It was a year ago today that Dan discovered a small orange-and-white kitten huddled in the field at the back of our 30 acres and brought him back to the house. He settled right in from the start, friendly with both us and Raven, and very quickly won us over, despite some initial reservation regarding adding another animal to the household. Since I posted about him the day he was found, I thought I’d do a follow-up on how he’s doing now.
When he first arrived, he was starving. He was nothing but skin and bones, so thin you could feel his backbone through his stomach. He had joint problems, his back legs walked stiffly. At the vet’s office, he weighed in at a tiny 3.8 lbs (1.7 kg). He was so small, I’d initially thought he was a three- or four-month-old kitten, but the vet examined his mouth and said he had all of his adult teeth, some of which were even starting to show a bit of tartar build-up, and so was most likely at least a year old. There’s no way to know how long he was wandering around out there, but it was long enough that the poor nutrition stunted his growth severely.
Despite his obvious hardships, he was still extremely friendly, not the least bit skittish. We got him on antibiotics, bought some high-cal kitten food to try to put some weight back on his frame, and quarantined him in my study for a couple of weeks until we were sure he had nothing bad that the other cats might catch. His runs cleared up, his wet nose improved a bit, and he started to round out a bit. We finally decided to keep him by default – while we waffled over what to do, we’d grown too attached to this charismatic cat.
We named him Charlie. Now he weighs about 7 lbs (3.2 kg), and he’s convex instead of concave. It took a couple of months, and a neutering, but the social dynamics have all smoothed themselves out among the other members of the family. Despite being half their size, Charlie holds rank over the other two cats, although Ollie still struggles to come to terms with this fact. He could even cause Raven to vacate a space for a while, the result of a few good swats in response to Raven’s misinterpreted friendliness (they’ve come to an understanding, most of the time). He had a very short fuse when he first arrived, but with lots of love and food security he’s mellowed out considerably.
I’ve never met a cat with so much personality. Charlie has two cats’ worth of character packed into half a cat of body. He’s so much a part of the family now, it’s funny to think we ever considered giving him away.