Sunday, February 2, 2014

Spay it, Don't Stray It

Dave and I have learned to look for the spiritual lessons and reminders in just about everything since we moved here. ♫ Big things, ♫ little things, ♫ things that climb ♫ on rocks (ok, enough of the hot dog commercial) but speaking of dogs......er, and cats.....

There has been this little black and white stray cat hanging around the community land for, wow, months now. It has eluded gunshots; it has been chased away by other domestic cats in the community; it has managed to *not* be coyote dinner (and those coyotes can get CLOSE!); it has been through at least two very strong winter cold fronts and seemed to be able to scrounge and hunt and somehow survive. Then one day our neighbor said she believed it was not a feral feline, which come around fairly regularly, but a domestic cat that had been dumped out in the country. Hmmmmm. That put a different light on this cat. It was a true survivor. As they say on Broadway, "Kid, ya got moxie." So, with Dave's permission, we started leaving goat milk and food out for it. Slowly, over the course of a few weeks, the cat started coming around during the day when we called it (our other cat, William, was distracted elsewhere) and would come over for food but would not let us pet it. We would leave the food and walk away and it would slowly come up to eat as long as it didn't feel threatened. By necessity you'd think, it had become extremely skittish and on alert all of the time. Finally, one day I had a breakthrough. Before, I had tried to pet it while it was eating and it would back away every time. (Duh, Sue, how would you like it if someone tried to pet you while you were eating, well, except for Dave :) ) One day I waited quietly until it was finished eating and I just sat there a few feet away. The cat walked about six feet away and started grooming itself, then several minutes later when it was good and ready, it slowly walked back over and cautiously let me pet it. Over the next few days, we continued to earn its trust and the floodgates finally opened. It loved to be petted!

Now that we knew we could capture it, I talked to the lady at the local humane society and she said there was no established method of "adopting" cats in the area and the local pet store had eight that were still waiting to be sold. Dave and I looked online to see if there was a recommended way to try to successfully integrate an existing cat (William) with a new cat. The process, depending on the situation, could take weeks to months. But, since it had become such a good hunter and our options were extremely limited, we thought we'd give it a try.

Well, fast forward a few weeks, we discovered "it" was female, and kept her in our summer kitchen building until we could get her spayed. Dave or I would go in there a few times per day to try to continue the bonding process. After she was spayed, we brought her into the RV with us while she recuperated. Well, she slept and slept and slept and slept and slept and..... I think even aside from the medical procedure, she was now able to really let down in a safe environment and truly rest during her recovery. She had been in ultra survival alert mode for so long, I think she was pretty weary by now. She staked claim at the head of our bed in between our pillows day and night.

Ritzie Laying Against Dave


Now enters William, stage left....... William had also been a stray cat that was very close to getting shot a few years ago but we had taken him in and he has turned out to be a great hunter and valuable member of our homestead. I had seen William get aggressive with this new cat and run her off a couple of times when she was still a stray. So we closed the door to our bedroom when William was inside and kept them totally separated at first. Then we put her in a cage and allowed them to be around each other without contact. Lots of hissing and howling going on at that point. But, slowly, we've allowed them supervised contact face to face and they have come to a, kind of, understanding to "purr and let purrr." They are not friends by any means, and there is still some "tension" but they are able to co-exist pretty well now. We are very thankful for that.

Ummm, William doesn't seem to be losing much sleep over it:

Our Cat Williams Lounging


I discovered that her markings are labeled "tuxedo" (like Sylvester the cat). Dave thought of the name "Ritzie", like "puttin' on the ritz" in a tuxedo. It also sounds like moxie, of which she has lots! So, meet our new rescue cat, Ritzie!

Our New Tuxedo Cat Ritzie


We hope to get her hunting in the barn as soon as she further acclimates herself to all of us and, hopefully, will become another valuable member of this little homestead for however long God allows us to have her.

We don't know why God has brought her into our lives but we are thankful we could help keep her from a most likely icky fate otherwise, and grant a place where she can be used and valuable. She's the sweetest little thing, and very affectionate. Oh! And she immediately took to the litter box. Yay!

I have tried to look at the possible spiritual shadow of this situation. Very loosely, I see a shadow of myself, lost in sin and desperately trying to survive in my own strength in a wicked world with spiritual predators all around. Then, as God takes me in and adopts me as His child, He opens my eyes to the "milk" of His word, and over time He teaches me to learn to look to, rest and trust in Him as my Provider, Protector and Refuge. And He transforms my life to be honoring to Him as I perform the good works (Eph. 2:10) I was ordained by Him to do. BUT! If I succumb to spiritual sleep as I feel too comfortable in my new, safe environment, unless I continue to be circumspect and alert for spiritual predators, my spiritual usefulness will be for naught.

Susan

5 comments:

Penny said...

She is beautiful. Thank you for giving her a home.

Humble wife said...

Your closing paragraph is powerful!! I love how we can learn and see our Lord in all things if we first apply Matthew 6:33 to our lives!

We have three rescue kitties and one rescue dog. All are working animals that mouse, chase coyotes or even birds away from our gardens, our livestock and of course our home.

Thanks for sharing a window to how precious it is to accept that life is imperfect and filled with challenges, but even a kitty can be worth it!

bayougirl said...

Thank you for sharing about your rescue kitty. She is beautiful and I am sure she will be an expert mouser after having to provide for herself for so long. I really enjoyed your spiritual insights, too. I can appreciate the need for us to remain circumspect, and not slumber. There are definitely some wolves out there!

CLL said...

Many of our cats have been rescues...or rather adoptees. Living on a homestead, I think folks just assume we need a good mouser and simply dump them off. Our current treasure cat showed up last spring, young, very friendly and, as we feared when we had her spayed, pregnant. But Princess is now a hard-working member of the family.

David and Susan Sifford said...

We really enjoyed each of your comments. Thanks for stopping by, saying "Hi" and letting us know about your own cats. May God bless each of you, and may He continue to grant all of us spiritual insight to see Him in His creation and creatures all around us.

Susan