My new neighborhood is very cat friendly, to the point where gangs of the mild mannered beasts roam its narrow streets with impunity. They sit around on the sidewalks, gazing at human pedestrians, and if you walk up to one of these furry loiterers, it won’t mind a gentle scratch on the neck.
So I wasn’t surprised when, a few weeks back, I noticed a cat slinking into my secluded backyard, making its way into my moss-covered and dilapidated shed where it made camp and stared at me through my back room window. The unusual part happened when the cat stuck around.
It was a bit too easy to befriend this animal, even for our neighborhood. The first time my girlfriend went outside and held out her hand, the cat ran right over and they were instantly friends. Seconds later, I made my first formal acquaintance with the creature, and we were all pals.
We named the cat Ferguson, because it was, while a handsome creature, also a matted-fur longhair with turds hanging off its ass. This led to a lot of awkward dodgings when the cat did what normal cats do and obsessively tried to rub itself against our legs.
But the desperation in the animal was radioactive. From the point of introduction, Ferguson slept in our backyard under a far off tree at the corner of our fence, and it didn’t leave. Any time he saw motion in our back room and any time we went outside, he would rush out from the shadows and rasp at us for attention until his voice grew hoarse. Ferguson sounded like a cross between a chain-smoker and the annoying fairy from Ocarina of Time. Hey! Hey! Listen!
Ferguson wanted in our house because it was obviously a housecat that had been abandoned. The facts that he was declawed and extremely comfortable with humans as well as his refusal to leave our backyard once he set up base were strong proof that Ferguson once had an owner who didn’t deserve him, and he wanted us to fill that space.
If my girlfriend and I didn’t already have two spoiled, absurdist kittens, we’d have taken Ferguson in following the quickest of groomings. But that wouldn’t have been fair to the beasts we were already responsible for. After we brought them to our new sanctuary they were just as shell-shocked over the new solitude as we were. A new cat would have wrecked them, so that wasn’t going to happen.
We did what we could to help him out: scooping food out onto the grass, filling up a can with drinking water, coming out to be around this sweet, neglected creature. But we couldn’t give him what he wanted, and there was a lot of guilt that followed each time we went back inside and shut the door on him, leaving him to stare through our blinds at an impossible safety.
We wouldn’t have let this situation stand under normal circumstances, but being that the weather was getting colder we decided that we had to find Ferguson a home as soon as possible. I put up a few feeble posts on Facebook to little avail, but my girlfriend had better luck. A coworker of hers was an established adopter and rehabilitator of strays, and she was looking for a second cat. After a few text conversations, the coworker walked into our backyard with her family and was immediately love-mugged by our feline hobo.
And that was that. The family returned the next day and took Ferguson off to the vet, after which he was taken to a home where I’m told he’s very comfortable and happy.
Once all the turds were snipped away, Ferguson ended up being a girl.
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