Velogal's Blog

Monday, January 02, 2006

I’m writing this off topic - not cycling related. I know that many of my blog readers are dedicated animal lovers, so I’ll tell this story. This is about the fine fellow in the photo, who I call Mr. Russell Richardson. He was top cat in the house that I moved into about three years ago. He was called Russell by my landlady, but, after a getting to know me, he confided to me, with a great deal of purring, that his last name was Richardson. Mr. Russell Richardson is the biggest yellow tabby I’ve ever seen - he weighs about 22 pounds and is as gentle and loving as you could ever imagine. I bought him the gross orange, catnip-filled carrot toy with feathers on the top to welcome him home. He was licking his lips in anticipation when I took this shot.

Mr. Russell Richardson disappeared almost two years ago. I walked the entire neighborhood for weeks, calling his name, and we checked all the usual places to see if he had been found, alive or dead. My landlady had an identifying microchip inserted in his neck when he was a kitten. But he was nowhere to be found - he just disappeared into thin air.

This house experienced a somewhat of a "Christmas Miracle" last week. My landlady received a call from a local animal hospital, saying that they had received a cat and read the microchip implanted in his neck, and asking if we wanted him back!! After two years, Mr. Russell Richardson has returned, alive and well....

Seems that he had been an indoor cat with an unknown family, somewhere unknown, all this time. Seems that they had to move and couldn't take him with them. They had brought him to this animal clinic and, as usual, the first thing that most animal clinics or hospitals do is to run their scanner over the animal to see if it has a chip and can be identified. They did, and voila! My landlady went over and retrieved Mr. RR.... He seems to remember her, but seems rather vague about the house, since it has been remodeled since he left.

He is crying for his most recent family and wanting outside, but if we let him out, we know that he will he'll take off like a shot. So now we have four cats in the house. The other three are scared silly of Russell, especially poor little four- pound, indoor-all-her-life Baby Cat - she's never even been close to a strange cat before. Mama-Cat, who weighs about one-third of Russell's weight, hisses and growls and chases him.

Baby Cat was hiding in my room, and if she ventured out and met Mr. RR, she arched her back and growled for the first time ever in her one-year life. Now Russell is the most gentle, sweet cat in the world, despite his size, so there's nothing for him to do but run away and make the most lonesome, desperate crying sounds.

In the last two days, Baby Cat has taken to stalking the poor fellow, sneaking about three feet behind him, where ever he goes. This morning, when I opened a can of food for Mr. RR, Baby Cat forgot herself completely and rushed over to grab a few bites from the same dish. Mr. RR never made a sound, he just politely moved over to make room for her. But she realized what she was doing in a few seconds and hastily fled the scene.... Too funny....

The fourth cat, a little grey tabby whose name is Arabella, was raised with Russell, and she seemed to know him - at first... She greeted him by rubbing noses with him, and smelling him thoroughly. Unfortunately, she then saw the other two cats being so hysterically terrified of him. She decided that if the other cats were going to give him crap, she would, too. So now, poor Mr. Russell Richardson also gets hissed and growled at by Arabella. What kind of old friend is that, he asked me....

So the gentle giant has retreated to my landlady’s part of the house and seems to have some comfort there. When he comes into my area, I pet him and talk to him and carry him around to try to make him feel better, but he is just feeling abandoned, displaced and lonesome for his other family and other home... He just sits at the sliding glass door and yowls.... Day and night.... But, he is alive and he will become accustomed to his old home in time.... And it will be a Happy New Year for him.

So, I want to say to any of you who have critters that you love, to spend the $30-$40 to get a microchip implanted in your voiceless family member. This story proves that lost animals can be returned if they can be identified... If they can’t, it most often means death for them....


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