can really win you over! Dan claimed he wasn’t much of a cat person, either, before I brought home two kittens. Resistance is futile.

      The new kitten is doing fabulously, though he’s still got a bit of the sniffles. Hopefully those clear up soon, though I suspect a possible nasal bot fly larva…

  7. So you decided to keep him then huh? Great story. Would love to see a clean and healthy picture of him now if that is possible? He reminds me so much of my Jordan that I lost at the ripe old age of 18 a few years ago. I still miss that cat!

    1. There’re a few recent photos of Charlie at this post, Cari – https://themarvelousinnature.wordpress.com/2010/11/10/the-stray-kitten-a-year-later/

      Two there are from when we found him, but they’re labeled with the date. The rest are all after he regained good health.

      It’s amazing how much these animals worm their way into our hearts! Eighteen is indeed a good lifespan for a cat; it’s wonderful that you got to spend so much time with him.

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