The following true story is not for the faint of heart. Therefore, if you, knowing your own self, identify as someone who is faint of heart, then read some sissy blog somewhere else. But it is up to you, dear reader. Do what you think is best.
Dante came to our ranch with his owner, Johnna, who booked a camping site at our ranch through Hipcamp. (My wife, Miss Sugar, and I are both, obviously, very hip).
Dante appeared to identify as a male domestic cat. Johnna, in clear violation of Dante’s HIPPA rights, shared personal medical information about Dante. She told us that his history includes being neutered and declawed. If I was Dante, I would want that history to remain private. (Do not interpret that comment to infer or imply that I myself have been neutered or declawed. I am simply empathizing with those who have been neutered or declawed, such as Dante).
One might expect that anyone who has been both neutered and declawed would be particularly careful about staying safe. One might expect that anyone neutered and declawed would not run away into the wilderness, where there are creatures that have not been neutered nor declawed, and, I might add, such creatures are categorized as predators whose missions in life involve hunting and eating what they hunt. We frequently see or hear coyotes. We recently saw a bobcat by the clothesline and later caught it on camera crossing out lane. Years ago we saw a mountain lion crossing the bridge. I assume that none of those predators have been declawed.
Dante, however, chose to sneak out of Johnna’s recreational vehicle and then made a separate choice to run away. He chose to not come when called. He chose to disappear.
There is a cat named Camo who lives on our ranch in the capacity of being a barn cat. Camo has never been inside our house. Camo itself is a predator, who is a mighty hunter of rabbits and mice and voles and negligent birds. Camo has not been declawed.
Miss Sugar, having been informed of Dante’s disappearance, and always being eager to help, went to town and rented from the feed store a live animal trap intended for catching raccoons and foxes and the like. We baited the trap with cat food. We caught a cat the very first night. We caught Camo, not Dante. We released Camo, of course. We kept setting the trap and kept catching Camo until we saw the futility. I concluded that Dante was, as they say in Westerns, a goner.
Johnna stayed a few days, frequently and optimistically checking the trap in the barn and releasing Camo. She put up a flier at the post office about her missing cat. But she could not stay forever, so she left without Dante. She was very sad. Miss Sugar promised to keep an eye out for Dante. Johnna sent many text messages, inquiring daily about Dante.
Three weeks went by without any sign of Dante. We assumed that he would not be coming back. But then he did.
Sugar spotted something in the tall grass by the river, near the chicken coop. She got down on all fours so as not to scare whatever it was she noticed. She gently called Dante’s name. Low and behold, it was Dante indeed. Sugar grabbed him. Although he has no claws, as mentioned previously, he does have teeth. He bit Sugar. Ungrateful feline. Sugar hung on, out of kindness to Johnna, I suppose.
Sugar carried Dante to our house and fed him dog food in our kitchen. He gobbled it up like he had not eaten for awhile. Sugar then put him on our screened-in porch with water and food and an improvised litter box. He was not happy. He was not grateful. He meowed constantly.
Sugar immediately contacted Johnna. She was grateful. She said she would come get Dante in two days. It was Friday. She made the seven hour drive on Sunday. They were reunited. It was heartwarming.
I am amazed that Dante survived for three weeks. He might be a pussy, but he is a survivor.