Willie is the February rescue cat in our 2017 HCMT/Pittsburgh C.A.T. calendar. I’m a little late featuring him this month, but better late than never. As you can see above, Willie has a great many talents, as often happens with rescued cats. He was trapped as part of a TNR program but needed to have a bad eye removed and couldn’t go back out immediately after neutering surgery. Lynn offered to foster him in a cage not knowing if he was feral or not, and he turned out to be a really nice cat, thought FIV+.
WHO, ME, FERAL? FIV? WILLIE
Trapped as an intact adult with a badly infected eye that needed to be removed, Willie was also found to be FIV+. Without knowing if he was feral or friendly he went to cage foster with Lynn for his antibiotics after enucleation surgery. He was frightened at first and then only timid, and then the big tabby boy became a big mush and moved into her husband’s woodworking shop to finish his medications. He became the shop boss and Lynn and Brian became foster failures.
As you see in the calendar text above, Lynn and Brian ended up adopting Willie, but when I first featured him here in 2014 he was still up for adoption even though he’d accepted the position as Brian’s shop manager. Rescued kitties are all equipped with that skill—stealing hearts.
Willie, Boss Cat
Willie, it turns out, is a skilled supervisor and all-around charming kitty, not too old and just a little worse for the wear. How he ended up hanging with a stray and feral group of cats being fed by a kind woman is only a guess, but you can be sure there’s a story behind it.
The kind-hearted woman in question was feeding her cats and setting traps to catch those who needed to attend the next day’s TNR clinic. Willie simply appeared in one of her traps, though she’d never seen him before.
Another rescuer, Lynn, was transporting cats to the clinic the next day and would take them home to her husband’s workshop to recover indoors overnight before being taken back to the kind woman who fed them.
Willie took a slightly different path, though. He was a little torn up and his eye hadn’t looked good, sunken and shrunken from presumably an older injury. When she picked him up Lynn was also told, along with his testicles, his injured eye had had to be removed and she would need to try to give him pain medications and antibiotics.
“I had no idea if I could even touch him,” she said. The cat was a total stranger, picked up from someone else and even a stranger to her, so she had no idea what his attitude had been before surgery. Handling a cat after surgery can be tricky to begin with, but a potentially feral or unsocialized cat right after surgery? That’s a tall order. The other cats would stay overnight and go back outside where they’d been, but Willie would need more permanent accommodations for a while. Lynn and her husband had recently added a room onto their home for the foster kittens and cats, but with a cat directly from the outdoors with unknown history the better place was back into the workshop by himself.
“I took him home, got him set up in a cage, put on some gloves and tried to pet him,” she said. “He never once growled or hissed at me. I rub his head and he seems to care so I quickly gave him his meds.”
Success that first time, and in the course of days, “he was waiting for pets and scratches but was afraid to come out of the cage.”
What to do? He might go back out since he didn’t have a home, but though had healed well he was so nice and had obviously been someone’s cat, and our TNR group tries hard not to return friendly cats to colonies if there is a foster and a possibility of finding them a home. And having been beaten up, apparently by another cat, he would not fare well.
A one-eyed middle-aged cat could have a problem finding a home, but that could be overcome. Then, because he was to be adopted at some point, FIV and FeLV tests were done and he turned out to be FIV+. Until he healed and his temperament was determined he had to be kept in quarantine, so he stayed in the workshop in his cage.
“Then about a week ago [around Christmas] he came out and ran all over the shop,” said Lynn. “Had cobwebs all over his head. He loves hanging out with my hubby. Likes to actually rest his head on tools and molding that Brian is working on. His little feet make biscuits all the time. He is putting on weight and his coat is starting to shine.”
You can see from his photos that he’s a happy, friendly cat. It’s one of the happy parts of the TNR process that we discover friendly cats all the time, down on their luck after being abandoned by people or having been lost. Unless there is absolutely no place for them at all they stay in foster until they find a home.
But even though Lynn and Brian love him to pieces and Willie is happy supervising the guys in the woodworking shop they can’t keep him. The FIV is no problem but it reduces his immunity, and they foster cats and kittens all the time who need medications for various illnesses which could be transmitted to Willie.
And the shop is not a good place for him either because it’s just a side occupation for Brian, and it’s only heated when he is working there and very hot in the summer. The tools are dangerous and the stains and finishes have strong fumes.
Willie still needs a little medical care, having a few teeth removed, and he also needs to gain some weight. Once he is totally recovered and has all his vaccines he will be searching for a special home with a special person.
“He is such a great boy. Personality Plus!” said Lynn.
In summer 2016 Willie began to have a little trouble eating, and knowing that FIV kitties often have dental issues Lynn took him for care. Instead it turned out to be an aggressive oral cancer and they lost him that summer. Nothing could be better than Lynn and Brian keeping Willie and giving him all the love he could take, enjoying the barn and the woodshop and working with his people out in the pasture and woods for the two years he had after rescue.
Read more stories in my weekly Rescue Stories series
and read about my Rescue Stories series.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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HCMT/Pittsburgh C.A.T. 2017 Calendar, still a few more left!
I designed and published this calendar on behalf of these two organizations for which I volunteer and support. All proceeds of sales of this calendar after costs will go directly to our work Making Life Better for Cats Every Day of the Year. Price includes shipping. You’ll find a box to enter your address or special instructions in your shopping cart.
Each month features a cat and its story who we rescued through TNR or rescue from abandonment, neglect or abuse, offered medical treatment, fostering, socialization, and a loving forever home that met their individual needs.
In addition, each month is sponsored with an ad from veterinarians, businesses and individuals who support HCMT and Pittsburgh C.A.T., including five of the veterinarians who regularly take a shift at our clinics to spay and neuter plus pet sitting and pet first aid training so you have ready resources for services you and your pets can use right at your fingertips.
© 2017 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!