by Joanne Crownshaw
(Stocksbridge, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England)
Purr-fect! A cosy new hidey hole - my home!!
Hi folks, my name is Crouger the tabby, I live my days outdoors as a feral cat, my life was once pretty normal; I had a loving caring home and family. That was until curiosity got the better of me and turned my whole world upside down. It all started when I climbed into a van full of boxes, of course they looked inviting, comfortable at the time so I curled up into a ball for a quick cat nap before lunch. Before I knew it the van hit the roads, and I was taken to a new destination miles away from my home and family. When I finally escaped the vehicle I didn't know where on earth I was.
I have spent months and months living outdoors, catching my own daily lunch - a diet consisting of birds and mice. I've slept under privet hedges and in bramble bushes, when it was raining I slept in a stone bus shelter and a freezing cold tin trash can. It wasn't too bad during the warmer summer days with hours of sunshine for me to basque and lounge in, but boy when the long dark winter nights rolled in, bringing the snow and keen frosts I was frozen to the bone, my fur soaking wet through most of the time, I had lost hope of ever finding my home and loved ones ever again.
One December evening and at death's door with my skin now hanging off my bones, I was cold, starving hungry, thirsty and truly fed up and tired, when I see the woman again, feeding her ferret, I couldn't help myself this time, in desperation I clung on to the ferret cage and was determined I was having some of that cat food that she serving up for her ferret. This time the woman noticed me and so kindly offered me some tinned meat, biscuits with a milky drink of course. I hadn't tasted food so good in a long time and I quickly wolfed the lot down and legged it back into the hedges as fast as I could, I kept hidden away before anyone else saw me.
The following day and judging on my perfect time keeping skills, at the same time I was there waiting again, hoping that woman would arrive with some more delicious grub to spare - and she did so. She put her hand down to stroke me and I gave her a good friendly cat scratch and hissed and spat at her, I don't think she was too happy or impressed by my unpredictable greeting, but no one strokes me these days, I'm a little scared and not particularly used to humans approaching me.
Over the following days I continued to hang around and thankfully she kept coming with food for me and she even brought me a box when it was snowing. There was a small hole in the side and I managed to squeeze inside to take a peep, I couldn't believe my eyes, it was kitted out with carpets and furry soft suede with cushions piled inside, I purred my loudest and proudest. It's a bed, especially for me, the softest warmest bed I had seen in months and months, it was great, I fell in love, I loved it so much I didn't waste any time, I curled up in a ball and went straight off to sleep. After a much needed rest, I woke up to deep snow, I was so glad that I was so snuggly cosy warm and I have now got a little secret place, a warm dry shelter that I can actually call my home.
Hopefully I won't go sneaking off into the back of vans again; I'll stick to climbing trees. I trust the lady more each passing day, she feeds me daily and she knows I?m playful at heart, even though I hiss, strike out and scratch her with my sharp claws. I'm feeling great - up to my old mischievous self and looking much healthier these days. I'm glad someone cares and I definitely feel like the cat that got the cream?!!
Jo says - Sadly thousands of cats get abandoned, lost, stolen, injured and even killed on roads each year. Fortunately some are found, are micro-chipped and are able to get traced and reunited back home to where they belong. Others get found and taken to centres waiting to be re-homed. But there is a lot of lost cats that don't manage to find a new home and these cats then survive living a much shorter life in the wild as ferals, to catch them is impossible, if they haven?t been neutered they continue to breed.
Anyone thinking about having a cat for a pet, please make sure you get your pet micro-chipped and neutered, they do sometimes get lost and can be easily reunited back home if they have been micro-chipped, if they have been neutered they won?t be able to breed if they do turn wild producing an over populated community of unwanted cats.
If you do happen to suspect a stray living outdoors you can help by simply providing a small shelter with added warmth to beat the freezing temperatures which can be done inexpensively and would be much appreciated by any homeless moggy looking for a good nights kip.
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