Saturday, March 03, 2007
Reigning Cats and Dogs, Part 3: Squirt
I wrote recently about my encounter with a gang dude. But the truth is, we have a gang member living right here in our household. Well, sort of living here. He buggers off for days sometimes, and never calls us to say where he's gone. He is nicked and scarred from gangland brawls. We suspect he sells crack catnip out of the garage. His name is Squirt.
Squirt lived with my Beloved before we met. He was a free spirit, usually preferring the freedom of outdoors over the comfort of a warm couch. When B and Squirt moved in with me a few years ago, Squirt took off within a week. For two or three days we didn’t worry, but then we started searching the neighbourhood. After a week or so we put up “LOST CAT” posters. We got phone calls from many kind people, but none of the sightings turned out to be Squirt.
After two months we had pretty much given up hope of ever seeing Squirt again. I missed the little guy, but I was heart sick for B, who had loved Squirt since he was a kitten. I don’t know why, but I got the idea that if we took in a cat that really needed a home, some of the resulting good karma might help poor lost Squirt, and he would find a loving home too.
So I went to the SPCA and asked if they had any cats that were hard to adopt out. They had one all right. He was a pathetic, desperately unhappy tabby that had been abandoned by his owners. He was freaked out and had not touched food since arriving at the shelter several days earlier. He was covered in shit, having lost control from the trauma of being caged. He hissed, spat, and clawed at anyone who came close. I paid, thinking "hell, they should pay me," and took him home. After a little patience and TLC, he turned out to be a wonderful cat. And Henry's best friend.
Five days later the karma jackpot paid out. We got a phone call from a man called George whose neighbour had seen one of our posters. George lived in an apartment building on the edge of an oceanside park, a couple of kilometers and a busy four lane highway away from our former home. A cat lover, he put daily food out for a gang of feral cats living in the park. When his neighbour showed him our poster, George thought a cat that had joined his Vanier Park gang a few weeks earlier could be Squirt. It was.
We hauled his ass home, but he escaped twice more over the next few months, both times returning to his wild gang. Squirt quit that gang only when we moved to our current house 4 years ago. The Vanier Park gang is now 20 kilometres away. We had to get him deprogrammed, have his tatoos lasered off, and promise he could park his little Harley in the driveway, but he more or less stays around home now. And his rough gang days were not a total waste: He is now teaching little Snuffy how to guard our beer at parties.