Unknown Torby

When Andrea let her dogs out in the backyard of their Hattiesburg, Mississippi home, one of them spotted a cat intruder in the yard and immediately began to chase it. The cat ran up a large oak tree near the fence. Andrea has two cats of her own, and her two dogs are cat-friendly, so she was concerned about this cat she had never seen before and hoped it would come down on its own when she brought the dogs back inside. Andrea kept checking on the cat, but it was always still on the same limb about 20 feet high. When she found the cat was still there the following morning, she already knew who to contact. When she was a student at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Bob Reese was one of her faculty advisers, and she knew he rescues cats in trees. Since Hattiesburg is closer to me, Bob asked me if I would be interested in handling it, and I agreed to do it.

This unknown kitty in Andrea's tree had remained mostly quiet, so I was concerned that this was a feral cat. Generally, tame cats will talk to people below and cry for help, but feral cats won't because they don't want to call attention to themselves. When I arrived, I talked to the kitty from the ground, and she watched my every move, but she never said a word. At one point, I thought I saw a grimace of fear on her face, so I was preparing myself for a feral cat. As it turned out, however, I could not have been more wrong. When I began to climb up to her, she started talking to me and rubbing her head on the tree and walking around in place with excitement now that she saw I was coming. In a matter of seconds, this "feral" kitty transformed into a super sweetie, and I was very relieved and happy to see that.

She readily greeted me and let me pet her. She felt very skinny to me, so I suspect she has been on her own for a while. At first, she appeared to be a brown tabby, but she has some tortie markings as well with a touch of orange on her back, so I am calling her a torby. After a short visit with her in the tree, I gave her a chance to go inside the carrier, but she didn't want to do that. After a few unsuccessful attempts to get her in the carrier, I put it away and put her in a bag instead and brought her down.

I turned the kitty over to Andrea who had already planned to care for the cat and find its owner. Andrea is a very responsible and caring person, so I know I am leaving the kitty in good hands. We put her in Andrea's carrier and fed her. I scanned her for a microchip but did not find one. I left while Andrea went to work to find the owner.

It was less than an hour after I left that I got a message and this picture from Andrea showing the kitty resting comfortably in her lap. The kitty was settling in as if this were her home. She liked to sit on Andrea's shoulder like a parrot as she walked around the house, and in spite of the variety of cat toys available to her, she preferred playing with toilet paper rolls and the dog's tails. In a house with two cats and two dogs already, Andrea did not want to add another cat to the mix, but the kitty certainly appeared to want this to be her new home. She is already comfortable with the dogs and cats, though one of the resident cats may need some more time to adjust to her. She slept by Andrea's head all night that night, and, by the next day, I think Andrea has decided to keep this sweet little treasure if her owner is not found. Time will tell. She already has an appointment for the vet.

As it turned out, it may be that getting chased by a dog and stuck in a tree is the luckiest thing ever to happen to this kitty.