The Cat’s Meow
A few years ago, I worked at The Cat’s Meow cat shelter here in Anacortes. It was a great job for me. One of the many exciting and interesting things I got to do was to trap feral cats. Feral cats are not just shy or unsocialized. They are wild creatures. Wild.
The reason I trapped the ferals, was to get them spayed and neutered to help keep the colony sizes manageable. Anacortes has a number of little feral colonies that people are kind enough to feed and keep an eye on. However, the situation can get out of hand quickly if there are multiple litters of new kittens every season.
Another reason for trapping was to provide medical care to injured cats, as well as to relocate them when they were inhabiting or creating a dangerous space. This is how I met Remus, my magical werecat.
A Big Problem
The shelter had received a call from someone living in a somewhat large and wooded neighborhood on the island. They were hoping we could solve a problem for them. The problem was a larger-than-life legend of a cat.
Apparently, this cat had a circuit. He would show up in one part of the neighborhood, terrorize it for a couple weeks then move on to his next group of victims. His progress was predictable. Eventually these people started a facebook group to track him so that they could bolster their homes and keep their cats inside when he was due to be back in their neighborhood.
The day I pulled into the driveway of the woman who called us for help, a few other neighbors came over to chime in with their own stories. Also, to reiterate how extremely important it was that I captured this menace and took him far far away.
Among the stories of this crazy lunatic ripping screens out of doors and windows to break into houses and fight other domesticated pets, were the stories about how desperate neighbors would shoot at him when he came around. This was clearly a hardship for these poor people. The vet bills alone were staggering.
A Large And Calm Black And White Cat
I had an idea in my mind of a lithe, scraggly, scrappy villain of a terrorist. This cat had done some real damage. He was causing fear for these poor people. With a creature this evolved, I was sure it would take time and patience to capture him. I was wrong. He was trapped within hours of setting the trap.
When I pulled up to the house, I could see a large black and white cat in the trap. I expected him to go bat sh*t crazy when I approached the trap. This is how ferals behave. He wasn’t feral. He calmly looked into my eyes. A feral cat will never calmly look you in the eye. It was mesmerizing.
In that moment was a serious exchange of information. History. Tragedy. Grief and fear. Injury, seeking, fleeing. There was a magical quality to this creature. He was elusive, determined and strangely transformative. And he found me. And I found him. I spoke aloud, “I love you already.” Home and family were established between us and I took him back to my house. Our house.
I know a werecat when I see one. We named him Remus. After the beloved Remus Lupin from the Harry Potter series. Him being the werewolf.
Resting and Recovery
He was friendly with our other cat. He made fast friends with our dog. Remus snuggled on the couch, in blankets, on beds. He knew what he was about. And he had lots of recovering and resting to do.
That first year we were in and out of the vet a lot. He had a leftover abscess on his face. His teeth were in terrible shape and abscesses were cropping up in his mouth. An x-ray of his head showed he had shot lodged in his gums. That would be from being shot at. Repeatedly.
But he rested and recovered and tucked in nicely to a family full of magical creatures and misfits. Until this past February.
Worse For Wear. Again. Again.
Every fall, a pack of coyotes terrorizes our neighborhood. Not unlike what Remus used to do. The neighbors call each other and warn that it’s that time again. Time to keep the cats in. Of course, Greg and I were down in California when I got the call. By the time I was able to talk to my sons about keeping the cats in, Remus had disappeared.
It was a real nail-biter, but he came back home. Many days later. Worse for wear. A nice little swath torn out of his neck. Ugh. A minor surgery and a major vet bill later and Remus was home resting and recovering. Again.
“Keep him inside!” Greg is always warning me. But Remus is a magical werecat and creatures like that need the wide world.
It wasn’t surprising about a week ago when Remus started sleeping a lot. Gus found a nasty scab on his back. The scab was an abscess. Which turned into another abscess. And so, this morning, me and Remus went back to the vet.
We really should get a frequent flier card at the vet. I think we spend enough money there per year to keep at least one of the techs on salary. Today there will be another surgery. Another mild anesthesia. Probably a cone of shame.
A Safe Place To land
Remus has got some baggage. He really does. And karma or otherwise, I am feeling the burn of vet bills and worry over this creature that I truly and deeply love. Isn’t that just the way of it? For all of us. The baggage we carry around costs us a lot. It costs those who love us a lot.
Each of us is going to go our own way. As we should. We are the tellers of our own stories and no one else gets to jump in and abduct our authorship. Yet, we all need a safe place to land. It’s essential that we have our people who love us and care for us in a safe home space. It’s essential that we be people who love and care for others in a safe home space. It costs something to love. That’s the way of it.
I’m so grateful for the brave people who love me. I am anxious to get Remus home today. To snuggle that scrappy little scoundrel of a werecat. Even though I’m feeling the burn of what it will cost, I love him. And for Remus, it’s worth it.
If you have people who challenge your love, or if you are the challenger, if you long to tell your own story and need a safe place to land, let’s be friends~