Thursday, November 3, 2011

Diego's Decision

Diego and Harley, the cats my daughter adopted from the Fort Collins Cat Rescue to be barn cats, got out of the barn the first night they were there even though the barn doors were closed. The next morning my husband told me he had heard cats growling outside the house that night. When we checked the barn we found they were both gone. I couldn’t believe it. Even that time we had been in the barn the first afternoon, Harley stayed in the enclosure in the stall stall and Diego explored a little of the rest of the barn but seemed unwilling to get close to the outside. I thought they would be so happy to be out of cages they would settle into their new larger digs happy even though still wary.

The next day I called and called, searched the barn but no cats. I was not looking forward to letting the cat rescue know they had already disappeared.

About 9:30 the next night I heard what I thought was soft meowing. I did! It came from the huge tree in our back yard. I grabbed a flashlight and ran out in my P.J.’s and slippers and there was Harley. Just out of reach in the crook of a30 ft. tree. Harley would have none of it I could almost touch her. Because of her muted Tortie coat she was hard to see but certainly scurrying higher the closer I got. About that time Jennifer and her husband Miles came running out of their house We ended up having to leave her there and hope she would come for food in the morning.

Up early the next morning I headed out to feed the horses, hopefully calling the two cats. I caught a movement out the corner of my eye. And there sitting in the crook of the tree sat Diego. Now, I thought, considering his reputation he would most likely run away when I got close to him. But he not only let me pick him up, he was purring. He stayed in my arms all the way into the barn. I opened the can of cat food and as I was giving him some I heard another small meow. I looked up and there was Harley. She had come through the next stall that was filled with hay, climbed up the hay bales, and the wall, balanced on the rafters and was looking down at me. The minute she smelled the food she was down on the ground joining Diego, gobbling up the food. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

I wish I could say all was well after that. But things just got more complicated. It seems, the sounds of cats fighting the night before was the sounds of cats fighting. Diego had a large wound on the back of his neck. It looked like a bite or it could have been a cut from some wire or metal around the barn. I didn’t notice it right away but after a few days it looked like it was bleeding. During this time, Diego didn’t go outside the barn even when the doors were open. Harley did disappear but appeared again. It was a noisy place. The neighbors chickens regularly flew over the fence and ended up in our barn looking for handouts. This brought the grandkids in. It certainly was not conducive to quietly getting used to a place.

Even though I treated Diego’s wound it was not getting better. So Jennifer asked me if I would take him to her vet. I was still treating Diego a bit gingerly but he was a gentleman as I loaded him up in the carrier and drove him to the vet. Each new thing he tried, he seemed familiar with, going to the vet, being examined, getting a shot and worse of all having his wound cleaned out. It seems that my treatment of it had helped because it had already started healing and sure enough it was an abscess. But the biggest shocker was that this outdoor cat (I was wondering about this) was going to have to wear a lampshade and he was going to have to be kept in the house for a week to ten days so his wound would heal. Now, from the beginning Jennifer had wanted barn cats. Not house cats. Her husband was not in favor of having cats in the house. But spunky as my daughter is and ready for pretty much anything she said OK let’s fix him a place, Miles will be OK. So in a corner of their basement we set up a wire crate with blankets, open to the rest of the basement, food and a litter box and a little room divider that would keep the dog and kids out at least for a while.

He made his decision, he walked in and immediately made himself at home and began to snoop. He stretched, followed the kids around. Everything seemed to be calm and settled. He would stay there for 10 days. It was a long time.