I mentioned HERE that I’ve fallen in love with a stray cat, Taco.
Things escalated quickly. We fell in love immediately. I had seen that cat from a distance, but once it took a nap in front of my house I felt attached. Once I named it, it was my love. Once I fed it, I had to find it and feed it every night, and I fell asleep reading about how to help stray cats, praying for its health and safety, and wondering if it was safe/alive. Once I started checking on it after work I had to find it after work every day and check on it, and once I started feeding it at night, I had to find it every night, visit it, talk to it, pet it, feed it, and love it! I see all these people walking around on their phones looking for pokemons and Im just over here with a can of sardines trying to catch stray cats!
I mentioned before I haven’t been familiar with cats in over a decade, and I only had one growing up. The more I looked at this cat up close, and once I started looking at it in daylight, I realized it really isn’t doing so well. The first time I petted it, I felt every bone. It was heart breaking. At first I was hesitant to take it in because of several factors,
-we have dogs, one is aggressive(BoBo) and has a lot of anxiety. She is 75% adorable angel, 10% hyper anxious mess, and 5% dangerous predator. She hasn’t killed anything, but she looks for hunting opportunities and gets that look in her eye. Shes on medication for anxiety, and we have to constantly monitor her to make sure my soulmate doesn’t get hurt.(NuggeT)
-I don’t want my dogs to get diseases, bacteria, fleas, mites, anything else they could get from the cat.
-What if I scare it by trying to catch it and it runs away and gets hurt, or wont let me come near it and help it any more?
-We have a new home and I really don’t need a flea infestation in our carpet, I moved into a bad flea infestation with Nugget once in college and it was a NIGHTMARE. I’m itchy just thinking about it. NEVER AGAIN.
-Where will I keep it to keep it safe from the dogs and not afraid or growled at or harassed, not getting into anything?
-What if it belongs to someone and taking it in means it will never find its way home?
-What if this causes stress and arguments between my husband and me, and probably because it will end up costing money.(And why does everything always have to be stressful and about money? Can’t I just fall in love with cats?)
-Our neighbor has called the cops several times over a few measley dog barks. also our community has a pet limit.
Okay, okay, enough random thoughts. I had been finding Taco in different locations at night and feeding it. One night I couldn’t find it, I just left the food where I fed the cat before, another neighbor had put out a water bowl for it, so I thought it would come back to that spot at some point. After work the next day I checked and the food hadn’t been touched. I walked around and couldn’t find taco. I was worried.
This cat is awesome by the way, he probably chills in the under- construction town homes when it rains. He also is not hesitant to plop down in the middle of the construction site and sunbathe.
So that night we walked our dogs around the neighborhood(We have to walk them late at night away from our neighbor since they can’t go in our own backyard anymore, in case somebody walks by and they decide to bark and we get to talk to the cops again!) So we saw it in another part of the community, and although BoBo had a barking fit and startled it,(she finally noticed it, normally she doesn’t see it!) I was still happy to see the cat. The time I had seen it last before then it was asleep in the heat and barely moved when I walked up.
So I went out after we put the dogs up, and I brought food and an electrolyte mix I made, I found the recipe online, and mixed it with some sardines. The cat happily ate. It was finally sinking in how bad off this cat was though. I couldn’t bring myself to just walk away. What if it was miserable inside after all this freedom? What If I tried to pick it up and got bit or scratched? I was scared. But Taco just purred. So I tried to lure it with the food towards my house, but it would stop every few steps and lay down to rest. Still scared of trying to pick it up and either injure it or scare it, I just kept luring it, but it seemed like it can’t see well and was going off of sounds and shadows maybe? So I was luring it and it decided to lay down in the middle of a road. A car drove past, and it didn’t move. Then another car came and asked it everything was okay, the cat got a little anxious and tried to walk away, without thinking I grabbed it, and it didn’t care really or was too extremely weak to fight me. So I picked it up gently, and carried it back to the house and put it in our yard for the night. We have a brick fence and metal gate so I figured at least I wouldn’t have to keep searching for it, I could see if it was eating easier, it wouldn’t get run over, and it was safe for now, in a new environment, but at least still outside so not a huge change. I left it outside with food and water for the night and in the morning I left it in the yard and went to work.
I thought of keeping it in the garage but I can’t tell if its cooler or hotter in there, than outside. The next day after work I put Taco in our sons unoccupied bedroom in a cage with a blanket, so the dogs could go outside. I gave it food and water, and I kept seeing online that cats like cardboard boxes, so I put a box in there. I took the lid of an old puzzle box and put some shreds of paper from a Thrive order, and some soil from a plant pot in there. The idea was that it would be a catbox. But the cat claimed it as a bed. Something about that made me so happy. Maybe I should have an indoor garden or sandbox for myself too : )
So I let it rest inside in the cool until Jake got home to supervise the dogs. (They have real bad separation anxiety and are loud about it) I gave Taco a bath. This was when I got really sad. I used coconut oil and epsom salts. When the cat was wet, all the fluffy fur soaked, he looked like a skeleton. My heart broke. The water was brown when I pulled the cat out and I wondered if he could really have been THAT dirty.
I continued with the out at night, and while I was at work, then inside in the cage out of the heat for the afternoon and evening. I knew I didn’t get all the fleas and he needed a better, stronger, deeper bath. So I did the coconut oil again, with a bit of borax, a bit of vinegar, and dawn.
The cat meowed but I washed him good but when I pulled him out this surge of brownish water happened again and I realized this was not just his dirty underside, which was originally filthy.
When I took him out and placed him on the floor a brownish pink liquid was squirting and dripping out under the cat. My heart broke.
I didn’t put the cat outside last night, I kept it in the cage overnight. I woke up Jake, it was almost 1am, and asked him what we can do. Making life decisions and money decisions that always have to have another person’s input is really really difficult. That’s one of the things I was not prepared for in marriage. I lost my independence in a lot of aspects, and although that’s a good thing in many ways, sometimes its really hard.
Jake didn’t realize how bad off the cat is, but I was afraid something was terribly wrong. So today I stopped by our vet to see if I could get a walk in appointment. We don’t have the money for any of this. We are in the middle of an adoption, our son has medical bills, and we’re building an orphanage. We don’t make much money to begin with. But at what point do u see a living being that needs you to at least try to help it LIVE and you say it isn’t worth the money you don’t have? : (
On a lighter note, our dogs know we are up to something and that we have a secret cat we are hiding from them. They smell it in the yard and they sniff the door of the room where it’s cage is, every opportunity they get. Nugget seems excited he has a secret sibling, BoBo seems anxious and she cries for attention more. She also gets to tracking the cats movements around the yard. Maybe she thinks we are replacing her… once she heard taco slurping some water, her eyes doubled in size her head turned sideways and she was shocked and intrigued. Like…. you guys have an animal in there you won’t let me see, and it’s EATING?! It’s probably that cat I barked at the field the other night ISN’T IT?!
I still don’t know if this cat is a boy or girl. It has saggy skin and I can’t tell. I don’t want to hold it by its front legs, look under it, or flip it over, it’s so fragile.
So I put the cat in a bag and drove to the vet. It kept it’s head down, did not try to escape the bag, and occasionally looked up and meowed.
I just stroked it’s head and it purred the whole way. I’m in the waiting room with the cat in the bag in my lap. It’s precious and pitiful and I really hope we can help it! Say a prayer for Taco!