Peg Cushman: Cat earns a place in our hearts, home - The Buffalo News

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Peg Cushman: Cat earns a place in our hearts, home

What was I to do? I fell for his beautiful green eyes, his long gray hair, his scared face, his purposeful walk and his distinct scent. This homeless cat tugged on my heartstrings just like all the others, but somehow he was different, even more special. I had to help him. I’m certain he had a family at one time because he is a sweet, loving soul. But somehow, due to unfortunate circumstances, he must have lost his home.

My sons saw him wandering around on several occasions and named him Jack.

One bitter cold morning, Jack was sitting on the front porch at work, so we invited him in to warm up. He quickly walked in, and I fed and brushed his tangled fur. He stayed only a few minutes.

We were prepared for his next visit with a bed, litter box, treats and catnip toys. Jack seemed to like this setup, because he began staying all day until my return at night to let him out.

One night Jack didn’t want to leave and it broke my heart, but he hadn’t used the litter box and I was afraid he would spray. So I sadly walked him out. I made the mistake of looking back and saw Jack staring at the door. I cried at the sight, and my heavy heart was filled with guilt and shame.

A few days later, Jack reported back to work with a gash on his cheek. He patiently sat as I cleaned and dabbed peroxide on his injury. I didn’t see him for over a week and thought maybe he had a home after all. But I kept looking out the window just in case. One morning, as the temperature hovered around zero, I spotted Jack. He was covered in snow, his hair frozen in spikes. I immediately dried him off and he loved the fuss and attention. Soon he rolled onto his back purring in delight. My husband and I decided enough was enough, it was just too cold outside. We decided to take a chance and let him stay overnight so I made a nice nest in the bathroom with all his essentials. When I arrived at work the next morning, Jack let me know in no uncertain terms just what he thought about that arrangement. The odor was interesting, and that’s when I decided that Jack needed to be neutered so he could remain inside.

I contacted Community Cats Alive, an affiliate of Buffalo Humane, and was told that for a minimal fee, the agency would neuter, vaccinate and administer a flea treatment. My dilemma was: Did I have the right to make this decision? I was assured that for Jack’s well-being, it was the right thing to do. He would no longer spray, wander, yowl and look for fights, and it would prevent him from contributing to the already over population of homeless kittens.

Jack’s surgery went well and he is now thoroughly enjoying his life. He entertains us with his daily antics of fetching balls and he has a special place in our hearts. Jack has found his forever home.

The people at Community Cats Alive are kind, unselfish, caring individuals who are improving the lives of feral cats in the area with their TNVR program. They trap, neuter, vaccinate and release these cats back into their neighborhood. They also gave me a warming shelter for the many feral cats that I feed daily.

Animals experience emotions, especially fear, so please lend a hand to those that can’t speak.

Charles Dickens must have had a cat when he wrote: “What greater gift than the love of a cat?”

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