I woke to a winter wonderland… there are a couple of inches of snow out there… and it looks fresh, bright and festive. Snow always illuminates the dull November days.
This morning I didn’t worry about Oscar in the cold. I didn’t get up and dash downstairs to look for him on the edge of my deck huddling in the cold and waiting for his meal and little bit of human contact. I didn’t feel the crushing weight of guilt and worry about the fate of this poor abandoned cat with the sad eyes.
You see, yesterday I caught Oscar! After almost 2 years, I am free!
After days of harsh self-talk about my timidness and fear, I planned carefully, screwed up enough courage before the cold snap and got Oscar into our carrier under the guise of his warm tuna soup.
I left him on the deck in the carrier for 10 minutes while I put down a carpet in our master bathroom, and brought some old towels and a fleece for him to sit on. I’d already moved us out to our second bathroom the day before. Then J carried the carrier into the bathroom and opened the door. Despite wanting to see him I did the best thing I could do: I left him entirely alone for 3 hours. It’s a big shock for him!
When I went to see him, he was sitting on my bathroom counter. He’d hurt his nose from ramming it against the carrier door in his short confinement. Oscar is a large cat… with a big head and thick winter coat. He’s literally double the size of Nuala. I got a half-hearted hiss, and when I bent to eye-level and had a chat with him, he came for petting. I brought him some food, water bowl, a litter (does he even know how to use a litter?). I gave him a treat or two. I petted him a little and let him stay where he was… on the counter.
I visited 2 more times yesterday… not for long. He just wanted to be petted. He will reach up to be patted and when he finally decided to come down from the counter, it was to sit at my feet (read that as ‘flop onto my toes’) and be petted while he purred in a raspy purr. I still got a half-hearted and random hiss now and then… but in a confused I-mean-no-harm way. This part is easy for me; I can’t trap them, but they come to me willingly.
Oscar is anxious to mark me – I think he’s just so happy to have a human to pet him. He rubs around my hands and legs. The girls already have been sniffing me, though I’m washing my hands well after every visit. I will be changing to using a separate set of clothes to visit Oscar. Precautions.
The other side of my problems are beginning. This morning there is a waft of cat pee through my house. I don’t know where it’s coming from, despite looking. I’m afraid for our carpeting, furniture, floors. Shadow has behaviour problems and had already ruined our new basement carpets from when we first got her, from when Nuala arrived, from when she’s gotten stressed. The entire floor needs replacing, and I haven’t saved up to do it. She gets upset at the drop of a pin. So I have 4 cats in the house… all are getting herbal calming remedy as of today.
Oscar howled from 4am to 6am… but he has not made a mess of the room. He’s actually a good boy. I’m watching for litter use, but the eagle has not landed. I don’t think he’s sprayed anything yet… but the next goal is to get him to a vet.
I’m in deep, but there was no other way forward. I’m just glad to not be ‘stuck’ as I have been for over a year. I’m out of the holding pattern, and making it up as I go. Not the best plan, but progress all the same.
After trying to catch Oscar, my appreciation of those who trap and rescue is even more than it was before.