For the past year we have noticed a feral (at the time we thought stray) cat off and on roaming around our street. She started getting braver and braver and began hanging around our porch. I started feeding her but had no means to catch her. My in-laws have a humane trap they let us borrow. So I waited for her to come around, baited it, and within minutes she was caught!
I brought her inside, put her in our spare room with food, water, a litter box, and lots of treats and toys. The poor thing was terrified. I put her picture up everywhere, thinking maybe someone had lost her. I contacted all the shelters near me, shared her picture all across facebook. Nothing. It had been 5 days and not a soul had seen her. I did notice a piece of her ear missing (an ear tip I was informed) but was unsure what that meant.
I called my vet and told her we had a stray and I wanted to have her scanned for a microchip. Up until now we had very little contact with her. She was scared and huddled in a corner of the room and we didn’t want to touch her in case she scratched. We didn’t know if she carried any diseases.
We took her to the vet where they told us that missing ear was due to her being TNR’d meaning Trap-Neuter-Release. Essentially, rescues will collect a bunch of feral cats, neuter/spay them, give them a rabies shot, and re release them to help the overpopulation problem. Needless to say she didn’t have a microchip or a previous owner. She was ours! Not only that, but she was an absolute angel at the vets. I’m not sure if it was because she was so terrified but alot of terrified cats will strike out. Not harper. She has never once scratched or bit me.
Now since she got a clean bill of health she could be let out into our main house and with the animals. The other animals were pretty happy overall. Except Harper. She hid under our or gabriel’s bed. Whichever was quiet. And then one more I woke up and could not find her. There is a hole in the floor under our sink that drops into the basement. From the basement you can get into a crawl space and get outside. Now for her to be able to get into that crawl space would be impressive so we think that Gabriel opened the door to let dory out and let Harper out too but was to scared to tell us. I spent days ripping apart the house looking in every nook and cranny I could think of. What’s worse is before she went missing I had bought her a collar online. It arrived when I had given up hope of finding her.
A few weeks went by and then it snowed. I was still devastated over loosing Harper. I am not one for praying but I prayed hard over this. I spent long nights researching feral cats. I looked at shelters seeing if she was there. I was miserable. I looked outside and saw cat footprints. I was ecstatic. I reset the trap and hoped for the best. The best never came.
About a month ago we were sitting at the breakfast table when Jess suddenly sat up straight and pointed outside. There she was. Standing on the back porch. Staring at me. I know it was stupid, but I opened the back door hoping shed come running back in. She high tailed it the other direction.
Almost every day for the past two weeks she has been on our porch. And we have sat there for hours trying to coax her in. She was to trap savy at this point and no matter how well we baited the trap she refused. We did catch a possum once though. That was a great way to start off my Monday.
Finally a few days ago, when I had just about given up hope, I noticed she came up to the door whenever she could see the other animals. I put Dante in a room cause hes to little and will bolt out the door never to be seen again. I made dory stay in the kitchen but you could see her from the door and when Peanut wasn’t paying attention to the door I opened it. To my amazement Harper just walked right in. I slammed the door behind her and she froze. I was able to pick her up and bring her back into her room.
Now the slow bonding begins. She was so hungry when she got here. And she looks like she may have lost weight. But she’s home and warm and safe. The poor thing is so scared though. I go in a couple times a day and just sit with her. She hides away from me but if I approach she will let me pet her and pick her up. I made her a bed and put my sweatshirt on it so she could get used to my smell. She seemed to enjoy lying in it for a few moments before she ran again. Every day we make a teeny tiny bit more progress. I just hope eventually she will realize we are trying to keep her safe. I do not like outdoor cats unless they live at a barn or are socialized well and hang around the house and come in at night. To many predators out there for cats to be alone in the dark.
Here’s a picture of our sweet girl. I’m so glad she is home.