The stray kitten, a year later

Charlie

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.

Stray cat
Nov 10, 2009

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.

Stray cat
Nov 10, 2009

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.

Charlie

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.

Charlie

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.

Animals at fireside
His favourite spot during the winter. He spends most of the day there.
Charlie
It took me a while to figure out what was happening when I'd come back from my walk with Raven to find strings of characters and strange windows opened on my computer. He likes the warmth under his belly.
catTV
His new second-favourite spot. Dan just put this up last week. The first day it was there, Charlie didn't move from the window until the birds stopped coming at dark. The birds quickly learned that the cats were trapped behind the glass and no threat.
Charlie and Ollie
He had zero interest in sitting on the screen porch last winter and spring, but once the weather turned nice he started investigating more. He'd spend hours out there in the sun. Now that the weather's cold again, he's back to staying close to the fire.
Charlie and puppy
No fear. This friendly puppy came wandering (had escaped the neighbour's yard) and cheerfully followed us into the house. The other cats disappeared. Charlie barely gave it a second look.
Charlie and Ollie
A rare sight. Usually only when everyone's feeling very dozy. Or chilly.
Charlie and Raven
Ditto. Charlie would like to be friends now. Raven hasn't forgotten those paws have claws, but maintains an uneasy truce.
Charlie
Helping us stack firewood. Or maybe investigating the open basement window hoping to get out, it was hard to tell.

Charlie

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Author: Seabrooke

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

16 thoughts on “The stray kitten, a year later”

    1. I’m sure Charlie will have the little pup schooled on the social hierarchy of the house pretty quickly, Julie! That said, once the other animal respects their place in the chain of command, Charlie’s a sweetheart with them.

  1. Lovely post and beautiful pictures of the furry family members. Charlie is a very handsome cat and lucky to have found such a nice home. We just took in a little stray ourselves…a wee little silver boy kitten we’ve named Patrick. Companion animals are a wonderfully entertaining and fulfuling addition to any home, IMO (we’re now up to 7!!!)

    1. It’s hard to resist the strays, TGIQ. You don’t want to leave them outside, but neither is it easy to take them to the local humane society; older cats have trouble finding homes. I’m glad you were able to find space to take another in!

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