My Little Boy El Ray

by Bob

El Ray

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

El Ray

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

I didn't even know his mama was pregnant until El Ray was born. She hadn't gained weight, and my boys were neutered, so I had no reason to suspect anything. However, this was during the time when I was trying to acclimatize Dodge, who was not yet neutered, to being around other cats.

When I saw Princess cleaning something under my computer desk, I took a closer look and noticed it moving. It was a single kitten; she had given birth to only one. He was tiny, about the size of my thumb. Immediately I realized that the "scuffle" between Princess and Dodge had been something different altogether. I quickly put together a box with some old clothes in it for her and the baby. I named him El Ray after a vocal group from the 1950's.

Considering his size, I was sure there was something wrong with him, and was concerned with his chances for survival. My other cats reactions to him didn't help. A couple of my boys tried on a few occasions to drag him out of the box only to leave him somewhere else.

I had heard that when cats feel that a kitten is sick or won't make it, they will take it away from the nest to die. So his first couple of weeks included a few sleepless nights for myself and some alone time for he and his mother, secluded from the others. Once he could move around on his own, I decided that if they were to drag him away, he could make his way back to mommy. I was correct, and then some.

Apparently, the little one remembered the big boys who gave him such trouble. He found a nice, quiet area behind my television stand to sleep, where the others couldn't fit to get to him. But when he awoke, he took pleasure in torturing the boys who had given him a hard time. He bit their ears and tails, clawed their noses, and hopped away. Yes, he hopped... and still does to this day.

His back legs are very long, so that when he walks his hind end is higher than his shoulders. But when he speeds up, he actually hops like a rabbit! He pushes with both back legs at the same time. It may seem strange, but it apparently works for him as he is extremely fast.

El Ray had made it that far, but his troubles were not yet over. He had a very large umbilical hernia which must have been extremely painful. I took him to the vet to be checked out, and to see about surgery for the hernia. I was told that unless it got bigger, we should wait until he was six months old and have the hernia fixed and have him neutered at the same time (absolutely NO mention of declawing... GOOD VET).

As if the hernia wasn't enough, upon examination the vet asked if El Ray was already neutered. I explained that there was no way, as he was with me from birth. After further exam, El Ray was diagnosed as a bilateral cryptorchid. His testes would have to be surgically removed from his abdomen. I waited as the vet suggested, but by the time he was five months old the hernia seemed to be a bit bigger, and he hadn't grown for about a month, so I took him in.

He came home to me the next day with a shaved belly, three incisions, and an Elizabethan collar. After taking things easy for a while, El Ray healed perfectly. He still hopped, and never grew any bigger, but he was in good health. He never did experience the weight gain normally associated with neutered males. His belly is small, but his chest, shoulders, and legs are muscular. The best way to describe his appearance is that he has the perfect build for running. And run he does, all through my house!


My Little Boy El Ray to Largest Domestic Cat Breed

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My Little Boy El Ray

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Feb 23, 2010 El Ray - the story of a fighter
by: Finn Frode, Denmark

I think you're right the other cats sensed there was something wrong with El Ray, and he must have been a fighter right from the start to survive it all. Thank you for another great story, Bob. I very much enjoyed reading about him and his rabbit hops. 🙂

Finn Frode avatar

Feb 23, 2010 Willpower had alot to do with it...
by: Bob

Modern science saved El Ray, but the little guy's willpower played a big part. He went through more in his first few months of life than any kitten should have to, and as a result his resolve was strengthened. El Ray fears nothing. When he was still a kitten, shortly after his surgery, Dodge was upstairs again getting used to the others. It was still in the stage of him hissing and the others staying far away from him. Except, that is, for little El Ray. He hopped right over to Dodge and immediately Dodge hissed and swatted at him. I was ready to jump in and take El Ray away so he wouldn't get hurt (Dodge was still very mean tempered at the time), but before I could react, El Ray handled the problem himself by smacking Dodge right back. I don't know who was more surprised, Dodge or myself.

Feb 22, 2010 El Ray, little man....
by: Dorothy

Wonderful story. I hope we get to hear about the rest of the crew. I'll bet you are right that the other cats knew there was something wrong with the little guy. They didn't know modern science would keep little El alive and well.

I have a friend who rescued on their property a baby bobcat that had been abandoned. They kept it as their own, with help from a wonderful vet and the bobcat kitten seemed to take well to domestic life, but only for about a year. They called him "Bob" until they thought it was a female, they called it Bobbie. The story has a sad ending, as the little guy/girl started to be ill, and after an attempt at surgery the vet discovered the kitten was a hermaphrodite and probably wouldn't survive.

Somehow, the mother knew and left it alone to die. It had a nice little one year life.

Normally, this would be considered illegal, but it was way out in the country on hundreds of acres. It was a fun story at the time.

Do share more Human Bob! Love El Ray.


Feb 22, 2010 El Ray
by: Ruth

Thank you Bob, you have brightened my day too. What a story,El Ray survived against all the odds and rules your house, he's a little hero.
I love his photo too.
I'd love to hear about your other cats also.You certainly have a gift for writing and your love of cats shines through.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 22, 2010 Story
by: Michael

I loved this story. It reads like a novel all packed into 30 odd lines! The drama and surprise of birth. The struggle for life. The illness. The rabbit hop and the op! And now he is OK. A true cat story to brighten up my day.

Michael Avatar

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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