Let me introduce you to Chocolate Chip, or Chip for short. He is the most gorgeous and loveable cat I’ve ever met.
He just showed up several weeks ago in our backyard. I kept seeing him around and figured someone must have lost him or he wandered away from home as some male cats tend to do. So I kept my eyes open and found a poster for a missing black cat in my neighborhood. I telephoned the woman and she came down to get him but it turned out that he was not her cat because her cat had double paws. So I felt terrible for the woman because I must have gotten her hopes up but that I had not found HER cat. Then I felt terrible for Chip that I had not found his home. I asked her if she would want him but she declined. I think she was still holding out hope that her cat would show up. I can’t blame her so I did not press. As for Chip, I noticed he was thin and did not have a collar and seemed to be under my porch all the time. He would wait there for me until he heard me come out in the morning with my coffee and immediately jump into my lap. When I was done with my coffee, he would do acrobats to try and stay in my lap while I tried to stand. Then he would swat my legs for leaving him – he never used claws though. He was just always there. Every time I went outside, he’d come running to me from under the porch to pet him. So I finally started feeding him last week.
You’ve never seen such a grateful animal. One time, he spilled his food bowl outside. It was my own fault because I put it too close to an edge. But I picked through all the grass to get every morsel so the ants wouldn’t feast on it. Well, he could not stand the fact that I was right there but was not paying him any attention. So, he jumped on my back as I was bent over and curled up in a ball and started purring away in my ear. Well. It is so hard to resist his charms. Then I started to worry about him at night. He is black and hard to see at night so he might be an easier target for cars. Also, bigger animals like skunks, raccoons and oppossums and who knows what else go through our yard at night. So we started to let him come onto our three season porch at night where we could keep our cats in the house, away from him. We did not want them to come face to face since we didn’t know his health history and figured he probably had at least fleas from being outside. In the meantime, I put up posters with his photos, posted on facebook, and alerted the animal control officer in town about him in case anyone reported a missing pet. And I put a flea collar on him with my phone number written in permanent marker so that if he did have a home and go to it, his owners could call me so I wouldn’t worry. We never heard anything so we decided we would get him checked out at the vet to make him more attractive to a prospective new owner or ourselves.
It was at that first vet appointment that we found out he has FIV. This is the feline equivalent of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus which leads to feline AIDs just as it does in humans. The feline version is not transmittable to humans. But it does mean that he will be more susceptible to gum disease and certain cancers and that his immune system is compromised. The vet told us he could live a relatively long life if kept indoors and away from illnesses that his body would not be able to fight. She also did a complete blood workup on him. Right now he is in great shape – white cell count is good, liver and kidney function normal. But having the baseline test is good so we can compare it in the future if he starts to show symptoms. We are treating him for fleas and ticks and he got his first two vaccinations. He is due for another in a week and will also be neutered. He is getting to be an expensive little cat. But we still think it is the best way to go if we want to try to integrate him into our home with our existing cats. And if that doesn’t work, he will hopefully be in a better position to be adopted by someone else. But my thinking at this time is that I have gum disease and I am a cancer survivor and my hubby didn’t get rid of ME. So I want to do everything we can to try and give this guy as long and happy a life as we can. Plus, we are fortunate enough that our home allows us to zone off several different areas and configurations to keep the cats separate if we have to.
So I decided that in my Mad Crochet Lab, in conjunction with my crazy crochet challenge over the next year, that I will offer some of my patterns for sale. There will be plenty of free ones too but the ones for sale will help benefit Chip and his medical costs. We never intended to have three cats. But I feel a responsibility to him since he trusted me. Chip even lets me touch his belly and his paws, which my existing cats never allow me to. And I feel that a pet is a commitment, not something to be lightly tossed aside because he or she may not be perfect. He is a living creature and deserves a good life. And regardless of all that, I have fallen in love with him. So there’s that. Welcome home, Chip. I hope you stay a looooooong time.