Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Diego's Chance

Each Wednesday morning when I volunteer for the Fort Collins Cat Rescue I go in and greet the kitties before I get down to the chores. I check the list of those that have been adopted first and I am happy for the ones that have been adopted but also sad. I miss them all when they go.

But then there is also sadness because once in a while we have a cat that for unclear reasons has been in the shelter longer than the 3 to 4 week stay for most of them. Occasionally we have ones that have been in the shelter for months. Sometimes it just takes some time for a cat to get over being scared and to get comfortable with people but that long of a stay is unusual. And at times we have a personality problem.

Diego was such a cat, a sturdy male with golden eyes, solid black, just plain solid. But he had a temper. You had to be careful cleaning his cage. I had a few scratches on the back of my hand to attest to it. It was true, Diego hated being in a cage and he took it out on everyone.

So the day my daughter, Jennifer informed me we needed some cats in our barn to keep the mice at bay and asked me if the FCCR had any cats that could be barn cats I was very hesitant. First of all I knew the FCCR only adopted to homes and second of all barn cats in our area had been lost to coyotes and foxes. But this would be her deal. I already had 4 cats in my house including one former barn cat I brought in when the temperature dropped below zero. But that is another story.

I had heard that, as an exception, since Diego had been in the shelter for  months without anyone wanting to adopt him, that he would be a candidate for being a barn cat. He certainly seemed to have an anti-social attitude.

The day we went to the shelter to check we discovered a very busy place. Lots of adoptions were going on. Jennifer had decided that she wanted to adopt two cats and as it turned out another cat was a candidate for barn cat status. Harlequin, a small tortie (tortoise shell is a black and brown color) cat that had been picked up along with her babies, had just weaned the kittens and they had been adopted. She was still looking for a home. and was very shy.She was on the wild side too. Jennifer’s 3 kids (4 and 6 yr olds) came along. The two cats peeked out of their cages with forlorn looks on their faces. When the kids saw Diego and Harlequin they fell in love with them

So after the required paper work we took them home to the barn. My daughter and I live on the same property and our two families share the barn and horse barn chores. We had an empty stall where I  set up an enclosure I  inherited from another cat shelter. I felt we could keep them there till they got used to being in a new place. But my daughter had other ideas.

She thought it would be better for them to get used to their surroundings right away. And she was right. At least at first. Once out of their carriers they both nosed around, found food and water and a litter box. Harlequin (Harley) found a soft place to lie down and Diego marched to the center of the stall, stretched out and looked at us as if to say. “I’ll take it”

Next: Diego’s Choice