Sharon’s version of the story.
On a frigid December night around 12 years ago, I witnessed a stray cat run out of my neighbor’s garage. With the cold and snow, I knew kitten was in peril. By placing some food outside, I was able to attract it to my yard (it sure was hungry). It was a really feral cat that would not allow me to approach it. I continued to feed it over the next three days, and I observed that its ear had been clipped. It made me feel better to see that this cat had been “fixed.”
My husband built it as a one-of-a-kind home, complete with insulation, a rubber-coated roof, and a heated floor pad. We’d put the food in it so that it could eat warmly. It never stayed in the house after eating, preferring to sleep somewhere else. Since we were bringing food in the house twice a day, I suspected it didn’t feel comfortable to stay there.
But, it being winter, I couldn’t stomach the thought of it not having a warm place to sleep. So, in the front yard, we built a new house out of a plastic storage container, insulation, and, yep, another heating pad. We did this so it could feed and sleep in the warmth of the backyard (front yard).
It provided two square meals every day as well as shelter. It had its preferred sunbathing areas near our house, and we occasionally saw evidence of its excellent hunting abilities. I was never able to go close enough to pet it, despite it being accustomed to seeing and hearing us. I was, nevertheless, able to get within a close vicinity throughout the years.
The feline then began to limp on one of its front paws late last year. I fought it because I wanted to help it, but it wouldn’t let me get close enough. We reasoned that if we tried to trap it and failed, the kitty would flee and never return. I kept praying that whatever was ailing its paw would heal.
We set up a humane trap, but only when we were awake, because it was winter and I didn’t want it to be trapped out in the cold all night. I didn’t have high hopes that this feral, fearful cat would enter the trap.
We were sorely mistaken — we discovered it on night two! As we drove the trap to the animal hospital, the cries from the trap were heartbreaking. It was really afraid.
When we got to the hospital, they inquired if it was a boy or a girl, and I had no idea! I was never able to go near enough to get a good look. But I had a sneaking suspicion it was a female throughout the years. We gave her the name “Kiki” when we registered her (the name I always had in my mind). We advised them to give her all of her vaccines, deworm her, treat her for fleas and ticks, and examine her paw. Kiki would be admitted to the hospital and spend the night there.
They were able to remove the claw from her paw pad, clean it up, and give her an antibiotic shot that would endure for a long time. Then they said it’d be ideal if we could keep that paw dry for a week….ouch!
We were fortunate to borrow a huge dog cage from a neighbor and set it up in our garage as her temporary home. We were able to insert a box into the cage and place her heating pad inside. She had a protected bed, just as she had outside. We were surprised when she walked directly up to her heated pad, stopped screaming, and slept for hours after we put her in the cage. She was drained! She came out later that day to eat, drink, and use the litter box.
She didn’t cry when we cleaned her cage once a day and fed and watered her twice a day. I believe she was aware that we were there to assist her. We brought the cage outside for her release after a week. As we relocated her, she became a little apprehensive and began to wail. But as soon as she noticed the open door, she bolted.
Kiki has returned to her normal life with us. She’s back to her usual routine as if nothing occurred. But, most importantly, her limp has vanished! We’re pleased that we chose to set up a trap for her. She had to be in a lot of discomfort, and that may exhaust a cat. Kiki has reclaimed her position as Queen of the House, at least on the outer. After all, we have three indoor cats as well (all rescued from the outside at some point), and they like to believe they’re in charge!
Take a look at this video of this adorable cat: