A cat’s long trek ‘home’…

As an editor, I hope you’ll pardon my non-standard use of writing periods as pauses for effect, but “What. Is. Up. With. Cats?”

Let me explain. A while back, I blogged about one of the stray cats we befriended, captured, and had the local animal control deliver to the Orphans of the Storm no-kill shelter. “Stanley,” as we called him,  became friendly with me rather quickly, but he was obviously intestinally sick and thin (probably with a belly full of worms) and needed help. We were glad to see him go to Orphans, since we couldn’t afford to keep him, and of course never expected to see him again. This was four months ago.

Imagine my surprise when, only two days ago, I stepped out the kitchen into the mudroom and saw Stanley hanging out on the back porch! He ran away, and I wasn’t entirely sure it was him, even though he had the same distinctive black fur spot on his face. After I put some food out, he came back, staying just out of arm’s length but not running away like a strange stray.

I was able to use the video camera to film him as well as check out his weird left eye (no normal circular pupil, just a black off-center splotch). Comparing it to the best old photo I have of him (below), I’ve got no doubt. It’s him; fatter and with better fur, looking much healthier, but him.

Stanley, 2011

I called Orphans of the Storm, thinking that maybe they had a practice of ‘trap, spay/neuter, and release’ on some strays that simply could not be kept. I couldn’t imagine it of Stanley, since he was friendly after he warmed up to me, but you never know. He certainly wanted to be an indoor/outdoor cat. The shelter, however, was clueless. Apparently they don’t kill or release, and they have no idea how it could have happened – unless he escaped from the city animal control before he got taken to the shelter, or he was actually adopted by a local and then escaped. (Oh, I should point out that the shelter is not in our town – it’s 26 miles south.) I didn’t try to delve into any record-keeping, knowing that it would be futile. They have hundreds of cats going in and out of there, and no documentation on my end of things.

As I said, he definitely looks better groomed and in better condition. The great mystery remains, though. Where has he been? And how did he get back? I guess I’ll never know.

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