Ark Animal Sanctuary – Week of July 12, 2023

1 year ago

A few months ago we took in feral black cat who was living on the streets here in town. He is feral. He was not neutered and once we got him to the vet he tested positive for feline AIDS. We named this handsome boy Magnum. Once he was neutered and vaccinated, we introduced him into the AIDS room.

The transition did not go well. For over a month Magnum lived on two top shelves, too afraid to come down. He would not even come down to use the litter box or eat. The top shelf was his litter box and the other top shelf is where he ate.

We knew we had to do something because of his quality of life. We opted to move him into a small room by himself to see if things would change. They did not. There was one shelf on the wall and he continued with his the same behavior. He had his own outdoor cat pen and that made no difference.

The next option was to take away all of the shelves and hiding spaces except for a carrier with a bed in it, a very large litter box and his food and water. The very first day his habits changed. He started using the litter box and never missed. He ate and drank on the floor out of dishes. To say we were thrilled was an understatement.

The door to his catio was open every day and he never ventured out. He ate at night when no one was there. After about two months I walked by his room and there he was outside basking in the sunshine. Shortly thereafter the volunteers began to see him outside in the catio. Magnum was starting to feel comfortable in his new space.

Our next step will be to get Magnum to stay out and not run and hide while we are around. It has been a process and patience has been the key. We still have miles to go but we are committed and will do whatever it takes.

Magnum did not choose the life of a feral cat. He wasn’t given an option. He is feral because humans failed him and so many others. Someone did not neuter or spay their cats. They were allowed to reproduce. Kittens were born under porches or abandoned buildings. They never experienced the human touch and do not trust humans in any way, shape or form.

We need to change this, and the answer is neuter and spay, or trap, neuter and release, to help eliminate feral cat colonies.

Magnum was one of the lucky ones. A kind lady started feeding him even though he wasn’t her cat. She trapped him and brought him to us where he will probably live out his days. He will be safe and warm with an endless supply of food and water. He will receive the best vet care and he will be loved because he is now a part of our family.

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