One night during the January Snowpocalypse, we heard the “Strange Cat” call from Tux,our older cat, down by the front door. We went to investigate and indeed found a strange cat looking in the window pane alongside the door – a large orange tabby. It looked cold and forlorn, so we put out some water and food, which was wolfed down immediately. I put out one of our cat carriers, lined with blankets inside and out, in which the cat spent the night. However, during the day the cat disappeared and as night fell it hadn't returned. As the snow continued to fall, the temperature had dropped into the lower 20's and we were really worried that the poor cat would not make it through the night.
While watching the 11 o'clock news, I realized that I hadn't covered the faucet at the back of the house, so I went out to make sure the pipes wouldn't freeze. When I was putting on the cover, I heard a plaintive “Meow” and looking down, I saw a very cold orange tabby cat. I picked it up and put it in our garage. Soon it was moved into our basement room and we gradually introduced it to our three other cats so he could have free run of our home.
After taking him to the vet, we found he had been micro-chipped. We had been calling him Bessie, but the vet told us it was male. So Bessie became Buster. We contacted the microchip maker and found that the primary contact number had been disconnected, but the secondary contact was an address on our street. We found that his owner had died and her handyman (the secondary contact) had taken in the woman's pets. Buster had run away sometime before Christmas and hadn't returned. As it was probable that Buster would run away again (there was a doggy door for the owner's dog), his new owner said that we could try to find the cat a home or return it to Homeward Pet, where he had been adopted as a kitten.
Buster is a wonderful cat, and is friendly and affectionate, although he give you a “love” nip if you pet him too much or thinks that you are playing. He is full of energy and loves to play. He'll carry his cat bed in his mouth and shake it like he was a dog. There is no table top, shelf, counter, etc. in our home that he has not jumped up on and explored. One time I couldn't find him and I searched the house up and down. Finally I found that a quilt had fallen from the top shelf in one of our closets. When I looked up, I saw two ears poking up from behind a pile of quilts. We still don't know how he got up there. No treat or food bag is safe lying around as he will chew it full of holes and then shake it to get them out.
Buster soon found that our older male cat, Tux, wouldn't put up with any funny business and they worked out a relationship of “live and let live” very quickly. Our younger cat, Basie, soon became Buster's buddy and they hung out together. However, Buster is much bigger and Basie would sometimes be overwhelmed when they tussled. Our other cat, Mavis, an older fat tabby female was very uncomfortable when Buster was around. She would run away when he came near. Buster would instinctively chase her and she would usually hide in the closet. Judicious use of a spray bottle and making it clear that this behavior was not acceptable, eventually led to an uneasy truce between the two and their spats became much more infrequent.
Buster is very intelligent. At night, we would put him in the downstairs room and shut the doors, so it was a surprise when we found Buster one morning sprawled (he is the king of sprawl) in the hall outside of our bedrooms. Thinking I had not closed one of the doors, I made sure the doors were closed the next night. Next morning, there was Buster again. He had figured out how to turn a door knob.
When I took Tux out for walks on a leash, Buster would come down and lay on the rug beside us and watch as I put the leash on. I was soon able to leash him up and get him to go out for walks – he was well behaved and easy to control, and would rush down every time I went down the stairs, hoping I would take him out for a walk.
As we already have too many cats – with COPD and cat allergies pushed to the limit, we came to the realization that we couldn't keep Buster, although we loved him. So it was with heavy hearts that we called Homeward Pet and made arrangements to give him up. We are going to miss seeing his beautiful confident tail flicking back and forth as he made his way down the hallway, but we know that he will find a family that will love him as much as we have. We are very glad to have been there for him when he needed us, and we will never forget him.