Tuesday, August 02, 2005


You all are going to have to put up with another pet story.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

This is Rushan, one of our rescued strays. As you can see, his favorite thing is to hang out by windows, doors, and any place that gives him a view of outside -- or a possible escape route. From the day we caught him and found a collar embedded in his neck, I could see that longing in his eyes: Let me out. I know I'll die out there and I don't care. Let me go.

I didn't grant his wish or, as the vet recommended after throat surgery, have him put to sleep.

He's learned to live with people, but he won't let go of his old street habits. He doesn't like to drink water out of the nice clean bowl, but will stick his paw in puddles, toilets and shower floors and lick the drops from it. He does not share food, and although his old throat injuries are long healed still vomits regularly from trying to eat too much too fast.

My kids are used to a house with a screened-in porch, and yesterday one of them left an outside door open. We have no screen here. I was coming down the stairs when I saw the door gaping, and Rushan standing in front of the threshold. I was too far away to stop him from taking off. Three feet, a leap off the deck, and he'd have the freedom he so desperately wanted.

He looked through the gap, sniffed the air a few times, and then turned and walked off to my daughter's room where he does his second favorite thing, watch the hamster and plot its death.

I don't think I've ever been paid a bigger or better compliment.


  1. What an amazing story to start the morning with. :) And what an amazing kitty. One would guess he must be pretty content where he is.

  2. Sometimes if they're given the option of going out or staying, they find they really didn't want to be out at all.

    My female cat, Layla, was a stray I picked up starving outside my apartment building 14 years ago. She was an outdoor cat back then, and very young, only about 6 months old. She likes to sneak out the door when I'm too distracted to notice.

    The handful of times she's pulled off her great escape, she's always so traumatized after. The last time she'd snuck out and I hadn't even noticed. It was winter and I closed the door behind me. She was out for about an hour.

    When I went out to shake my dust mop, there she was, in the doorway of the shed, looking completely and utterly lost. She took one look at me and ran toward me, mowing as if giving me hell for not noticing her escape!

  3. Anonymous8:18 AM

    Why is it cats always know how to throw us completely off guard? *-*

    That was a great story - thank you for sharing it.

  4. That was a wonderful story! Your cat looks and behaves almost identically to mine. Except when he escapes, the crazy lady next door "rescues" him. He is so traumatized by her that it is months before he goes out again. Well, she's not really crazy, just a little off.

    And coincidentally (for Trace) my other cat's name is Laila. But she was named for Laila Ali, the boxer, because when I walked past her cage at the shelter, she took a couple of cheap shots at me with her little paws.


  5. That was such a lovely, heartwarming story. Thanks for sharing.

  6. U domesticated him with love.

  7. I'm howling at plotting the hamsters death but what a sweet story!!! =)

  8. Anonymous9:58 AM

    Sometime you realize when you've got a good thing and hold on tight - seem like Rushan is one pretty smart cat. Marie

  9. My rescued-stray cat has only one eye, so I take more care than I do with most cats to make sure he stays inside. One day a few years ago I had the screen door up on the back door. At the time we had no lock on it, and Oscar managed to get it open. I came into the room to see him about six paces onto the deck, looking around in wonder like, "is this all mine?"

    Instead of approaching from behind I circled through the back garage door out to the back yard and approached him from his front. Sure enough, I scared him out of his skin, and he jump-turned in midair (I swear) and bolted back inside. *whew*

    BTW I too loved that "plot its death" line, because I think that's exactly what they do when they see small rodents! :-) Thanks for the story.

  10. That's a great story and it just goes to show you that love can change things. We have three rescue kitties, all indoors. One likes to get outside, but he doesn't go far before he waits for us to pick him up and bring him back in.

  11. Lol, he's a writer cat. He has much more fun plotting a hundred ways to kill that hamster than going out and actually kill a mouse. ;)

  12. Anonymous1:03 PM

    Great story.
    You should be honored.

    One of my four cats is feral, rescued when I found him in my driveway, limping on frostbitten, bleeding toes during the coldest winter this city's ever had.
    Will lounge in a window. Watch the birds in the bushes.
    But will NOT go anywhere NEAR the door, unlike the domesticated cats.
    It's like he's saying, "Hey, guys. Life on the street--s'tough. Been there, done that. Count me out."

    Ya gotta love 'em.

  13. Anonymous11:34 PM

    You're a cat lover and a writer. You MUST have this software...

  14. Awww...what a wonderful story!!! People like you and those who have commented about rescuing animals, are heroes.


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