My husband and I have four male cats and they are all heroes to us in some fashion. Each has his own story, his own personality, and claim on our hearts. One of our cats though is in the middle of the biggest change of his life. This story is about TomCat.
He doesn’t have a very original name as he was, in fact, a tomcat. He was a feral kitty that roamed the neighborhood and got food where he could, including my back patio. He didn’t come by every day or at any specific time, he would just show up and I would put some food out for him. He wouldn’t come very close and would always hiss at me as I put down his bowl.
Over a period of a couple years our relationship changed; he would hiss at me and then rub against my leg as I put out his food. I noticed he would scratch incessantly at his ears and frequently had open wounds. After some phone calls, I found a veterinarian that would give him a medical exam and neuter him. I had to trap Tom to get him to the vet as there was no approaching him or picking him up.
He did not have mites, as I thought, but was allergic to fleas. A little flea treatment and he was a much happier cat. In fact, he felt so much better he would hang out on my patio and only make short excursions or “walk-abouts.” We thought this was perhaps the first time in a long time that he was living without pain.
Tom used to disappear during the winter and not return until spring. However, that winter Tom was not leaving and would often sit in the rain at my sliding glass door. So, we bought a nice insulated outdoor house for him. He adapted to it quickly and had a nice cozy, dry place to curl up. He still swatted at us and hissed occasionally, but he was beginning to let us pet him.
As spring arrived it seemed that TomCat was not eating as he should. He was losing weight and seemed rather depressed. This time, to get him to the vet, I wrapped Tom up in a towel and put him in a cat carrier without very much resistance. Something was very wrong. With one look in his mouth the vet knew that Tom had Stomatitis. It was very painful for him the vet explained, and there were only two options: remove his teeth or put him to sleep. There was no way to say how he would do after the tooth removal, but we had to give him that chance.
Just a few hours after the surgery, Tom was eating. After spending the night at the clinic, we released him back to the patio. I put a little wet food out and he went right to it. It was a little messy, but he ate up.
Now, Tom loves to be pet, sit on our laps, and will even let us pick him up. We recently moved and of course, took Tom with us. He has been in a big dog kennel for a couple weeks and we are hoping to train him to use a kitty door so that he can come into the garage from the cold. Recently, I decided to try to put a harness on him to take him for little walks around the yard to get him used to his new surroundings. I didn’t think this would go over so well, and yet, TomCat sat very patiently while I put the harness on him and then trotted around the yard with us while rubbing up against our legs and purring the whole time. I’m so proud of our TomCat and so amazed by his adaptability. His capacity for trust and love is surely an inspiration and for that, he is a Tru Hero.