Savannah's Paw Tracks

Autobiography of a Former Shelter Cat

Archive for the tag “real rescue stories”

Mr. Hissy On the Loose


Mom L, Dad P were at the animal services shelter to pick up a black feral cat we trapped in our own back patio.

When can I leave? A not happy Mr. Hissy in trap

He was neutered, vaccinated, flea treated and ready to be returned. We figured due to his chunky body he was being fed somewhere close by my castle.

Dad P, Mom L and Miss Sue, animal services’ Cat Specialist, went to the feral ward to pick up Mr. Hissy. The ward looks kind of like the one in this photo, and they have cages on all four walls. The room is about fifteen feet by eighteen feet (4.57 meters by 5.4 meters).

But all three were asked to leave the feral ward when Mr. Hissy became adamant about not wanting to leave his cage. The animal services Peep#1 and Peep#2 were trying to pry him from behind his feral den box and he was having no part of it. They were gonna have to open that cage so that’s why they vacated the room. Just imagine Mr. Hissy jamming his whole body behind his den box with his cage set up like the one in the photo below. He should’a been “in” the den box like this orange kitty, but nooooo—Mr. Hissy was BEHIND his den box!

Then all heck broke loose in that room!!!

Thud! Rrrrrrrrooowwwl…mrooowwwlll!!

Mom L hears Peep#1 in the feral ward hollering to her co-worker Peep #2—”Oh no! get the big gloves!”


“Holy smokes”, says Mom L. “That sounds like Mr. Hissy hit the door at the TOP!!”

Peep #2 shouts “Watch out! He’s climbing the walls!!

Scuffle, scratch…whoosh!

“He’s under there! Use the net handle to push him out! says Peep #1 in an urgent but calm voice.

Meowwww…huff, puff…meowwwwwwwww—”Mouses these Peeps are slow!!” thinks Mr. Hissy.

Clang! Ping! Clangity clang!

“There go the food dishes!”  whispers Dad P.


Peep #2 warns “Look out the water is everywhere!”

Mr. Hissy is just getting started in his run for freedom—”Sheesh…Peeps are gonna have to get smarter if they wanna get me back in that stoopid den box. It’s a tight fit for me.”

Feral Den Box

Kathunk!! “Ouch!! I Missed him! And that cement floor is hard! ” Peep #1 exclaims.

Screeeeeeeeech….yeowwzah…grrrr—”Maybe my growl will throw them off” Mr. Hissy mutters to himself.

Zoom…kazonk—”heh…heh…using the wall to launch from gave me a lot of speed!!” Mr. Hissy smirks proudly to himself.

Peep #1 urgently asks Peep #2 “Toss me the towel!”

“The towel??! Are you crazy???!!!  Did you hear that growl!!”

“Just give me the towel now!”

Zip! “Mouses again!!” shrieks Mr. Hissy. “How did I end up in this corner??!! Noooooooooo!!!”

Peep#1 exuberantly states  “Got him!! He’s a burrito cat now.”

Peep #1 used the old “toss a towel over his head” trick!!

“Double mouses!! That thing works every time!! It’s dark in here…hmmmmm…not bad after all…nice and dark and finally quiet. Maybe I’ll just let them think they won the day” giggles Mr. Hissy.

“Ok, quick open the den box. Good grief he sure has a big butt!” mutters Peep #2.

“Hey Peep! Watch who you are calling “big butt”!  I am nicely padded, that’s all” says an indignant Mr. Hissy.

Peep #1 emerges from the feral ward room, and proudly shows Mr. Hissy firmly caught in his feral den box. “Ok, Mom L, here is your Mr. Hissy to release back where he was trapped.” (Peep#1 and #2 were both wiping sweaty brows and upper lips).

“Mr. Hissy ought to nap all the way to his home.”

Mom L thanked the Peep#1 and #2 and hoped their day would get better after the Mr. Hissy adventure.

Mom L over hears Peep#1, considered by fellow workers to be Queen of the Feral Cat Ward, say—”I live for this excitement!”

As you can imagine, Mr. Hissy was not happy once he got home. He had made himself comfy and was taking a much needed nap when Dad P tried to get him to leave his feral den box! Mr. Hissy lived up to his name and uttered several meaningful growls.

Let me know what ya think of Mr. Hissy’s Adventure in comments!! Purrsonally, I am giving Mr. Hissy 10 points but I have to give the Queen of the Feral Ward 12 points!!!


And The Happy Tail Endings Keep Coming


Sure hope you aren’t gettin’ bored with all my Happy Tail Endings lately. And if you are then you might not wanna come back to visit me for a while ‘cuz I have a bunch more coming along!

Mom L has been working with the primary feeder of a long standing cat colony very close to our new home. When she first met the feeder, Miss Tina, they both talked about a new member of the colony who was clearly not yet “fixed”.

Now you might wonder just “how” does a human determine whether or not a cat is “fixed”. What I am about to show you is X Rated, yet necessary to demonstrate how Mom L knew she had to get this cat “fixed” fast!

Sorry to be so graphic, BUT, in a community cat colony it is not easy to tell if a new member is spayed or neutered. Thankfully this cat was obviously NOT neutered! The lady cats require a more thorough “investigation” and often they do not tolerate this intrusion. Fortunately Marmalade, as a short furr male cat made it obvious.

He was so friendly and loved receiving pets and head rubs. So Mom L just tossed some kibble into a cat carrier and he walked right in!!. Off he went to our wonderful caring Contra Costa Animal Services shelter.

Mom L wanted him to have a name so she called him Marmalade. She saw that he had a swollen eye and just knew he must have a wound or perhaps a Cat Cold. Good thing she took him right away to the shelter. You see, Marmalade had a condition called “Entropion“. His eyelashes were growing inward and were constantly rubbing on his eye ball. OUCH!!

Thankfully, Marmalade found immediate care at the shelter. They neutered him, and also repaired his eye lash growth. Now Marmalade was not a happy camped because he had to have the cone on, but when Mom L visited him, all he wanted was a good chin scritch!

Here you can see Marmalade in his three to four month time at this cat colony.

Such a handsome mancat, don’t you think?

He was a gently member, never ever shoving any other cat away from the food bowls. You can see him circled in red.

Now for the Happy Tail Ending. Marmalade had his stitches removed and his cone removed—and within twenty-four hours he found his forever family. A couple wanted an adult cat, who was loving and who wanted affection. When the adoption counselor opened the cage where Marmalade was being kept due to his medical treatment—well…Marmalade just about LEPT into their waiting arms!!

And there you have it! Another Happy Tail Ending proving yet again that cats deserve adoption, even if they have lived in a cat colony!!




Compassion for a Senior Feral Cat


I asked Savannah to allow me to tell a story about a senior feral cat I recently met. There is a community cat colony within walking distance of our home. Fortunately, a friend who is a skilled cat trapper has already trapped almost all the cats for spay, neuter. I will tell you more about this colony in another post.

My time with you today is to share the story of a senior feral cat from this colony as I know it. I have only known him for about two months. There are about thirty five cats in this colony which has been in this location for over fifteen years. I walked around one day by myself and I saw a cat on one of the hillsides. I got closer because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

The black cat on the hill appeared to have no ears! I moved slowly forward to try for a better look and photo. Unfortunately my photos are blurred but you can see that indeed he appeared to have no ears.

And yet what I discovered was that they were collapsed forward and inward. Once the feeder arrived I asked about this black cat, with no name. She said he was about three to four years old in 2006 when they took him to a vet about his ears being damaged. That would make him about fifteen to sixteen years old now. They were told he had cancer, but was otherwise fine. They determined to bring him back to his colony and watch his health. His ears grew worse and worse and yet here he was twelve years later, alive. But was he truly “well”.

I asked if I could trap him to get him to see a Vet at the Community Concern 4 Cats feline clinic for community cats. You see, I was finally able to view his ears up close while he was eating.

The earless black cat is behind the bench so I used the bench to lean over him, and his ears were very raw, torn, infected and yes, bleeding. The tree above the bench is the one I would often find this kitty sleeping in when I arrived to help feed or just visit. I believe that some of the other cats were beginning to sense his weakness and perhaps took advantage of it. He would always greet me with a soft “meow” then come down from his tree bed.

He loved roasted chicken so the feeder brought some on the day I would try to trap him. For some reason that day, none of the other cats arrived for feeding time—except this one. I put the cooked chicken in the set trap and placed it near him. He did not even run. He did love his chicken! He followed that chicken trail right onto the trap trigger plate and I had him!

We kept him in our garage over night for his early morning appointment next day. We knew he was at least twelve to fifteen years old. We gave him food and water but removed the food dish—which was empty—as we knew he needed to fast over night. Interestingly, he meowed to us softly a few times when we would check on him. He never hissed and only growled once when he was trapped—who wouldn’t growl at that!!

I doubt he was ever a totally feral cat as they do not typically “meow  talk” to humans.

I had already talked with the feeders to get their permission to have this senior fellow euthanized if his ears and general health could not be effectively treated. We all agreed on this.

However, talking about euthanizing a senior feral who has never bothered anyone, simply lived his life in his colony with a view, is easier than doing it.

Strider’s view from his hilltop feeding station

I knew he had lived a good long life with feeders and park visitors and maintenance crew who all treat the cats with respect and caring. His view of the Northern California Delta was pretty amazing and free!

Fog coming up the delta from San Francisco bay

Nonetheless, I was wishing I had found him when he was younger—perhaps I could have helped socialize him or at least find what his food allergies were. On and on went my self questioning.

Dad P and I could not take him to the clinic without giving him a name. Because he was wise and had not had a true home, we named him Strider. That is a character in JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. We believe his name suited him very well with his coat of dark shiny black fur that allowed him to blend in with shadows just like the “Strider” in the books.

I was allowed in the exam room, after they sedated him, to join the Vet in her exam. Before the Vet began to go over what she observed about his condition and health, she asked me to keep in mind his “quality of life”.

His ears were the apparently the result of year upon year of likely food allergies, not cancer. This could be temporarily treated but he would be right back in a month —needing to be trapped again and sedated to give him more antibiotics and treatment for his ears, and this would go on month after  month. For those of you who feed large feral colonies, you know it is next to impossible to manage a cat with such a severe food allergy.

And then the Vet informed me that her even greater concern for his quality of life was his mouth. She opened it wide so I could see all the infected gums and teeth that were the worst I have ever seen. And not many left either. The clinic did not have dental cleaning equipment and even if they did, she said he would have to go through multiple sedation procedures and then not likely that all his dental infections would resolve.

She left the decision to me, which I truly appreciated. I was alone with Strider and I stroked his pretty shiny black fur—even having lived outdoors for at least fifteen to sixteen years, his fur was in lovely condition. His feeders fed him well!

And so I stroked Strider, told him I loved him as the Vet and I helped him on his painless way to The Bridge. The loving feeders of this colony miss seeing Strider as do I. But Strider needed us to show compassion for him and his declining lack of quality of life.

I can’t say enough positive thanks to the Vet and staff at the Community Concern 4 Cats clinic. They were kind to me and ever so gentle with Strider. His body will be cremated and his ashes spread at a local kitty cemetery. That seemed a loving place for Strider, don’t you think?


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