Well! It has been quite the week...
So back at the end of December, I took in a shy but lovely foster kitty named Grace.
At first, she was very timid, hiding up in a tire on the cat-room wall. But with patience and love, she came around, with the help of sardines and some extra TLC from my cat-whisperer friend Sharron. Grace started to purr when we pet her, giving us a glimpse of her sweet personality. It wasn't long before Grace was offered a fur-ever home. I was thrilled when my friend's mom-in-law and husband adopted Grace. They are seniors, and it would be a quiet, loving home for Grace. And my friend, who was smitten with this grey girl, but whose own hubby is allergic to cats, would get to see Grace regularly!
So this former denizen of the Miss Hawkesbury restaurant parking lot went off to live in her beautiful new home. My friend's son (Grace's owners grandson) built Grace a wonderful big scratching post. They bought Grace an amazing cat tree and put it by the kitchen windows, and she perched there as she dreamed of assassinating the fat mourning doves and twitching Chickadees that came and went form the feeders just beyond the glass. Grace's new cat-parents absolutely doted on her.
Then just over a week ago, the front door was accidentally left ajar. Grace saw her chance, and scooted out in search of adventure.
And didn't come back!
Search parties were arranged. Posters were stuck to poles. "LOST CAT" posts flooded the internet.Veterinary clinics and the OSPCA were called, and everyone in the village that Grace lives in was alerted to her absence. Sharron and I went down to look for her one day, and then Sharron kindly went back on her own a few more times to search for Grace in the snow. Grace's owners also continued to call out to and look for her. They put her bed and litter box outside, hoping that her own scent would show her the way home.
Then they heard reports of a new grey cat hanging out at the feed mill down the street. So they borrowed a live trap from me, and set out to catch this cat. Which they did, last Saturday.
Grace took the lure of tuna and went straight into the trap. Her owners picked up the trap and noted that Grace was, well, a bit wild, but what cat wouldn't be spooked by such an experience? Trapping is hard on cats. Grace had been trapped before when Operation Spay + Neuter in Hawkesbury rescued her from a restaurant parking lot. So Grace's humans put the cage in the trunk and drove home,. They brought the cage inside, and let Grace out.
Grace freaked out a bit, which really wasn't like her, but still, it had been a traumatic experience. She bolted from the cage and made a beeline for the TV cabinet. Then she left there and booted it for the bedroom., where she again promptly hid. Her owners put a litter box and food nearby. The box was used, the food disappeared, but still Grace continued to hide. And then, just a soupçon of doubt... Grace's hu-mom emailed me:
It may be Grace. I'm still not sure.
Grace continued to hide. Suspicion continued to grow.
It may be Grace. I still can't see her whole body.
The village Grace lives in isn't very big. Really, how many new stray grey cats could be showing up there the same weekend that Grace disappeared? But something wasn't right. Grace's hu-mom emailed me again:
I still can't get a good look at her. Bedroom smells "feedmill". I'm not sure if a cat can pick up the scent of where it has been or if this cat has lived there for a while.
We all wanted this cat to be Grace. Everyone was devastated by her disappearance, and just wanted Grace back in her cozy bed. But instead, Grace was hiding out under the bed and refusing to interact with her humans. There was no growling, hissing, or spitting, but there was no purring either. When her hu-mom reached under the bed to stroke Grace's back, she closed her eyes and cowered. They could touch Grace, but she made no effort to move towards them. Another email arrived...
1:30 on Monday.Grace (if it is her)continues to be elusive.
You can see where this is going. At this point, I was pretty sure we were dealing with:
Then, another message:
I don't think this cat is Grace.
Yeah, me neither. Much as I wanted it to be Grace, much as we all did, unless she had had a lobotomy, this cat was not Grace. But then, a glimmer of hope! Another email arrrived:
There is another grey cat that comes toward the house every evening , sometimes goes under the deck. It looks more like "Grace" size-wise but I have not been able to catch it or get really close to it.
Whaaaaat!? That HAD to be REAL GRACE! Once again, Sharron went over to help. She suggested that Grace's owners set the live trap next to the deck where cat footprints had been seen. The trap was baited with delicious, stinky tuna. At 9:30 last Thursday night, a week after Grace had disappeared, I got a call from her hu-mom.:
I caught a grey cat! I'm SURE it's Grace. When I stick my fingers in the trap, she meows and comes over to me.
Jubilation! Grace was home! My friend Sharron, who had by this point lost hope, woke up at 11 pm to read to my joyful text message:
She got Grace in the trap! And if it's not Grace, we will soon have caught every grey cat in the village!
We all slept well for the first time in a week.
But now what to do about FAKE GRACE camped out in real Grace's home? Sharron did manage to get a photo of him/her, hiding under the bed...
Well, I messaged my friend Elizabeth at Operation Spay + Neuter, who had originally trapped Grace. She came down with me on a mission to catch the imposter.
Elizabeth is very experienced with catching cats: ferals, scared kitties, you name it. She's a pro. She came with me down to Grace's place, and quickly sized up the situation. The kitty under the bed was scared. not feral. Kitty also had a substantial set of testicles! And within ten minutes, Liz had gently scruffed him and put him in the cat carrier.
And he is now in a room in my barn, awaiting a vet visit and neutering. What comes after that, I'm not sure, but we named him Grayson, and he is now safe. Still hiding, but safe. No doubt Sharron will soon be working her sardine magic on him.
And Grace has her home back to herself...
I don't think she is the least bit sorry for the worry she caused! But her family is so happy to have her back. Her hu-mom called it the week from hell. I am just so relieved this sweet girl is back where she belongs. She really does have the best family. And the front door that was left ajar is being repaired so that it closes properly.
Maybe a week on the run in the snow will convince Grace that the outdoor life is no longer for her! And things are looking better for Grayson, too, now that he's off the streets, and the credit have rolled on this feline version of Trading Places.
Grayson doesn't look sorry either.
In other news, check out this pic of my former foster kitty George, aka Pirate Kitty, who was adopted by Sharron...
Isn't he magnificent?
And next Saturday, March 24th, I am holding another fundraiser to raise money for the veterinary care for my foster kitties...
If you would like to attend, let me know! Contact info is the flyer. We are an hour east of Ottawa and an hour west of Montreal.
And as you can see, cat rescue is not for the faint of heart! Many thanks for all the supportive comments on my previous post. I am going to keep doing this crazy foster cat thing! Have a great weekend.