I’ve read a couple of posts recently about animals and pets that came to sad end. So, to balance things out a little, here’s a story that doesn’t (come to a sad end that is).
Long ago and far away there was a cat called Tiger (the picture above is a dead-ringer for the guy). He wasn’t called Tiger to start with, only after we’d rescued him, but after we’d rescued him, Tiger was a good name. He was seriously aloof and had a penchant for digging his claws into anything. Drapes were a favorite, but armchairs or human flesh were a close run second. Anyway, he had character and moved with us to drapes-a-new on a several of occasions.
One of those moves led us to build a house in one of the many great towns in Devon. It was on one of the rare flat patches of that county. Eight other people were building houses around us and several were still in the process when we moved in, so lorries were frequently in the neighborhood.
Tiger (now joined by several other waifs and strays we’d acquired along the way) loved the area, largely on account of the fact there was a large wood and manor house behind us – an ideal hunting ground.
One day we returned home and fed the cats as usual, only Tiger wasn’t there. He never missed the opportunity to eat, so this was unusual. By the end of the evening it was a unique.
We fruitlessly searched the neighborhood, the woods (great fun when all you’ve got is a flashlight and you know there are traps in there), and the half built houses. There was no sign of him in the morning either.
The days went by, and I kept imagining I would walk around a corner or into a room and he’d be there, just like he always was. Only he never was.
Two weeks later I was giving up hope, but one evening I returned home to find the light flashing on the answer-phone. A quaint sounding little old lady left a message about finding a cat with our name and address. Sure enough she had found him. He was thin, scraggy, and incredibly glad to see us. He even kept his claws in check for the reunion. The most amazing thing was the fact that this little old lady lived forty miles away.
We put his traveling down to having jumped on a delivery truck, kept him in for a few days, and he gradually got back to his old ways (mainly the ones involving his claws). After three days it was definitely time to let him back out in the neighborhood, the drapes couldn’t take any more.
That evening the house was one cat short for dinner. I couldn’t believe it. Maybe he was just staying out late? Nope, one more fruitless search of the woods confirmed that. I scoured the building sites in the morning, but there was no sign of him.
I went to work miserable, but returned home to a blinking answer-phone light. Sure enough the little old lady had Tiger. This time he wasn’t thin and scraggy, but he did seem pretty pleased to be rescued.
Returning home I let him out of the car and watched him touring the half built homes. Our neighbors returned home and we chatted about having rescued him again. Tiger in the meantime disappeared under the neighbors truck. We got curious, but couldn’t see him. Eventually we popped the hood and found Tiger happily curled up in the engine bay. What’s more he’d been in there before, all the soundproofing had been clawed to shreds.
It turned out this neighbor was a mine inspector and travelled all over Devon, in particular, to a mine just across the river from a little old lady…
That Tiger been able to survive inside the engine compartment was a miracle. He’d clung on as the truck wound around the twisty roads of Devon, and the rough ground of several mines. Even more amazing was that he seemed prepared to give it another go!
Every morning afterwards, our neighbor’s morning ritual was to open the hood of his truck and evict Tiger before driving to work. Of course, Tiger’s ritual was to wait for him to return and crawl back into a warm engine bay.
Fortunately, thick gloves are standard issue to mine inspectors.
How about you? Got a pet related good luck story to share?
I LOVE happy endings like this, Nigel.
Thanks for the warm-and-fuzzy aw-shucks start to my week.
The only “happy ending” I have doesn’t have the same impact as your story — unless you were the owners of two labs who took off running after something in the yard one night.
And, that something was a skunk.
And, your two 70 plus pound labs hopped around the skunk, ignoring calls from the porch to “come.” It’s a little known fact that even properly trained Labs have inexplicable bouts of hearing loss.
I knew the tomato juice remedy for skunk sprays was false. It only produces a smelly, pink dog. I was on Google, researching ways to remove the smell, when Syd and Molly chose to give up their game and return to the porch.
No smell! That skunk hadn’t sprayed either of them. Go figure.
Boy, that was lucky. Once a year a skunk and goodness-knows-what have a disagreement outside out house and the place is, er, interesting for a day or two! I’m interested to know how you know your dogs would turn pink. Anything to admit here?
A friend of a cousin of one of my co-worker’s college roommates once tried the tomato juice on her white
PLUS! It’s on the Internet, so — in keeping with its inventor, Al — it has to be true.
My husband has shot more skunks in our back yard than Al had “happy endings” to his massages.
Even young Molly runs for the back door when she hears the sound of a shell being chambered in a shotgun.
Ah well, if it’s on the internet it has to be true 😉
Dog-lover at heart, I am now mom to not one but two cats, Lily and Tucker, both rescues.
Lily had been anonymously abandoned at the local humane society, pregnant. She lost the kittens, and the vet guessed her to be about a year old. A sweet-natured tortoise-shell, she spent nearly a year in a cage. Prospective parents were apprehensive of what we call her love bites, which, incidentally, all but disappeared once she was secure in our home. They are truly love bites, gentle nibbles when she is in her most lovey-dovey mood. We found Lily when, in a last-ditch effort to find her a home, the humane society transferred her to the pet store down the street from us. On my way home from grocery shopping, I saw her in the window. Hubster often says he can’t believe no one had wanted her. I say she was waiting for us. She’s purring over my left wrist as I type.
Tucker was born feral, his siblings rescued at about five weeks of age. He had some form of cat leukaemia and had to be sequestered from the other kittens to prevent spread of the disease. (Hence, he is very good at entertaining himself.) Had he been taken in by a humane society, he’d likely have been put down, but the cat rescue mission that he was taken to were determined to give him a chance. He is 100%, as my leather chairs can attest to, and we brought the sweet boy home a few months shy of his first birthday.
Cool. We had six cats of all different types, but the purr-ers were the most rewarding. They also tended to drool the most! Sounds like someone got a lucky break, and maybe you did too 🙂
What a great story! It usually isn’t such a happy ending for commuter cats.
My good-luck story isn’t as dramatic as yours. Back in the days when my cats were getting elderly and ill (they lived to be 17 and 18 years old), my husband mentioned he’d seen a cat prowling around at the outdoor archery range where we shoot.
A couple of days later, he said, “That cat’s still there, and it looks hungry.”
Words of doom. An hour later, we were off to the range bearing a cat carrier and a dish of food as a lure. We didn’t need the lure. As soon as I hunkered down to talk to this emaciated cat, his tail came up and he trotted over, all purrs and snuggles.
Maybe he was a commuter cat, or maybe he’d been dumped, we’ll never know because he had no collar or identifying tattoo. Regardless, he was obviously used to being a pet, because he went into the carrier and endured the car ride home with no fuss at all.
I called the SPCA and the vet to see if anyone was missing a cat, but nobody was. The SPCA encouraged me to bring him in, but at that time they were over capacity and had been euthanizing cats regularly when they couldn’t place them. I looked into that trusting, furry face, and I just couldn’t do it.
But he couldn’t live with us. My old guys were ill and at the ends of their lives, and another cat would be too disruptive. And in any case, I couldn’t risk introducing a stray who might be carrying disease or parasites, so I made him a cozy box in the garage and got him settled. Then I went to get him some food and water, but when I put the food down, this poor, emaciated bag of bones sniffed the food, took a mouthful… and then turned to me, stood on his hind legs, and reached up with his forepaws in an unmistakeable “pick me up” plea. My heart almost broke when I realized he wanted cuddles more than he wanted food.
A couple of days later, I settled him with friends whose two young girls had been begging for a cat, and several months later I dropped in to visit. My pathetic stray was now fat and sleek, and he eyed me with amused detachment when I petted and cuddled him. Happy ending: Another cat made aloof and complacent by his well-deserved human servants! 🙂
Awwwww. Awesome story 🙂 I’m sure if my girl lived anywhere near your house she would have been begging, too. It is funny how some animals look to humans for comfort.
Since so many of my Twitter & Facebook friends are pet lovers, I’ll refrain from expressing my opinion. Funny story, though.
LOL. Yes, discretion is the best part of valour here!
Thank you so much for the Happy Cat Story, Nigel!! Much happier ending than that poor little squirrel. You must have been so relieved and happy to see Tiger safe and sound. They’re so weird, the places they find to sleep and hang out in.
The image you have here that looks like Tiger also looks like one of my cats, Slinky. She’s very stripey and slinky and looks just like that photo. She hangs out in weird places too.
Hi Madame. Glad you liked it. I wrote to to counter the sad vibes of your struggle to keep a squirrel alive. So you have a tabby that hangs out in weird places? Maybe it’s something to do with the breed (if they can be called that!).
What a lovely story, Nigel! I love Tiger’s spirit!
Which makes me think of the cat who was sleeping on my lap today. He was a stray who started coming around about a year or so ago. We tried to shoo him off, but to no avail. He continued to come around, knowing I suppose that we were cat people who would eventually be won over.
He (now named Hermes) has since had two serious health issues–one an infected eye that looked so painful that we took him to the vet. The vet treated him and said he could have lost the eye had we not brought him in. Then Hermes recently had an infected abscess, which we had drained and stitched up. In the course of our extra TLC, he has moved from wandering cat entirely outside to the cat who pops in, eats our food, and sleeps wherever he pleases. I had wished that one of my other two cats was a lap cat, but they weren’t. Now, I’ve got one. And Hermes was quite happy to come inside and snooze a bit after killing a rat today in our back yard. At least now I know that rodent won’t get into my attic. Happy ending, right?
Yep, every cloud has a happy ending. Well, perhaps not if you’re a rat in this case. We have a couple that would go after anything. Sadly they insisted on bringing the remains back as well. They’d deposit it on the lightest carpet and struct around the house like Lord Upmpty-umph the big game hunter. Glad you were able to keep him healthy. Hermes is a seriously good name for a cat.
What a story, I loved it :). Thanks for cheering me up.
Poor neighbor though. And poor you, as I can imagine how you felt and because now you have to watch for Tiger all the time. 😀
Hi Irene, glad it cheered you up. Tiger was a pretty independent cat, I don’t think he wanted anyone looking after him. He kind of put up with owners because they were a reliable source of food and warmth!
Hope your telephone/internet connection’s been fixed.