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Jupiter the cat

Jupiter the cat

For the past few months, I’d been seeing a streak of orange darting among the neighborhood flowerbeds. This mysterious creature kept well away from people, though. After chasing it out of our backyard one day, I became curious and decided to find out more about this kitten.

I sent a few emails to the neighbors, asking if anyone claimed it. When I got responses back, telling me my neighbors were also feeding this stray cat, I hatched a plan to get the cat neutered and vaccinated.

One day early on, I opened the front door to see it 15 feet away, eyeing my warily. It let me sit down and talk to it for a few minutes, though it wouldn’t come any closer. I considered it a breakthrough simply that it didn’t bolt. As days progressed, I began to leave small amounts of food on the front porch. I decided that small amounts would encourage the cat to return repeatedly.

The next breakthrough came when the cat trusted me enough to approach and rub me. This was followed soon by voracious purring. Soon it became friendly with all the family. It seemed like this feral kitty was staking a claim! We staked a claim in him, too, naming him Jupiter to match his orange and white coat.

When it began to look like I might have a good chance to fetch this cat, I borrowed a cat carrier from a neighbor. Then last week I called the Wake SPCA to get an appointment for the cat. The volunteer told me that the cat carrier wouldn’t do: I needed a trap for a feral cat. Of course, I don’t own a trap, so the man referred me to a volunteer who loans traps out. When I called the trap volunteer, I was told I needed an appointment with the SPCA first. So, I made an appointment for this morning.

I’ve been busy with plenty of work as well as after-hours meeting stuff, so I wasn’t able to call the trap person back until 9 PM last night. When the clock approached 9:30, I panicked and called the SPCA to postpone my appointment. Fortunately, minutes later I finally got in touch with the trap person, who promptly referred me to a volunteer in nearby Mordecai who had a trap I could borrow. I happily called the SPCA back and told them to keep my appointment!

I didn’t sleep well. When I have an appointment in the mornings I watch the clock, fearful of oversleeping. When 6 AM rolled by I was wide awake and ready to begin the mission. The only problem was that I had no cat. It stopped sleeping on the porch a few weeks ago and I had no idea where to find it. I shoveled in some breakfast and continually checked the door for signs of the cat. For a moment there the odds looked slim this was going to happen.

Then, just at the moment I needed to leave, the cat trotted down the street towards the house! After a few good-morning hugs, I knew now was my moment. I didn’t know how it would go, putting a feral cat in a trap, but I knew I had one chance to get it right.

Leaving the porch for a moment, I fetched my jacket, my leather gloves, and a thick towel and returned to do the job. Reaching over the cat to turn the trap on its end, I gently lifted Jupiter over the top and into the trap. He wiggled and squirmed a bit in my hand but never scratched, hissed, or bit me! My old cat, Smitty, would’ve taken my arm off had I tried that but Jupiter seemed too sweet for that.

With the cat safely in the trap, I tossed the blanket over the trap, piled him into the car, and hit the road for the SPCA clinic in south Raleigh. We arrived at 6:45 with 15 minutes to spare and Jupiter didn’t make a peep the whole way.

There were many people there for services. At least 20. The smart ones had gone online and filled out their paperwork ahead of time. I was the first in line after that and got my paperwork in earlier than most. With the services paid for, I returned for the cat and smiled as he was taken into the clinic.

At 5 PM, Hallie and I picked Jupiter up. He seemed alert and happy and once again was completely quiet for the car ride home. I gathered the family on the front porch for his release, and like I expected, after some prodding out of the trap he chose to vanish into the bushes. I’d warned the kids that we might not see him for a while.

Imagine our surprise when a few hours later he arrives on or porch, just as chipper as always! It seems he doesn’t hold his day’s adventures against us, which is good.

If we could take in a cat we would, but my Labrador is a cat-killer and we don’t want to take the chance. I’m hoping I can find a nice home for Jupiter. If that doesn’t happen, though, we’re happy to make a place on our porch for him!