Sunday, August 30, 2009

THE STORY of FLASH (for Pet Pride)

Flash was born somewhere in the town of Okotoks, on the edge of the Alberta foothills, and, after what was probably a hardscrabble beginning, ended up at Pound Rescue, looked after by the kindly Gabrielle. Around the same time, I bought an acreage a couple of towns to the west, in high country. It was 10.5 acres of poplars and pasture, a big old house and barn. But no barn cats—that essential part of rural life. So I called Gaby, who just happened to be looking for a home for five black-and-white cats, all related. I agreed, and Gaby arrived with five very frightened, very feral cats. We shut up the barn (no horses at the time) and put out big tubs of cat kibble, water and litter pans, so the cats could spend time getting used to the place and learn to think of it as home base. The hardest part was getting the cats out of the wire cages. Each one had to be tipped and the occupants shaken out. As each one hit the ground, it raced up the wooden walls and disappeared into the rafters. Sometime during the first few days, one of the cats did find a way to escape, but the rest stayed in the barn, and when I opened it up again, they were ready to come out and explore.

After a while, they started showing up around the house, but quickly took off at the slightest hint of movement or noise from inside. They were so fast I couldn’t get a look to tell what gender they were, and gave them names based on their markings: Big Flash, Little Flash, All Black and Chin Dot. They gradually got used to me, didn’t run quite so quickly. Little Flash was the one who hesitated, hung back the longest, was the last to run. She was also the first to let me scratch her back and chuck her under the chin. I always kept food and water on the deck, and when winter came, I put a shelter there with a brood lamp and some old blankets inside, and a litter box in the other corner, out of the wind and snow. They got tame enough to stay inside in the warmth when I slid open the doorwall and put out fresh supplies. In warm weather they still regularly patrolled the barn and the woods around the house, but always knew where to come for the TLC. The first casualty was Big Flash. I never found out what happened to him, probably a red fox, coyote, or a great gray owl, but one day he stopped coming. Eventually it was the same with Chin Dot. Only the scrappy All Black and gentle Little Flash (by then, just Flash) remained. One day Flash showed up with an injured leg. By this time I was able to pick her up, and so managed to get her to the vet. She spent a long time taped up, with stitches, on antibiotics, and ended up staying the entire winter inside, winning everyone’s heart. And she never went back to the wild.

A decade later we all moved to Ontario. When I collected the carriers at the Windsor airport, the first one I saw was Flash, her saucer eyes staring back at me. I said, “You OK Flash?” The answer was a long distressed yowl that brought a chorus of descending “Awwww’s” from the entire deplaning crowd. These days, when she’s curled up in my lap, I sometimes remind her that she has come a long way. I ask her, “Did you ever envision all this when we shook you out of that cage so long ago?” The answer this time is contented silence.

To find out what’s new with other pets of the world, visit Bozo and Magiceye at home in Mumbai HERE.


bobbie said...

Sounds as if Flash was the luckiest one of the lot. I'm sure she knows that now, and is content and happy with you.

littlebirdred said...

i don't know why, but when I read this line: “Did you ever envision all this when we shook you out of that cage so long ago?” I teared up.

(I changed my blog address by the way, and removed my real name)

hope you have a wonderful sunday!

Sylvia K said...

She does look happy and content now, and I just bet she does indeed know how lucky she is to be with you! Ah, our pet friends! What would we do without them?

Have a great day -- both of you!


Lorac said...

Flash is a sweetie. My son has a cat he brought back from High River too! Those Alberta cats get around!

storyteller at Small Reflections said...

What a lucky kitty Flash is! Love that last shot especially ... she looks soooo contented. Methinks adoptees are especially wonderful fur companions.
Hugs and blessings,

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh what a great story, Deb... Flash has had quiet a life, hasn't she??? Glad she made it --and is there as part of the family now.

Great story for Pet Pride.

Samantha ~ Holly and Zac ~ said...

aww. Flash is adorable and looks so tame now. :-)

i beati said...

special story

SandyCarlson said...

That's one fortunate individual, and it looks like Flash is living the life!

Rose said...

I enjoyed this so to hear tales of cats and how they chose their staff!

Dianne said...

wow Flash sure does have quite the life story
wonderful of you to give the ferals a home
Mia and Siren send you hugs

Ruth said...

What an interesting story. Flash looks totally domesticated now. I have never had a cat and really know nothing about them.

Cloudia said...

Thank you for sharing this uplifting story of friendship. I love you even more after reading this!

Aloha from Miss Kitty

Comfort Spiral

magiceye said...

hey flash great to know that you ended up cosy and comfortable with a wonderful human!

Pet Pride

LadyFi said...

Contentment is a happy cat! Great story.

Cezar and Léia said...

Adorable post!
Happy Pet Pride
purrs and love

Quiet Paths said...

I think she should be called also Lucky Li'l Flash! Wonderful story and I cringed and laughed at the picture of them being tipped upside down of their wire cages.

Dee said...

What a great story! I bet she dreams of the old 'wild' days and counts her blessings!