Morris’ big adventure

HOULTON, Maine — Early this summer we told you a story about a cat named Morris. Morris came to the Sanctuary last winter during the coldest months. He was a stray that showed up in someone’s yard and she was kind enough to feed him so he never left.

A plan was put in place to live trap Morris and bring him  in out of the cold.  With a lot of patience everything went according to plan. He was brought to the Sanctuary and soon after went to the vet to be neutered, vaccinated and tested.

Morris was not at all impressed with the humans that were trying to help him. He was not a friendly cat. He was very shy and timid. Spring came and we decided to try a different approach with Morris. We approached a very kind lady and asked if she would be willing to take him into her home and work with him. She did not hesitate, and took him home. Progress was being made and he was sleeping on the pillow by her head at night.

Not much more than a week after his arrival, Morris knocked the screen out of the window and got out. She contacted us and with her help we began searching. Her backyard was wooded and backed up to a stream and for weeks we had no sightings. We set up live traps and game cameras and nothing. We did manage to trap quite a few raccoons and countless mornings at 5:30 or 6 a.m., we were letting coons out of the traps. 

Flyers were made and posted throughout the area with his picture and contact info. The phone calls started coming and we moved the cameras countless times, while the search was moved to surrounding areas. Our weekends, holidays and evenings were consumed with finding this cat. The days turned into months and still nothing.

Eventually, we moved our search back to the owner’s backyard and started seeing him or what we thought to be him on the game cameras. We cut back our feeding times, which helped eliminate the raccoons and we thought we had him on camera in the garage taking shelter and eating. We started to feel pretty confident and set a new goal to have him in by winter.

 It turns out it was not Morris that we were seeing or feeding. Morris had actually taken up residence over on Cleveland Street sometime in July.  The people in the neighborhood had been feeding him and trying to find his owner. They couldn’t get near him, but he would sun himself in their yards and chase the squirrels and mice. I should mention it wasn’t just one house that was feeding him it was multiple people. They were all watching out for our sweet little guy.

This past Monday, the phone call came that Morris was on Cleveland Street. I was skeptical at first, thinking there was no way, but the young lady insisted. I asked her to send me a picture. I took one look and said “That is Morris!” I called the girl back and asked if we could come and set traps and she agreed.  Late that afternoon we set two traps thinking that this was going to take a while and we were fully prepared for that. Less than 24 hours later Morris was in the trap. Our volunteer Cheryl went to check the traps and there he was. She called me and brought him over , we stood out on Main street with tears in our eyes and hugging each other. We were so happy to see this cat and know that he was safe and out of harm’s way.  This was the happy ending we had been praying for.

 The story wasn’t over yet I had to call Morris’ mom and break the news to her that we had been feeding the wrong cat and that I had Morris. She didn’t care, she was just so happy he was safe!  After discussing the situation we both agreed that the best place for Morris was back at the Sanctuary for now. She will continue to feed the stray in her garage and take care of him. I guess in a way Morris is responsible for helping another stray cat in need.

 While Morris is not too impressed about being back, he will be when the really cold weather and the snow hits. For now he will just have to get used to being showered with love and affection and an endless supply of food and treats. He is safe and sound and he is back home where he belongs.

 I cannot thank everyone involved in trying to catch this guy enough. All of your phone calls and leads, all of the people who came out and helped us search and to the residents on Cleveland Street for making sure he was fed and never gave up on where he belonged. In today’s crazy world it’s nice to know that people who may not even know each other will pull together and do something amazing by helping an animal in need. No one ever had to question what the right thing to do was. They knew what it was and worked together as a community to get Morris back where he belonged. We are fortunate to be able to call the tiny little town of Houlton our home and we are proud of the people who live here. Thank you all for making  the rescue of the cat named Morris a success!

Thank you for your continued support and as always thank you for reading our column.

The Ark Animal Sanctuary is located on 101 Old Woodstock Road. To contact Lorraine Monfils call 532-7387 or check out their Facebook page. 

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