Cat Rescue Stories
Meet Tiger the Railroad Cat
Tiger became a part of our family in August of 1996. We lived in rural Vermont at the time. One Saturday, we packed up the kids and went to our church. There was a cool wild area behind the church where the boys group had built rope bridges, paths through the bushes and small camping area near the railroad tracks. My husband and boys went on back to do some site maintenance, while I went inside to work on some things for choir.
Shortly after we arrived, the boys heard a plaintiff, loud "mewing" in the bushes near the railroad tracks. Soon a tiny kitten came bounding out of the brush straight for my son, who scooped him up and took him to dad. The poor little kitten was only about six to eight weeks old. There were no other cats nearby and the nearest residence that might have had cats was a farm over a half mile away. There was no way this kitten had wandered over to the church from there.
The boys brought the kitten to me saying "Look what we found". Poor thing. He had been abandoned behind the church by some heartless person. He was too young to fend for himself and would have died if we hadn't happened to go out to the railroad tracks that day. We took him home, fed him and gave him a name..."Tiger".
Tiger is the dignified king of the household. He presides over his humans with dignity and grace. On occasion, he will bless us with his presence and come near for a pet and a purr. He really is very sweet, it is just above his dignity to fawn over humans. I am lucky. I am his favorite. He will come and sit with me, and no one else.
Tiger is in his senior years now. He's getting a little arthritis. It's getting harder for him to jump up onto couches and climb the stairs, but he can still put the youngster cat Darby in his place. Tiger is healthy and happy and we are so glad we found him by surprise, all those years ago, by the railroad tracks.
Heartwarming Stories of Some Famous Rescue Cats
Here are two of my favorite stories of amazing cats the beat the odds, with a little help from a friend. Amazingly, the cats aren't the only rescue. The humans who took them in found that the cats rescued them as well.
Meet Darby Our Rascally Rescue
In 2004 one of our beloved cats died bone cancer. It left a huge hole in our hearts and it wasn't long before we began to look for a new kitty to fill it with. Our local classifieds had an add for a free kitty. We called and went to visit. What we found was heartbreaking.
Darby was less than a year old at the time, but not quite a kitten either. The home he had been living at was not suitable for him. The people had never owned a cat before and didn't know how to care for him. They had a toddler who liked to grab Darby by the collar and drag him around the house. The mom finally decided enough was enough and listed the ad to find a better home for him. She was actually worried that her child would accidentally kill Darby.
When she put Darby in my arms he literally melted into me. I could tell he was not feeling well, as well as being very insecure and scared. There was no way we were going to leave Darby at that house. The lady said she had given him all his shots and wormed him, but had no papers. I'm pretty sure she never did anything of the sort. So, Darby came home with us.
Poor Darby. We could tell that he was sick. His tummy was bloated and distended and he farted, horrible, stinky farts all the time, along with loose stools. These are all signs of worms, so we took him to the vet ASAP! The vet confirmed the presence of worms, gave Darby all of his shots and checked him over for injuries. He always cried painfully if you touched him near his backside. His legs, back and tunny were no touching zones, and still are, even though the vet couldn't find any apparent reason for it. It took Darby over 6 months to get well. He still has a delicate tummy and no-touchy spots, but he isn't a little stinky gas bag anymore. THANK GOD!
Darby is such a loving cat. He loves his people and wants nothing more than to be in the same room as we are, preferably sitting on my chest so that I can't see the computer or the TV. He needs a cuddle first thing every morning from both my husband and me, and comes back often for more throughout the day. Darby is a talking cat. He chirps at the crows through the window as he watches them in the yard. He purr-meows so it always sounds like he is singing to us. His favorite thing to do when he wants attention is to jump up where he can reach our face, and he reaches out with paw and taps our lips. That means, "Hey you...LOVE ME"! Have you ever seen Simon's Cat on Youtube? That's Darby to a tee.
I love Darby so much. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that he would have died if he had stayed with that other family. Now, we enjoy a spunky, charming, incredibly loving cat. Darby...I love you!
Simon's Cat - Cat Man Do
I love Simon's Cat cartoons. Darby is SO MUCH like Simon's Cat.
Rest in Peace Tiger
Update on Tiger 2015
I am sorry to report that our beloved cat, Tiger was laid to rest. On Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015, we said goodbye to our beloved friend. The past year saw a few challenges for him. Not the least of which was an attack by an unknown animal that left his back foot broken in two places, and a sizable hole as well. I can't stress enough how plucky this wonderful cat is. At the age of 17, and with arthritis, he fought off whatever it was and made his way home. After two weeks of intensive care at home and at the vet, he was back on his feet, climbing stairs and jumping up on couches as if nothing had ever happened.
On Thursday night, February 5th, we said good night to him. He was perfectly fine. Nothing wrong whatsoever. In the morning though, it was a different story. He didn't meet me at the bottom of the stairs to beg for breakfast. As I fixed his breakfast, he sat by the piano and meowed as if to say, "Why are you putting it there, I can't make it that far". Now that was very odd. Nothing comes between Tiger and one canned cat food meal of the day. I called him over and noticed immediately that something was very wrong. He was walking very strangely, like he barely had control of his legs. When he finished eating, I picked him up and sat with him on the couch. He didn't purr at all (also odd) and seemed to just hug himself close to me. When I put him down, he tipped forward and tumbled in a somersault into a heap on the floor. OMG! What is wrong with our poor Tiger!???
An immediate trip to the vet revealed that something was terribly wrong. Something neurological. There was no way to pin-point it without very specialized instruments (cat scan, MRI, etc...). We tried some minimal treatments to see if infection or inflammation was the culprit. Nothing worked. He continued to deteriorate. He couldn't stand up, had attacked of muscle twitching and strange head tiling. Occasionally, he would cry out in a very loud, guttural meow. I don't know if it was pain, or terror, but whatever it was...it was very alarming.
Saturday, we held a family meeting and decided that Tiger had lived a very happy life of 17 years. Quite long for a cat. He was loved and adored by all of us, and we couldn't stand to see him in so much distress. We made the difficult decision to end his suffering and give him rest and peace.
We think he had a stroke or something like that. It was just all so sudden, it was hard to take in. The vet said that that is very common, especially with cats. They tend to hide what is wrong with them until they can't hide it anymore, but by then it is too late. At any rate, he is sorely missed. I've had a lot of cats over the years, but I've never had a cat who has been with our family for so long. It is just heartbreaking, the loss we feel.
We buried him under the peony bush. It was his favorite place to lay in the summer. In the spring we will put a memorial of some sort to mark where he lays. My son wants to use a railroad tie in some manner, since we found him by the railroad tracks. I think that's a good idea.
How to Help Feral Cats
How to Help Feral Cats
Every community has feral and abandoned cats. People have the mistaken idea that cats can take care of themselves if they are just dumped any old place. The farm we used to live near in Vermont was the constant recipient of unwanted cats dumped overnight in their barn. No thought was given as to whether the farmers WANTED or NEEDED anymore cats, or to the rough life that a barn cat leas. It is better than being in the wild, and most farmers care for and adore their cats, but the cats work hard for a living, and face dangers from farm equipment and being underfoot of 1,000 pound cows. Find out what you can do to help feral cats find a better life in your community.