I volunteer for the Greater Sudbury Animal Shelter - our municipal pound. A couple of other gals and I form "Friends of Shelter Pets" and together we try to get as many stray (abandoned) pets adopted out as possible. We continue to be very grateful to GSAS. Most animal control contractors don't have entire websites devoted to lost, found, surrendered and adoptable animals. And after three days, we are allowed to foster cats - with the understanding that all mature animals will be fixed before they are adopted.
On one occasion I noticed what appeared to be a cat. I say "appeared to be" because she took up the entire cage. I say "she" because she had a hint of orange in her fur - and that usually means the cat is a female. To be honest, I rarely foster an older unfixed cat - male or female. They are expensive to get fixed and often have issues related to not having been spayed or neutered in their youth. (Read - they pee wherever they bloody well want to!) Add to that, they are harder to find inside homes for and so often end up as farm cats.
I couldn't resist holding this cat who looked like a "Cindy" to me. Can you see that already I had made three strategic mistakes? Lingering around a cat, giving it a name, and holding it! Man she was heavy and her fur was almost completely matted - with knots of it sticking out all over the place. Ergh! Nobody in their right mind would be willing to groom this cat without having it tranquilized with a dart gun first!
It will come as no surprise to you that I brought Miss Fleabag home and booked an appointment with my vet to get her sedated and shaved down. Except for the fact that "Big Cindy" was reasonably calm in the large dog crate - it looked like I was bringing in an African Wildcat. I picked up my big girl at the end of the day and was told, "By the way, 'she' is a 'he.' And he is no longer a 'complete he.'" Heh?! Cindy was a neutered male cat! And a rather ungainly looking one as I had asked them to just shave off the matted parts. That was pretty much all of her/him!
I told my family I was in no hurry to adopt out Big Cindy. S/he needed to recover from his/her ordeal. I tried to change his/her name to Sidney - but it didn't stick. And we still refer to her/him as a mixed-gender cat. Does s/he have any other anomalous features or off-putting behaviors? Well, s/he has a very high pitched soft meow and is a big wimp. S/he loves lying on the ledge of our balcony and seems to have either no fear of falling or a very low spatial IQ. And s/he pees in the bathtub. Consistently.
I thought at first it was because s/he had urinary crystals and so put her/him on a soft watery diet. S/he LOVED eating his/her special food, which we fed to her/him in the bathroom beside the tub. Cats normally don't like to eliminate where they dine. Didn't stop Big Cindy! And s/he has this other behavior that's a bit annoying. If we don't get her/him her/his supper when s/he wants it, s/he takes a bite out of our ankles.
We love her/him like crazy! Crazy cat ladies/laddies, that is!
Jan Carrie Steven, MA, RSW, is Counselor, Mentor, Chaplain and Volunteer.