I used to drive a taxi. It’s by no means a good job, especially in those pre-Uber days, when you were always assigned some cab with a filthy steering wheel and a funny smell, and every potential rider knew you were alone and carrying cash. But it had one huge advantage for me: I didn’t have a car. Doing errands like grocery shopping without one can be a bear, especially when you add in the weather Minnesota can throw at you in winter.
So one night I was dropping off in the north part of the city, and I saw a little cat. I slowed down and it dashed in front of me and into some overgrown bushes. The next time I drove, I went prepared with food and water, which I shoved as deeply as I could into the bushes. From then on, I made sure I delivered food and water at least every two or three days. Eventually, my wife and I took a job that we could car-pool to with a friend. The pay was much better, but this meant I had to ride my bike up north (we live in the city’s southeast side). And of course, that included the winter months.
During the middle of the first winter, I managed to get a homemade cat shelter to the area behind the bushes. I could see he was using it, but I didn’t see him often. After I put the food down, I made a clicking sound, and sometimes he would magically appear, but he always kept his distance.
After the second winter, I decided I didn’t want either of us to go through that again. I waited to feed him a bit longer than usual, then baited my live trap, leaving it partially hidden behind the bushes. I got him on the first day, poor hungry boy. I had him neutered and vaccinated, and then released him near my home. WHY??! Well, we already had some indoor cats, and I wasn’t sure whether they’d all get along together. I also was worried that he’d be miserable inside. It was a dumb decision, though.
But as he’s gotten older, he’s gotten tamer. I rigged the basement window under the deck to be a cat-door with a ramp down to his choice of beds. He regularly comes in when I’m there, stopping halfway down so we can butt heads. He throws himself down with abandon and makes air-biscuits, purring all the while. He’s still a bit afraid of hands, but sooner or later, he’ll be my little indoor Buddy. I just know it.
Story submitted by Tom from Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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