They say that cats know who to go to for help. In the rescue community we joke that there are little signs only kitties can see that point towards the cat people. It seems like once you rescue your first cat, they just keep finding you. Such was the case with Edie. It was the summer of my final year in college when she showed up on our deck. I was at my summer class when my mom called and left a very odd, cryptic message for me, saying something like “there is something on the deck you have to see.” Needless to say I was quite surprised, and amused, when I discovered it was a cat. A skinny gray tabby with white toes and a white patch on her nose/chest, and a slightly round belly she was adorable, friendly and very vocal. She kept rubbing on things, talking to us and purring. When I went inside to get some cat food she demanded to come inside with me. The ferocity with which she ate confirmed that she had most likely been a house cat, and had not eaten for some time. We live near a forest preserve and assumed she had been dumped. If I had been smart I would have put flyers up in the neighborhood, but I didn’t think about that then. I did keep an eye out for lost cat posters though, and none showed up.
Having quickly fallen under the spell of this charming cat, and assuming she had beenabandoned it was not hard to cave to her demands to go inside. She wanted to walk in the back door, but my three cats would not have any of that, and since we didn’t know what she might have (fleas, worms, other diseases) we needed to keep her separated from them. She spent a night or two in our basement, which was not completely to her liking, but certainly better than being outside. She had a soft couch to sleep on, regular meals, a roof over her head and attention, but not as much attention as she would have liked.
Edie lucked out, not only did she find me, a sucker for cats, but she found me while I was interning at Tree House Humane Society, a cageless no kill cat shelter. I was able to get her admitted a few days later. Since we couldn’t keep her in the basement for too long, and were not sure when she would be admitted to Tree House we transferred her to the house of an acquaintance. She was the sister-in-law of my dad’s co-worker and a volunteer at Tree House who happened to live right across the street.
I will never forget Edie’s panic at being put in a carrier and taken back outside. I have never seen panic like that before. It was not the usual “cat doesn’t like carrier” complaining. No, there was a certain panic in her eyes and in her movements. Once we got her to my dad’s office and let her out of the carrier she was perfectly happy again. Edie spent a few hours running around my dad’s office at the police station, discovering hiding spots that no one could get to (including inside the couch, a discovery I would later remember when I got my foster kittens). There was a bit of a rush to get Edie into Tree House, her slightly swollen belly made us wonder if the little lady might be expecting, but fortunately she wasn’t. It did get her admitted a little faster though.
It was my first rescue as an adult, and it was far too easy. How often do you get a healthy cat who just walks up to you and demands to be rescued, and then wants her ears scratched too? Not very. I have learned that doing TNR, and with my various other shelter gigs. I got lucky with that little lady, and she got lucky to find her way to Tree House where she was adopted several months later. As I said before, I should put up found cat posters. I also got very lucky that Tree House happened to have space for her at that time, or I would have had Edie for much longer. We both lucked out in her friendliness.