Oh, Mr. Nut-Case, where to begin? Nutter’s cat rescue story happened way back in 2002. At the time, I was living in a one-bedroom apartment in Raleigh, North Carolina with my golden retriever, Theo. Theo had his fair share of “issues” that I was working on improving. One of those issues was his dog-reactivity and not sharing with other dogs, or, we would soon find out, cats.
Around fall of 2002, Theo was getting focused on my porch. I couldn’t figure out why he would randomly bark at the slider, until one day I saw an orange cat jump out of my porch and run off. Oh, boy. I couldn’t have Theo getting worked up about a cat that decided to sleep on my porch, so I would shoo the orange cat away every time I saw him. This ended up being a daily occurrence. I’m not sure why – I mean, I was shooing him, Theo was barking at him, and there were plenty of other porches to visit.
As the temperature started to drop, the cat lover in me emerged. I just couldn’t help myself. I decided to make a cozy outdoor shelter for the cat. I purchased a cat carrier and rounded up some blankets. I faced the opening of the carrier about 5′ away from the side of the inside wall of the porch, placed some blankets around and inside the carrier, and covered the carrier, leaving an opening to get in and out. Oh, and I also bought some cat food and dishes.
I then needed to work with Theo at ignoring our outdoor friend. Luckily, Theo was pretty easy to focus and motivate to pay attention to me, even when his emotions were elsewhere. I started to see the orange cat hop into the porch area, eat the food, drink the water, and go into his cave. In the morning, he would hop out and go on who knows what kind of adventures.
As the days passed, the orange cat spent more time on the porch. I thought I would actually try to say hello to the cat, but he panicked when he saw me and jumped away and took off. But, he would always come back for the food and his sleeping cave. I decided to toss him meat pieces every time the cat and I were on the porch at the same time. Oh, I think I was on to something. The cat became braver with every encounter; he still startled with every movement, but would then hop back over to get more food.
Through the month of November, the orange cat really started to show some improvement, so I decided it was time to bring Theo on the porch with us. Things were going well. My hope was that I could work with the orange cat and help him overcome his fear so that I could take him into a cat rescue. I didn’t want him so fearful that nobody would adopt him and he’d spend a lot of time in a shelter environment, possibly getting more fearful every day. Slowly, I became able to pet him and feed him by hand. He enjoyed it, but was always very skittish and would dart at the slightest change in movement, only to return a moment later.
On December 3rd they were calling for a terrible winter storm. I knew this was no time for the orange cat to be outside. I purchased a HUGE, shallow plastic container and filled it with cat litter. I turned my bookshelf on its side to block off an area in my living room for the litter box, that Theo would not have access to. I then put Theo in our bedroom and shut the door. I opened the porch door that lead to my newly created cat area, lured the orange cat in with meat treats, then shut the door behind him. What was I getting myself into?
It actually wasn’t difficult bringing the orange cat inside the house! I was so afraid he was going to pee all over, run, or try to get out, but he was perfect. I put a towel in a laundry basket for him, and he took to the “bed” like he owned the place.
December 4th, Raleigh, NC got hit with a huge ice storm. It was a major event. Luckily the three of us were doing really well. I was in total shock, to be honest. After a few days when the storm damage was cleared out and Raleigh was back to normal, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to just put the orange cat back outside. I guess there wasn’t a better time than the present to call the cat rescue to take him.
When I called, they explained how full they were because of the ice storm, and asked if I could keep him until they had a spot open. I obliged. I decided since he was inside, I better call him something. The orange cat was an intact male with big……….so I decided to call him Nutter. About a month later, the rescue called me with an opening. Well, Nutter and Theo were getting along very well, we only had a few issues at the time, and Nutter was really trying to fully trust me and overcome his fears. And that was all she wrote. Nutter has been part of my family ever since and he’s been an amazing cat.
Enjoy Nutter The Cat teaching Dexter The Dog (puppy) how to interact with a cat. 😉
What’s your cat story? Tell me in the comments.
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