Lone Star

Lone Star is a sweet kitty with an interesting story.  Melanie first learned about him when she saw him on a leash being used by a homeless man and woman to solicit donations from people as they parked at a local Wal-Mart.  Melanie was concerned about the kitten, so she gave it some food and water and gave the people her phone number so that she could make arrangements to get the kitten spayed or neutered.  Shortly after that, the homeless woman called her and said that they are being arrested and the kitten is being left there in the parking lot all alone.  Melanie went over there to look for the kitten, and he walked right up to her in the parking lot of a Lone Star restaurant.  She took him home to care for him and referred to him as her Lone Star kitty.

According to the homeless couple, they found a beat-up carrier on the side of the road shortly after the devastating flood of August 2016.  Inside the carrier they found this kitten.  The story can't be verified, but, it is possible that the carrier fell off a vehicle unnoticed as the driver was escaping the flood.

Melanie discovered that Lone Star had a microchip, but there was never a response to numerous attempts by both Melanie and the microchip company to contact the original owner.  Lone Star was just one or two months old when the flood disrupted his life.  It is not clear how long he was with the homeless couple, but he has lived with Melanie for eight months now, and she has given him the love and stability he has needed.  But Melanie already has more cats than she wants, so she has been looking for someone to give him a good home.

When Lone Star went missing on Melanie's property recently, she looked for him but was unable to find him.  It was not until the next evening that she found him, and that was only because this time he was crying for her.  She searched for him and found him stuck about 20 feet high in a tree.  She contacted me for ideas about how to get him down herself, but all efforts failed.  I told her I would be out there early the next morning, after his second night in the tree.

The next morning, Melanie led me to the tree, and there we found Lone Star in the same place where she had left him the night before.  Lone Star is a friendly and sociable kitty, so I was expecting this to be a quick and easy rescue.  When I climbed up to him, however, he became scared and went farther out on his branch away from me.  Still, I thought that all I needed to do was give him some time to calm down, and then he would come to me.  After several minutes, he did calm down a good bit, but he did not come any closer to me.  I offered him some food, and, while he showed some interest in it, he would not eat any.  While that helped to show him that I was friendly, it still was not enough for him to fully trust me and come any closer.

I had other tricks up my sleeve to rescue him, but the night before I had read about someone who had successfully rescued an uncooperative cat from a tree by using his cellphone on speaker-phone to let the cat owner talk to it.  I am a very skeptical guy, and I scoffed at this idea.  Yet, if it actually helped, then this is a tool I might want to use sometime, and this was a good time to test this theory.

I told Melanie what I wanted to do, and she was agreeable.  I called her, put the phone on speaker-phone and pointed the phone toward Lone Star.  His reaction was very clear to me.  He began to speak and fidget, and then he stood up and slowly began to walk toward me.  When he got within reach, I held out my hand for him to sniff.  My stinky glove smells nothing like the scent he was expecting, so he started backing away.  I also could not refrain from speaking to him myself, which I think just confused him.

After a short rest period, we tried it again.  Melanie began calling him, and I tried to remain quiet.  Again, Lone Star responded by standing up and slowly walking down the branch toward me.  It was as if he thought I was Melanie.  He came closer this time and allowed me to pet him for the first time.  I had my gloved cat bag on my hand ready to scruff him into the bag, and I could have picked him up then, but I wanted to lead him farther down the branch into a carrier instead.  That was a mistake, because he retreated at the sight of the carrier, and I missed my chance to bag him.

Once again, after a pause, we tried to lure him down a third time, and, again, he responded.  This time, he came down more readily, and I was ready for him.  I grabbed his scruff, lifted him off the branch and pulled the bag down over him.  He was safe and secure at last.

I brought him down and turned him over to Melanie.  I was so pleased to learn that this new idea of luring a cat via the owner's voice actually seems to have merit.  It is always good to have a new tool in the tool belt, as cats seem always to be challenging me in different ways.  The more options I have, the better.