On February 21, 2011, a gentleman brought back a trap he had borrowed from us to catch a feral cat that had been living in a garage on an empty rental property. He set the trap on the front counter and in it was a stinky, filthy, matted, feces-encrusted, full-cheeked, drooling, hissing, feral tomcat. I looked at the cat, I looked at the gentleman and I immediately apologized to him. I knew without a doubt that he was going to test FIV positive and even if we neutered him and re-released him as a feral he probably wouldn’t survive long out there. He would end up suffering a long and agonizing death. Ten minutes later, my first impression had been proven correct. He was, without a doubt, FIV positive. I packed him in a crate and headed to the vet to pick up our cats and to drop him off.
Rescue work has its rewards but the ugly side can wear you down. I got to the vet and I just couldn’t bring myself to take him in. I knew I was just adding one more thing to my workload but I just couldn’t do it. I knew that he could end up being a huge financial burden to the Rescue… but if I put him to sleep it could very well be the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. I took him home.
He stunk up my whole house, he had shooting diarrhea and was a full-fledged tomcat with a smell that exuded from every pore of his body. I took him to get neutered and dealt with the looks that said “Are you crazy?!” I took him back home and stuck him in a Great Dane-sized cat crate in my quarantine room with other sick kitties. After a few days he warmed up to me and I knew that he had originally been someone’s cat, who, not being neutered, probably had been dumped outside to fend for himself. I treated him for giardia and then spent 9 months cleaning up after him. He would pee in a cat box but he would poop in the cage and ROLL in it. He was disgusting! I cleaned and brushed feces out of his coat everyday, tried different cat litters and cat boxes but nothing worked. Every month he went through a coat change, replacing his nasty tomcoat for a new one. He just kept getting healthier no matter what he was exposed to. BUT he wouldn’t stop rolling in his poop! There was no way anyone was going to want him.
In September, my youngest child and his family needed to move in and they have cat allergies. All the cats needed to move out. I started asking everyone if they had anywhere for him to go and a couple of the volunteers said they would take him, not because they knew him and liked him but for me. In October I took him to work prior to an adoption event in a medium dog crate with a small travel cat box and hoped someone would fall in love. People looked but no one committed. We never let cats free to roam in the building because we have so much foot traffic that we can never be sure what people are dragging in on their feet but I figured what the heck. I let him out and he moseyed around like he had been there his whole life. He jumped up on his crate and went to sleep. We got busy and I forgot about him. A couple of hours later I heard some scratching around and realized that he was still loose. I looked in his crate and he was pooping IN THE BOX!
Now EVERONE wants Dooley but I CAN’T give him up!
He sees every kitty here as part of his pride. He greets them when they get here and says goodbye when they leave. If he thinks we are being threatened by an animal, he protects us. We don’t know how long his immune system will hold out but he is our Dooley and we are his!