We had received warnings that coyotes were in our area; how could this be? We lived in a built-up suburban area 13 miles from New York City and there were coyotes in our sparse woods? Yes, they were, and one day, Gombah was injured by one. It wasn’t a large injury, but it involved a trip to the vet, x-rays, antibiotics and follow-up visits to the tune of $500. When he recovered, he was anxious to get outside again, but having become over-protective and nurturing caregivers, we very reluctantly let him go.
Not long afterwards, he was attacked again, this time more seriously. He became infectious, and involved another trip to the vet, more x-rays, antibiotics and follow-ups, and another $500. The vet suggested that if we wanted to keep him as a pet, that we should consider making him a full-time indoor cat.
The vet had explained about the dangers of outdoor cats. He could suffer another wild-life attack or disabling cat fights, fleas, and/or ticks. Cat collars which do not provide stretch releases have killed many cats who literally get hung up on them. There was always the danger of him getting hit by a car crossing the road. There are diseases they can carry indoors, like ringworm or ticks that may transmit Lyme’s Disease.
He also told us that the average life span of a totally outdoor cat is about a year and a half, while a totally indoor cat is expected to live upwards of 15 years. And there are diseases for which there are not effective vaccines for such as Feline Leukemia and Feline Infectious Peritonitis. We also knew and had read that cats are subject to mean persons who can poison them or abuse them. We went home and thought about all these things.
This second time when we brought him home from the vet, Gombah was “allowed” to come upstairs from his apartment where we could watch him better; and we referred to his home-care as ‘intensive care”. We had spent some weary days watching Gombah cuddled in the corner shivering from his infection and sleeping almost all the time. One day, I went in to check on him and saw Nello covering him with a blanket. Another day, I was surprised to see Gombah napping and covered nicely on a bed in the guest room. Nello had been sold on pets in the house. We decided together that we were quite attached to this pet and Gombah officially became an indoor cat.
Once he mended, Gombah was not very happy at first that we would not let him go outside. He would sit by the deck sliding door which was the most used door to the outside. It was also the door where in the past Gombah liked to display his hostages before he let them go.
He would look outside and then turn just his head with the most pitiful of looks and then meow so sorrowfully, I swear he had tear-filled eyes. This went on for about 2 or 3 weeks and then he tried the resentment treatment. He would act cool and aloof, but he is so lovable, he couldn’t keep it up for long. And he would look outside less and less.
For awhile, he did get lost sometimes on our bay window which was filled with plants; it was probably like being outside for him 🙂
Now he was settled in and Nello never again said, “He can’t come in the house.” He and Nello resumed their afternoon naps on the couch and do so to this day. TBContinued….Chapter 4
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