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My wife and I had cats before we were married and we found good homes for them before we moved into our pet-resistant first apartment in Vancouver’s West End. A couple of years later, we moved to a rented house far from the city centre. We had often discussed whether or not to get a cat, but we traveled a lot and thought that might be unfair to a cat.
One spring morning, we were leaving for work and, sitting on the mat, was a stray cat. Being cat people we said “Good Morning,” told it to go home and went to work. When we got home, there was the cat sitting on the roof of the carport next door, harassed by a dog. We shooed it away and, again, encouraged the cat to go home.
Inside, I put the kettle on for tea and we changed into gardening clothes. We had a quick cup of tea and went out to tidy up the winter-scruffy garden until it was time to go in and make dinner. As we sat down to eat, the cat strolled sleepily into the kitchen from the living room. He stretched, sat and demanded some supper.
Again, being cat people, we found something for him to eat, then he returned to his cozy spot in the living room to snooze. He was a beautiful ginger tabby about a year old with short, pale fur. He was healthy and well groomed, obviously, someone had looked after him. He was neutered, but he had been de-clawed.
After our vet checked him over, he told us the cat had a pin in his hip to repair a broken bone and it was fixed about the time he had his claws removed. Perhaps it was being de-clawed that persuaded him it was time to find another home.
We advertised on radio and in the newspaper, but there were no replies, so we kept him. More correctly, he decided to keep us and became Montgomery of the Desert, AKA Monty. He never forgot his absent claws and frequently scratched the furniture, or as we called it ‘polished’ the furniture. Having his claws removed seemed to have made his feet sensitive. When he sat down, he curled his tail tightly around his toes, then carefully put his front feet on top of it. He was the personification of a laid back cat, nothing bothered him.
Monty happily stayed with us, tolerating our traveling and camping. Fortunately, we had a friend, Laurie, living with us and she liked to look after Monty. He did, however, show his disapproval after we got home. For the first day or two he would walk into whichever room we happened to be in, make sure we saw him and sit down with his back to us.
A couple of months later, Ivan, a Tonkinese kitten, joined the family, but misfortune struck and I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. My life became an endless string of trips to the hospital and recovering at home. The cats were intrigued and their new self-appointed job was to look after me. A warm body in bed all day just waiting to be snuggled seemed heavenly to them.
I spent a lot of time reading with cats stretched out beside me while my wife was at work. Boredom led to observing the cat’s behaviour around me. When I was really sick, they would curl up close to my face and pat me. But when I was feeling better, they relaxed and stretched out beside me. Loneliness made me begin to talk more to Monty and Ivan. I have always talked to the cats and they ‘talked’ back, but now I began to watch how they communicated. Little chirps and murmurs were the bulk of what I could hear, but, with their hearing, they probably conversed in the ultrasonic range, judging me.
When he was 14, he fell off the bed unable to stand so, we rushed him to the vet. He had had a stroke and the vet told us to take him home and love him, he may or may not recover, there was nothing else he could do. We took him home and he slowly recovered, but was completely deaf. Always an outside cat, we worried about him, but he had everything under control.
He spent most of his time in the fenced backyard, but on warm nights he would crawl under the car where it was cool and he was hidden. He had always been called in for the night, but how do you call a deaf cat? He taught us that if we flicked the outside light on and off a couple of times he would slither out and trot up the front path to the house.
Every night he was with us, he would curl up by my feet and guard the bedroom door. If either of us got up during the night we would be greeted with a “merp” when we came back to bed, just to let us know he was on night-watch.
After all the years he spent with us, Monty maintained an air of mystery. When he found us we lived in an entirely residential neighbourhood on Vancouver’s west side surrounded by hundreds of other houses. How could he possibly have known to come to a house where there were people who would love him?
Story submitted by Jim Saunders from Comox, Canada.
Monty’s story was originally shared on The Animal Rescue Site. Share your very own rescue story here!
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