I sat on the bedroom floor watching the birds arrive for their morning meal of fruit and seeds, not to mention a few nuts (who knew sparrows would eat pecans?). There were perhaps a dozen sparrows, one male cardinal, and two mourning doves. The feeding frenzy began as I watched with a smile on my face.
Suddenly, a rush of feathers could be heard from inside as all of them took to wing. They do this in response to most intruders or sudden noises and movements. I watched carefully to see if I could identify the culprit.
It was Chira! He came sneaking around the corner and slid gracefully into the area where I’d put the birdseed. What an unexpected surprise! I’d not seen him since late May when he made a brief appearance before dashing off into oblivion.
He looks to be in good condition. His weight is acceptable, although I think he could use another pound or two. His coat is clean and groomed and shiny. The few wounds he’d had before were gone, although he has a few new scrapes on his nose. His eyes were clear and sharp despite one of them being a bit fluid (that could mean a problem, but it equally could be from irritation of some sort). Overall, he looked healthy despite his long absence.
I gave him a bit of cat food and offered water, although he was not interested in the latter while quite interested in the former. I was able to pet him a bit while he ate. Afterward, he stayed close and allowed me to pet him a bit more as I spoke to him in soothing tones expressing how happy I was to see he was okay. Birds came and went but would not stay or eat while he was there (imagine that!), and the activity kept him intrigued for almost an hour. Eventually, however, he moseyed on about his business.
I hope I’ll see him again; preferably, more frequently than has been the case recently. Irrespective of that, I was happy to see him in good condition and, although still a bit shy, certainly not upset by my presence. The fact that he let me pet him suggests he at least remembers and trusts me to a certain degree. Oh, I’m sure the food didn’t hurt one bit in that regard.
As usual, Vazra visited me several times beginning around 3:30 in the morning. I still need to have a discussion with him about this new erratic schedule he’s keeping. But, I’d rather have broken sleep than no Vazra.
He returned for the fourth time around 9:00 am and had more to eat, more to drink, and a whole lot more attention.
During this time, I had the broom with me so I could sweep the patio (birds have spread seed debris all over the place…). While I was at one end of the patio doing that, Vazra was at the other end checking out the cat carrier. I keep it out there during the day beginning with his first visit. My hope is that he will become acclimated to it, and that will eventually enable his capture. Thus far, I’ve had little luck in this area as he seems very distrustful of it. I’ve even tried different kinds (I have four of them for obvious reasons) and he reacts the same way to all of them.
Until this morning. As I swept, he investigated the box and the towel inside it. This is normal; I didn’t pay attention to it. Then I turned in that direction and beheld a fantastic sight: he was inside the carrier, digging under the towel and rolling over as though enjoying feverish play. Could I make it all the way over there before he reacted? Even I didn’t think so, but I tried anyway.
And failed. He bolted out of the carrier as I approached. He immediately came to me and rubbed against my legs and purred contentedly. I petted him as I slowly moved us toward the carrier. His normal fear seemed tempered this time, although I would make no claims that he was suddenly comfortable with it.
Two more times he went into the carrier. As with the first exploration, he waited until I was far enough away that I couldn’t get there in time to close him in it. Despite these setbacks, I consider the event a complete success. His fear of the carrier appears to be waning, he certainly looked like he was having fun inside it, and he even sat atop the transporter without the fear and howling he normally displays. This is progress. Excellent progress, in fact. Emboldened by this episode, I believe I may be able to capture him much sooner than expected.
From my point of view, that is a bittersweet possibility. The first thing I want to do is get him to the vet for vaccinations and a check-up. His ability to officially join the family hinges entirely on his medical condition. If he has anything like FeLV, FIP, FIV, or other communicable feline diseases, he will never be able to come inside. This would also be the case if he has any kind of parasitic infection that can not be treated. That would mean he must remain an outside cat, although it would not change my desire to keep taking care of him (and I can’t even imagine, under those circumstances, what I’d do when/if I move…). Also while he’s at the vet, I want to get him treated for fleas and ticks (neither of which he has, surprisingly, but a preemptive strike and preventive care is never a bad idea). Finally, before returning home, I want to get the knots cut out of his fur. The constant and daily petting has helped diminish them tremendously, and his coat looks much better than it did in these photos. Unfortunately, he still has knots and continues to form them, but constant attention appears to have helped. If he can be an inside cat, the daily brushing everyone else gets will keep them from returning. If he must remain an outside cat, at least the painful hair tangles will have been removed for now — although they’ll regenerate as time marches on.
Overall, this morning was successful on two counts: seeing Chira again, and getting Vazra inside the cat carrier. Today’s going to be a good day, me thinks.