Creature Feature: Luxor
Luxor is my garden kitty. But he didn’t start off that way. A few years ago he showed up on our doorstep as a full grown, feral cat. It took several months for him to become friendly enough to be completely surprised when we stuck him in a cat carrier and drove him to the vet for shots and neutering. He wouldn’t talk to me for weeks afterwards.
But food and winter weather softened his heart. He came around to the occasional head scratch, with an irritated tail twitch. We got use to seeing him twice a day, at meal times. Then this kitten showed up in the middle of winter, still small enough to have eyes that had not settled into their final color yet. Luxor grudgingly took this pipsqueak under his wing. Little dude was very quick and could not be caught; we named him Streak (I’ll do a post dedicated to him later).
These two became constant companions. Then we had a minor altercation with a neighbor who raised doves. He was convinced it was our small cat Streak (later it turned out to be another feral cat). So, we brought Streak in for a few days. 18 hours into that, we noticed that Luxor had not showed up for breakfast, and later was missing his dinner. We searched and found him unconscious under a car. He was far to hot, and not moving. We dribbled some water into him and he barely responded. It was a Sunday; no vet until the following morning.
Poor dude had no visible injuries and no broken bones. I had no idea what was wrong with him besides heat stroke and dehydration. We brought him inside, to the cool bathroom. All afternoon and all night, we took turns sitting with him, dribbling water into his mouth and monitoring his temperature. If he was too hot, we placed him directly on to the cool linoleum floor. If he was too cold, he laid in my lap.
Sometime during that long night, he urinated. I knew then we had a chance of pulling him through because it meant that his kidneys were still functioning. We got him into the vet the next morning and by Wednesday he was well enough to have visitors. The vets also did not know what was wrong with him, though they did note one paw swelled up. He came home that Friday. Ever since then, he has been my most loving gardening companion, sitting on my lap as I plant or weed.
I have not found anything more rewarding than working with feral animals; the deepest reward comes when an animal chooses my company.