Rags To Riches: Balou's Story
The day I brought Balou home, I was not even sure he would make it, but I had high hopes for him, because he somehow managed to survive as long as he had, nearly dead and being attacked by other animals. That told me he had a very strong will to survive. I was in the field vet clinic, waiting for my Nala to get fixed, and these three girls brought him in. They said they found him near the CAP office. They wanted him to get an exam and vaccinations and fixed, they wanted to keep him. He started talking almost right away, begging someone, anyone, to come sit with him, and better yet, let him out of that cage. I walked over and stuck my fingers into his cage and introduced myself to him. Right away he came up to my hand and started loving it, still talking. My heart broke for him, and I fell in love with him from the moment I saw him. The next day I went to pick up a litter of kittens and their mother that I agreed to take in. I asked them what was going to happen to the blue cat. They said since the girls parents told them they could not keep the cat, then the cat would go back to Rapid City with them and its chances there did not look good. What was I to do...I took him home with me.
Balou was so weak he would lose his balance and fall at the most inconvenient times. So I figured the safest place for him, until he got stronger, was the bathroom. Whenever I would go in to use the bathroom, I took the time to strengthen the already growing bond between us. I would pick him up and cradle him like a baby and gently rub his chest. He has one of the loudest purrs I have ever heard. He enjoyed that (being cradled and cooed to and having his chest rubbed) that today, 9 months later, he actually asks to be cradled and have his chest rubbed. When I pick him up, he will maneuver himself into position if I am not quick enough to do it myself.
Right away I began feeding him Purina Kitten Chow and canned food. As he started to get stronger, I began taking him outside on a harness and leash, for fresh air. The first time we went outside, he could only take a few steps at a time before needing to lay down and rest. Patches, our welcome wagon kitty, was the first to meet him, and he was afraid sweet Patches was going to attack him. He soon learned he could trust Patches though. I could tell from his frame that he was once a large cat, I figured his ideal weight was 12 pounds, and I was right...He now weighs between 12 and 14 pounds. And as you can see in his March pictures, he isn't the least bit overweight.
Balou is close to me, and loves to snuggle. He will stay in my lap as long as I let him. How did he come to be in the situation he was found in? We can only guess that his owner must have died and the family either did not want him or they simply neglected him until he ran away looking to feed himself, but by then maybe he was to weak to catch his own food. As he got weaker and could no longer defend himself, he became prey to other cats and dogs. When he was found, he had injuries indicating he had been attacked, and the tip of one ear was gone and still scabby.
Balou went from rags, (almost literally) to riches, or riches for a cat anyways, on the day those three girls found and rescued him. He owes three unknown girls his life.