Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Le Petit Prince

In a recent report from Oregon, my friend Desiree told me the story of a little kitty she named Prince.  He arrived at her back door this summer.

Desiree assumed he was a new addition to a neighbor's family.  However, she soon noticed that Prince would sleep on the "Wipe Your Paws" back door mat every morning.  He would show up at 6 a.m., just as the dawn was breaking.

After a week, he looked hungry and tried more than once to enter Desiree's home to eat her kitties' food.  So, compassionate woman that she is, she began to feed him on the porch.

The little Prince was ravenous!
Nom, nom, nom
Prince started showing up at dinner time, too.  Now he was eating two cans of cat food in the morning, and two cans in the evening!  Desiree's cat food bill doubled.

Also a problem was the fact that Desiree's kitties, Rocky and Angel (she recently passed away, see my blog of 10/28/15) did not like this usurper coming around.  They would try to fight with him for their territory when he showed up in the back yard.

Desiree began to be worried about her sweet Angel kitty, who was 18 at the time and quite frail.

Making himself at home on the patio
All the neighbors thought Desiree had gotten a new cat!  So Desiree realized she had to find the little guy's family.  She began asking around the neighborhood, trying to find Prince's owner. The next door neighbor said he'd seen Prince sleeping in his woodpile at night.

No one knew where he belonged.

Worst of all was that over the course of the summer, little Prince became an adult male kitty and began roaming long distances, even attacking Desiree's friend Natalie's kitties.  Natalie is Desiree's across-the-street neighbor and she said Prince had tried to mate with her spayed female, causing $200 in Vet bills.  Something had to be done.  It was time to "fix" the little Prince.

Desiree and Natalie decided they had to adopt him.  The Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon will spay and neuter feral cats for free, give them their shots and release them back into the wild.

Desiree writes:
So Natalie made an appointment for his neutering.. but the trick was to try to find him and get him into a carrier. I was afraid to pick him up because he had become half wild and he would hiss and bite at me when I would pet him.
 So the night before surgery, Thursday evening, Natalie and I set out to find Prince. We walked everywhere to no avail. He wasn't supposed to eat after 10 pm the night before surgery and we were afraid to wait until morning when he would be on my doorstep, figuring he might eat a mouse overnight.
 As we walked back to my house empty handed my neighbor next door, with the woodpile, said he saw Prince go over the fence into the back yard of one of the townhomes. He thought that Prince actually belonged to someone over there.
 So Natalie and I knocked on doors until, lo and behold, we found the house that said they owned him and he was in their backyard. 

Prince in Kitty jail
Prince's owner, a woman named Kristie, was truly clueless about cat care.  She was amazed that all of her neighbors had been feeding her cat!  However, in discussing Prince with her, the woman admitted she never let the cat in the house, and she didn't like to leave food outside for him because of the raccoons.

Poor little Prince had truly been starved and abandoned by his so-called "owner".

When she was told that not only were all the neighbors feeding him, but that he had incurred all kinds of Vet bills with his fighting, the lady seemed to not care in the least.  When she heard that Desiree and Natalie were going to have him neutered the next day, though, Kristie thought it was a great idea - especially because it was free!

And so it was that Desiree and Natalie loaded the little Prince into a carrier and took him in for surgery the very next day.

Hey!  Get me outta here!
In the meantime, Desiree began the process of educating Kristie on how to be a responsible pet parent, explaining that the cat needed to be fed on a regular basis, and be brought in at night, especially once the weather began turning cold.

Many people mistakenly think cats should be allowed to roam outside at night, but this is not true. It's dangerous for the animal and often can cause problems in the neighborhood.

In my neighborhood in the greater Los Angeles area, even though I live in the city, we have coyotes who will eat a little kitty like Prince, and that's not to mention the wild possums, raccoons and skunks.  There are all sorts of critters up in Oregon, too. And that doesn't even take into account neighborhood automobile traffic, which can abruptly end a cat's life.

Hi.  Thanks for the food.
Desiree also mentioned to this woman that local county ordinances help protect animals as well. She could literally be fined for having a "nuisance" animal.

Thankfully, this story has a happy ending.

Desiree and Natalie brought Prince back from the Vet and then didn't see him for a few days. However, later that week, he came by both Desiree's and Natalie's homes again for a visit.

Desiree says, "I could see he was a new man!"  The new little Prince was mellow and didn't fight with the other cats.  Best of all?  "... and he came up to me and let me pet him and he purred!  No scratches or bites!"

I'm so glad that two concerned neighbors made such a positive change in this little kitty's life!

Sometimes ya gotta stop and sniff the flowers

Oh, and the funny part?  Guess what Prince's real name is?  Kristie said she had named him Steve Wayne.


Now, I ask you - what kind of a name is that for a cat?  I think Desiree gave him his real name... and his new lease on life, and a bright future.

In the month since the intervention, things have really changed:

Desiree writes:
Prince has been returning every morning again to have a little breakfast and to play. He's not starving like he was, he doesn't finish all of the food I put out for him and he's actually gaining weight.
 [Prince now sports] the notch in his right ear that they do to identify feral cats that have been neutered and returned to their neighborhood. It's cooler than a tattoo!
 He's doing very well and has not started any fights since his surgery. That's big progress. And he lets me pet him without biting and scratching, and he now lies down and purrs when I pet him.
 I'm always glad when things turn out for the better. This was a success story!

Spay and neuter your pets, people!  Be a responsible pet owner!

Steve Wayne, aka Prince, approved this message.

No comments: