Welcoming 'Sneaky' to the cat family

COURTESY PHOTO Sneaky, above, found respite from the cold with Mark Smith’s other two pets.

I have had cats for many years. While living with my Dad, my cat Sam moved up from Kansas to stay with us.

Dad was a dog person but he and Sam struck up a relationship. I fed them both a breakfast of eggs. They ate it together. Sam would always try to convince Dad he was starving and Dad fell for it often. I had to intervene to keep from over feeding.

Before Dad died I got Sam a companion, a tuxedo from the Humane Society named Sybil. I was glad to have Sybil, but Sam and Dad remained skeptics.

Dad passed away in May and then in June I lost Sam. He got old and his kidneys were failing. I held him as he crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

Months later I was at the Humane Society and after concluding my business I decided to look around at the cats.

I went into one room and a handsome Maine Coon named Lucky reached through his cage and smacked my jacket with his paw. I petted him.

Then I turned around to see other cats and whap, he smacked harder to the back of my coat. I decided that was a message and I borrowed a carrier and brought him home.

The two cats seemed to get along really well. They both liked to play fight. They napped together and could often be found playing with toys. They loved catnip and I gave them plenty.

If I took them outside in a big carrier they found ways to escape. I could always find them in the cat mint I had. Still, it was dangerous and my outside work was interrupted to chase them down.

I had noticed that Gene Stocks had a small window Catio on his house. I’d often drive by and see a cat enjoying the sun in the out of doors. I talked to Gene and he designed and built a large Catio for my cats. Lots of places to lounge and watch birds, nap and enjoy the outside.

In February of 2019 it was bitter cold. I recall some nights of -20. I had some food set out and left my one garage door a bit open so an animal could find shelter. I had some evidence that something did.

A friend visited me late one afternoon. He gave me a book he had just finished and I was glad to get it. We talked for a time and he rose to leave. He went out my back door to exit; and I remember calling out for him to slam it and listen for the click. Sometimes it didn’t shut all the way closed.

I passed the evening with the book. When tired, I went to bed and was sleeping soundly.

About 4 a.m. I got up. I felt how cold the house had become. I thought maybe the furnace had quit running.

I went to check and found the back door open and ajar. I slammed it shut and heard the click. I dressed in a heavy coat and work gloves. Grabbed a flashlight and after looking upstairs I went to inspect the basement. I had some fear that a raccoon or a possum might have entered the open door. I found nothing and went back to sleep.

Nothing seemed amiss after that incident. I fed the cats and cleaned their litter as always.

Three days after that night, as I was having my coffee and breakfast, I felt a motion by the food bowls. No mind, maybe a cat is just cleaning up scraps.

Suddenly a tiny kitten poked its head around and meowed. I was stunned. I didn’t move I just mumbled out a ‘Hello.’

She meowed some more, then I got up and put out more food.

Each day she would show up and let herself be known. I’d blink at her and answer back.

I added a third place and another litter box.

One day she came in further and jumped up in my chair. I couldn’t touch her but she would sit for awhile then disappear downstairs to a place unknown.

One day I was able to grab her by the scruff and go see Dr. Porter. We spayed her and got all the shots.

I thought about taking her to the Humane Society.

But, that didn’t seem the right thing to do. She was interacting with my other two and they all seemed to tolerate each other. So I decided that after her efforts she had earned the right to stay. And so she has.

I named her Sneaky in honor of her brave act.

With a temperature of -29, I doubt she would have survived and as fate would have it, a door was opened for both of us.

Please don’t purchase pets. There are many many animal available to good homes from the Humane Society. My two from there and my feral friend have all turned out to be great companions.

Life’s funny that way.

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