By: Sarah A. Neikam, Operations Manager
Daylight again. The grass is wet and I don’t like wet feet so I’ll walk along the edge of the road to the house with the water bowl. After yesterday’s close call with a car though, I have to be extra careful and cross even more quickly.
The water bowl is almost empty. The food dish has been empty for days. I was friendly to the people here so they would be friendly to me, but they must have moved on. It’s warming up fast and the sun is bright; time to head under the road for shade. I’ll try for a rabbit tonight.
Daylight again. No rabbit, but I did catch a small mouse. This itching is horrible. I hear a new voice calling. Does she have food? “Oh, poor baby, you’re so skinny, are you nice?” she says. She reaches out and I sniff, touching my nose to her hand. I smell food. “Here, do you like tuna?” She puts a dish on the ground and the food inside smells wonderful! I take a bite and she moves the dish away. I move closer, another bite, and she moves it again, this time into a box. I sense danger, but the food is so good and I’m so hungry. I go for it, take more delicious bites, and a door behind me snaps closed. I panic for a short time, but my hunger draws me back to the food. The box starts to move. “It’s okay, kitty. We’re going to get you some help. No more street life for you.”
I finish the food and fall asleep in the box. Wake up in a new place. New smells. New voices. Lots of hands and faces and “Good kitty” words over and over. One of them pulls me from the box and holds me still while another one moves a big circle back and forth over me and says, “No chip.” Eventually there is a new, bigger box, more food and clean water. I’m tired.
Daylight again. More, new voices and noises and other cats meowing. Someone opens my box, reaches in and places me on a cold table. “It’s okay, open up for me.” And she rudely pries open my mouth. Yuck! Bitter. Yuck! Again, she opens my mouth, but apologizes this time, and gives me a small pebble to swallow. “This will help with your itching,” she says. At least it didn’t taste bad.
Another person and another pair of hands. She lays me on my side and holds me still. I’m scared and just want to go back to the box. “Okay bud, just a couple of quick pinches.” Ouch! Ouch again! “Good boy, you’re okay.” Finally, back in the box. I curl up on the soft blanket and recover from that very unpleasant experience. There is more food later. More noises, then quiet and I’m tired again.
A few daylights later, I’m taken out of the box and put into a smaller one, like the one the nice lady with the tuna put me in. Will there be more tuna? They take me to a new room; it’s colder here and there are strong smells. I hear other cats howling and dogs barking. A new person pulls me out of the box and places me on another cold table. More pokes and pinches and suddenly I’m very, very sleepy.
Daylight again. I feel heavy, can’t focus my eyes. I smell food nearby and I’m thirsty. There is another soft blanket, and it’s warmer here. Later, I hear someone approach. “Hey bud! How ya feeling? You’re such a good boy!” Oh no, not another box. I don’t want to move again, but I’m too sleepy to resist. She places me in the small box and we travel to another new place, with more new smells and voices. Then I smell and hear more cats. Lots of cats!
She opens the box and says “Okay bud, this is you. C’mon out. Good boy!”. It’s bright here. There is food and water, toys, a soft bed and a window to see outside. It’s scary because it’s new but I want to explore. I smell everything, eat the food and settle in for a nap.
More daylights pass. There is always more food, water, and people. Their voices and smells are familiar now. They touch me gently and talk softly to me. I miss the outside smells and chasing rabbits, but this isn’t so bad. The routine is comforting, and I feel safe.
Many daylights later, a woman opens my door and reaches out her hand. “Hello, handsome. How are you?” She smells nice and I like her voice. We play with the string toy and the bell balls and she says “I’ll see you later, sweet boy!” She comes back the next day and the next and finally again with a box of her own. The boxes have been scary but she makes me feel safe. She picks me up, kisses me on the head and says “Let’s go home, Charlie. I bought you some tuna!” I don’t know what the next place will be like, but if it’s with her I know I’ll be okay.
June is “Adopt a Shelter Cat Month” and it’s also the height of Kitten Season. There are so many cats living this story, waiting for you to give them a home, and many more waiting for that chance. See our adoptable cats online or meet them in person at 199 Willow Run Road, in Aiken, SC.
Sarah Neikam has been with the SPCA Albrecht Center since 2012 serving first as Volunteer Coordinator, then Digital Media Manager, followed by Marketing Director and now Operations Manager. Sarah lives in Aiken with her husband Tom and their three adopted cats: Bastian, Luna and Grady plus three “former feral” cats: Willow, Big Boy & Phoebe.
The SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare is a private, nonprofit, no kill animal shelter in Aiken, SC. The SPCA also operates a local Thrift Store (“Where Shopping Saves Lives”), a public, affordable Veterinary Care Center & a Dog Park. It is our mission to improve the lives of companion animals by rehoming abused, abandoned, and neglected pets while fighting for their well-being through vigorous legislative efforts, humane education, and by offering affordable veterinary care for all.
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