Mister Tom’s Rescue
by Elisa Black-Taylor
Mister Tom's sweet look
My third rescue took place five days after a crippling blizzard left Greenville County Animal Care(GCAC) running on a skeleton crew. I was looking over the email I'd received from them on Friday. There was a beautiful but skinny long haired gray and white cat named Chapman who caught my heart. I sent Andrea, rescue coordinator at the shelter a message and received no answer. It was then I noticed the rescue coordinator's were off on the weekend and Monday is a holiday for the shelter. I called the shelter and they confirmed it would be closed on Monday.
There was no way I was going to allow Chapman to remain in cat jail for three more nights if there was anything I could do to arrange a rescue. I explained to Josh at the shelter that I was afraid the cat would get sick as the longer the cats are there the more susceptible they become to illness. I emphasized that since he was neutered there shouldn't be any problem. Josh got rescue approval from the shelter supervisor so off I went on a 60 mile trek over some roads still covered with ice.
Chapman was found in late December on Chapman Road in Greenville. He's a very large, friendly, neutered 1-2 year old male. He has an overbite that reminds me of Dracula. I couldn't believe the size of him when the lady at the shelter brought him out after vetting to place him in my cat carrier. He's a little on the bony side, but overall he's HUGE.
Chapman cried all the way home. I can only imagine what was going on in his head. Two weeks in a shelter cage and now another cage. Did he ever get a surprise when we got home!
Freedom! He walked out of the cage and everyone came up one at a time to greet him. The only one who had a problem with him was Gizzy. Gizzy would have a problem with any cat. That's just her personality.
We changed his name. Mainly because I can't remember Chapman. Now his name is Mister Tom. It suits him. He reminds my daughter of Tom in the Tom and Jerry cartoons. She changed his name. Since she's the main caregiver I have to allow it. I only drive the getaway car and provide a naptime lap. Laura does the majority of the caregiving.
It took Mister Tom a few meetings to like Dreyfuss. With all the hissing he did, I was concerned he'd make Dreyfuss afraid of cats again. Of course, after two days, they're buddies.
Mister Tom follows my daughter everywhere. He's sleeping in the bed with her too. Now he has plenty of room to wander and explore. He doesn't know how to play. We believe he was an outdoor cat. His favorite thing is chin rubs. He still has a hardened look about him. I believe this is softening as he learns to trust us.
The cats who came into the shelter around the same time as Mister Tom who weren't rescued are now over the Rainbow Bridge. Most of them anyway. Even with all of us who rescue and sponsor through this shelter, we still can't seem to save them all. I would say the euthanasia averages are lower than most shelters. For the cats there, my guess is 15-20% are euthanized. That's better than 40%. I'm finding it harder and harder to look at the rainbow bridge album on the GCAC page. Some of these are sick cats. Some are cats where time just ran out. It hurts to know I couldn't save them all.
I've done well with my choosing which cats to rescue. Some may say "a cat is a cat" and wonder why I adopt one cat and not another. There's a very delicate balance in my rescue. I have only a photograph to judge whether I believe a cat would fit in with the ones I've already saved. If I weren't highly empathic I don't believe I could "read" the photos.
Laura won't allow me to adopt any of them out yet. So I have to look at each rescue as permanent.
I don't mind. My dream has always been to be surrounded by cats. I guess some dreams do come true.