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NIGHTMARE - DIARY OF A STRAY BLACK TOM CAT
Part 1 - Human - DAY 1
THE MYSTERY "MEOW"
I was sitting in my lounge room watch telly the other night when I heard someone "meow". When I say someone I of course mean one of my two cats Vegemite and Charlotte. I mute the telly and listen again to which of my cats was yelling at me to come and do something for them. The "meow" came again and I recognised it immediately, it was the voice of the stray that had been coming by my yard at all hours for the past 3-4 months causing havoc with my fur family. He had been waking us all up in the night and is the cause of Vegemite spraying in my house (yuk).
At first when he visited and called for my cats I thought it was Charlotte having a nightmare and talking in her sleep (don't actually know if cats dream), then one night I awoke at 2am to find Vegemite 3 times his normal size growling at the door. We had a family meeting and decided we would send Chelsea(the old busted kelpie dog) out to chase him away. She was the biggest, fastest and even in her pj's, the scariest. With some encouragement from us she took off after the stray (she respects cats and chasing them is not something she would do normally). I immediately thought "why did I send the old, busted, half deaf and blind dog, she will probably come back broken" , lucky she came back unharmed and we didn't see the stray cat for a while.
Last Sunday our caller came again, this time early at 8:30pm. We had another family huddle and it was decided that I would go and approach the stray and see if I could talk him into being captured without a struggle. In the dark I head out into the paddock in my pj's with no real plan of attack to catch this black cat. I approach him to see if he is friendly and he comes up for a sniff, about this time my back up arrives, Vegemite, Charlotte and Chelsea, they of course were no help at all so I abandon my location to take these trusted agents back to the house and to get some food for the cat (quickest way to a males heart is with food, right ladies?) Good move, immediately I have the stray convinced I am not the enemy. He starts to take food from me and we make friends. Ok so we are making progress but what the hell am I going to do if I actually catch him?????
I nip off and grab and old wire chicken cage (lucky to have one of them handy huh) and open it in preparation of success. I head back to the cat and bugger me he lets me pick him up. So what does the dumb human do now? I complete negate his trust of course and stuff him (quite literally) into the cage hoping to get my hands out without them being shredded by the stray black cat. To his credit the cat takes this all in his stride and doesn?t hiss at or scratch me.
THE SCARY CHICKEN CAGE
At this stage I am really feeling for the little black stray, despite me wrangling him hasn't shown any signs of aggression and is now showing me affection despite him being all alone, trapped and yowling in distress. I can only speculate on his life so far, he has obviously been someone's cat but where did he come from and why is he hanging at my house in the middle of the night? Has he been dumped or is he just lost? These are the questions I can't answer tonight so I give him some food, water and a towel to sleep on and call it a night. I will take him to work tomorrow (luckily my boss Richard is on a day off) and see if he is microchipped and has an owner. I collapse into bed exhausted from all these shenanigans only to then have another sleepless night from all the meowing from the little black stray ? What a nightmare!!
Part 2 - Stray Black Cat - DAY 2 through to 7
THE COLD STABLE
I awoke this morning feeling very unrested, I look around and find myself trapped in a small wire cage in a stable or something. SHIT ? what have I gotten myself into now? I use my sense of smell and realise I am in a familiar place. I have spent a lot of time marking out territory trying to find myself a home and I have definitely been here before.
I hear something??.......Someone's coming???........ Oh, it's the human who has that house where the two cats and the dog live. I have been checking this place out for ages hoping she would take me in, her two cats are always telling me how good they have it, they sleep on the bed, get heaps of food and lots of pats and cuddles. I have been sleeping in the hay shed at her house through the winter because it's warm and there are mice I can catch. Oh I get it, she has decided she is gonna keep me....yes......score!!! My hard work has paid off.
THE ADVENTURE BEGINS - THE STEEL CAGE
She comes in and picks up the cage I am in, before I know it I am in a different little cage and am put in one of the big metal things that go very fast that I have seen on the road. Yikes this one smells like a dog, I wonder if they all do, OMG the dog is in the back seat? I'm gonna get eaten. We arrive at new place I haven't been here before, I get taken in and put in this steel cage. Yikes there are SO many smells here, dogs, cats, human, birds, rabbits, poo, wee, food. What could this place be? I get given some more food and another towel is sit on, the lady gives me a pat and then leaves me....She's just left me....i'm alone........this is bad bad news. I wait .....and I wait..... the door is opening...oh she is back, great she hasn't left me. She gives me another pat and then leaves me again. This happens a few more times, still not sure what this place is.....then the worse thing happens, this OTHER lady comes in, who is this!!!
(My Steel Cage at the Vets)
She picks me up and takes me to another room, she pokes me, squeezes me, opens my mouth, runs this little plastic thing all over me, feels my balls (crikey!!), pulls at my legs, looks in my ears and then two of the worse things that have ever happened to me. She sticks and really sharp thing in my arm (I didn't like that one bit) AND THEN!! she put this thing up my bum and held it there until it beeped.What is with that???? Oh no I have figured it out, I am at that place the other cats talk about I'M AT THE VET. The lady that has just assaulted me puts me back in my steel cage and shuts the door. A bit of time passes so I decide to try and get some sleep, I've only just shut my eyes and the butt stick lady is back again, this time she sticks a little pill down my throat and this liquid smelly stuff on the back of my neck, then she is gone again..... This place is insane, not sure I wanna stay here. Later that day the nice lady who brought me in comes and sits with me for a bit, she lets me out of the steel cage but I am a bit scared so I hide under the cages, the nice lady offers me some food so I come out again and then I decide I am probably safest in the steel cage so I get back in there. The nice lady shuts me in and then leaves me again. She is gone for a very very long time, I have food, water, a towel and this strange plastic thing with some sand in it. It has gotten dark out so I decide to call it a night and get some sleep. I am safe here so things could be a lot worse.
GROUND HOG DAY
For the next 6 days and nights my day is pretty much the same, the nice lady comes in and cleans the smelly mess I have in my steel cage, she gives me a pat and lets me out to stretch my legs. I am feeling a bit better about being here now and I think I am going to be ok, lots of nice people come in to me during the day and pat me and cuddle me. They are all very gentle with me. They have been calling me NIGHTMARE so I guess that is my name now. The two cats at the place I was squatting at when I was captured did say that you will get a name when you get an owner. Guess that means I am someone's cat now??
PART 3 - DAY 8 - Medical point of view - This is serious business
THE BIG DAY
Today is the day! Nightmare is having his operation this morning. We have been looking after him for a week and I phoned the rangers and they confirm he is finally FREE. He can be castrated and rehomed. His procedure is a routine and quick affair. Today we will be microchipping aswell, he will then be fully compliant with the cat laws, all he will need is registration with his new owner at the City of Busselton - Ranger Services . Hopefully he will recover well and be ready to go to a new owner this week. He has been a good boy this week. He is still learning to use his litter tray properly and castrating him should help with that. All we need to do is find him an owner!!! (hint,hint)
THE PROCEDURE - CAT CASTRATION
Nightmares day starts badly, he is not able to have any breakfast because of his surgery today and for him that is pretty much the worse thing. We have discovered that he is a comfort eater, every time you go to pat him or do something to him he dives into his biscuit bowl for comfort. Emma is his nurse today and she performs his pre op check, checks his heart, takes his temperature (another butt stick) and gets his blood sample. Emma puts his blood in the machine to make sure he is healthy for surgery today. He gets the all clear and has his pre surgery medication (premed). This is great stuff, I go out to check on him and he is completely off his face. He is as high as a kite. Emma takes him out of his cage and brings him to the surgery table, he is sedated and Dr Andrew performs the procedure. The operation doesn't take long and he is back in a warm bed, wrapped in a blanket before we know it. Within an hour he is up and about again and looking for his biscuit bowl. He doesn't need a lot of post operative care, he has no sutures and shouldn't need a bucket on his head. He will just need to be kept warm and quiet for the next few days. He is pretty laid back so I reckon he can handle that.
This is me getting sterilised - Nightmare
THE HARDEST PART
Now begins the most difficult part of Nightmares story, finding a loving home. There is a real problem in Busselton with people not doing the right thing and sterilisation their cats. We have an abundance of cats looking for homes. SAFE Busselton have an army of cats looking for homes who are currently in foster care and the other vet clinic have an adoption centre which is always overflowing with cats. I am beginning to wonder if I will be able to find Nightmare a new home, the crew here think I should rename him "Cuddles" or something cute to attract people, I reckon his life has been a "Nightmare" and he now deserves a safe place to live.
DOING THE RIGHT THING
I don't want to go on about responsible cat ownership but after many years in the vet industry it really is heartbreaking to have to destroy stray cats who can?t be rehomed. It's also devastating when our clients bring in their well loved family cats to us only to discover that they contracted Cat Aids or Leukaemia off the local disease carrying stray. Only last week I had a client in despair at a stray cat that has been coming and spraying all over this back door and verandah, he even said he came home one day to find it in his house. These straying cats were or once were someone's cat. It is not the stray fault that their human has let them down
POP THE QUESTION
For all of you that are still reading, THANKYOU, Nightmare and I would like to ask you one question. Can you help us find a home for him? It doesn't have to be you but you might know someone who has the time for him. He is castrated, vet checked, FIV/FelV Tested, flead, worm, microchipped and is a lovely little fella. He'll need some help with his toilet training but he is a fast learner. He is super affectionate and loves his belly being rubbed. Come and meet him if you like
I am very pleased to report that Nightmare has found a lovely home with a local farming family. He has been there for about a month now and is getting on well with the whole family including the dog and cat. I received some photos last week on him cuddled up on the lounge. They have decided to rename him Shadow and I have my fingers crossed that he will live happy ever after. I am also very happy to report that my household has gone back to normal and that my two cats are much happier now that we don't have a stray hanging around.