Family Hears A Kitten Crying In Pain Under Their Trash Can. This Is Oscar's Amazing Story
March 15, 2017
After a stormy Saturday August night, my family emerged the next morning to head to church amid yet more drizzling rain. I was locking up the house when my five year old shouted from her car seat that she heard a cat. I shrugged this off as she is animal crazy and there are several neighborhood cats. Then I heard the shrill cry of a kitten in pain.
I walked around the corner of the house to the source of the sound and saw nothing until he cried out again. I rolled our waste container forward (pictured below) and underneath I found a small kitten about five weeks old. Terrified and feral, he hissed and weakly trotted into some brush a foot away, but I was able to grab him all the same. He offered little resistance other than hissing as he was starving and sick. I noticed that his back paws were badly infected and covered with dozens of maggots. I imagine his mother must have abandoned him after sensing his worsening condition.
I carried him into the house and left him on a towel in our bathtub to attend to later after church.
My eldest daughter said that the night before we found him, she'd heard mewing outside her window during the storm. She also said she'd been praying for a pet. We promised nothing as we were generally a no-pets family save for a goldfish that our oldest daughter got for her 6th birthday. It died in early 2016. :(
We took the kitten to a vet the next day and received antibiotics for his infected paws. I had already killed off any remaining maggots by bathing his feet in saltwater which probably hurt a lot. For the first week or so he just rested on a towel that we nested in a box, leaning out to gnaw at some soft food. Although the infection and maggots are now history, one of his paws has pads that appear to be fused by scar tissue, and a claw appears to be permanently missing. (He still climbs well)
He started to warm up to us and seemed happier after a couple of days of antibiotics. His paws were so badly infected that he mostly dragged his feet around. When he wanted to scratch behind his ears, he wouldn't actually make contact with his feet, kicking at air, probably because of pain. It took over a month with antibiotics and daily foot baths (with soapy water) before he was completely healed up, but he was able walk pretty normally after a couple of weeks.
My wife and I had agreed from day one of our marriage that we were not pet people. We both have "pet allergies". Another reason was that when I young, my mother had slowly progressed into becoming a pet hoarder. By age 16, I moved out to live with my Dad partly due to what I will simply describe as the unlivable conditions of her home. We planned to give this kitten, whom we named Oscar (get it?), to a local shelter once he was done healing. Who were we kidding?
After a month or so, his eyes changed to an amber color and he became quite a playful little murder floof. His more feral attributes had disappeared as well, save for some hissing when startled. These days he doesn't hiss at all, he is completely tame and is even friendly to houseguests.
He's hated every bath we've ever given him but he also likes to bat at running water playfully (along with anything else that moves).
Aaaand this was the day I decided we were keeping him.
Once it was settled that we were keeping him, we got him chipped, vaccinated, and neutered. We resolved to keep him as an indoor cat. I got to work, building him an awesome cat condo from scratch, installing it into a wall that is eight feet high. It's the perfect refuge from small grabby children.
I used scrap plywood and a large area rug I got on clearance for $10. Cheapest cat condo ever!
The kitty window is well used to murder toys and to spy on approaching hoomans.
Of our four children, he gets along with our eldest daughter the best, even though she did this to him. He's been more patient with our kids than we are with them. I monitor the little ones closely when they are with him and constantly emphasize that he is not a toy, and to be gentle with him even when he wants to be rough.
Christmas taught us how much Oscar loved trees and brush. Also, shiny dangly things.
He liked to attack people's ankles from under the tree skirt.
Seriously, he lived under this thing while it was up. He was also constantly trying to escape out into the cold a lot. I took him out during a snowy day, convinced he would hate it and cling to the indoors. That backfired, he loved it. He managed to escape a couple of times after that but always came home.
We recently decided to let him go out during daylight. He keeps close to the house and stays clear of the street. He seems so much happier now that he can go outside. Our next door neighbor looks forward to receiving visits from him while he's working in his garage. Heaven knows how many birds have met their end to this guy. Whenever I see him outside, he seems to be tracking them. No bodies have been found yet...
When the little kids are asleep, he likes to chill on the couch next to me. He often sleeps at our feet at night and bites them at dawn when he wants to go outside. Oscar is now both family and a good friend.
An added bonus is that nobody in the house seems to be allergic to him. (Maybe just dogs then?)
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