Around late March/early February I noticed a black and white cat in the bushes in our apartment complex. I was driving to swimming at 5:15am and barely noticed her because it was dark. I didn't think much of it because there are lots of stray cats in our complex and several outside cats which stay outside their owners apartment. It's easy to notice the stray cats from the cats with owners because the stray cats usually wander around different complexes whereas the cats with owners stay in the same spots everyday. Campy knows the hiding spots for all the outdoor cats and he's gotten a few smacks from getting to close to their personal space. Campy is used to the smacks from Smudla here in our own place. Poor Campy, he never fights back, barks or attacks. In our place Campy is just in the wrong place at the wrong time and when Smudla wants to eat, Campy just turns his head for fear that Smudla will raise her paw to him. My little one just wants to be friends with everyone and Smudla LOVES to eat.
I saw this cat every now and then over the past few months but over the past 2-3 weeks, Karel and I have noticed that this black and white cat has been wandering around our complex more than normal. We didn't know if it belonged to someone near us or if it was a stray. It was just weird that this cat would just sit in our bushes by our stairs at least 3-4 times per week. This cat was really scared of us so it was hard to get close to see if it was male or female and if we thought it was clean enough to have a home. The cat was scared of me when I called for him/her but for Karel, he has a special way with cats. After a few tries of getting the cat to come to us, Karel was able to see that it was a girl.
After a few more days of seeing the cat once or twice, Karel decided to give it some food. It was meowing so loud at us when we saw her and it was hard to watch her just sit in the bushes, scared and hungry. She wasn't incredibly skinny as if she was starving but her nails were super long, as if she didn't have a home or the owners left her at the complex. We heard from our apartment manager that people often do that with their animals. Absolutely horribly and so sad. she even said she has kept 2-3 dogs and cats that were left behind.
Over the past week and a half, we fed her whenever we saw her. We probably saw her 3-4 times over the past week and a half and we mostly saw her in the early morning and late evening. We thought that it this cat had a home, shouldn't she be out during the day and at home at night? I don't believe in letting cats out so for me, I was just assuming that the owner (if there was one) didn't care about this cat.
Last Wednesday I put up fliers at out complex with a picture of her and the words
"Is this your cat? If so, please email me (with my email). If not, I'd like to find her a good home".
I didn't receive any emails so we decided this cat had no home.
Karel and I didn't know what to do on Thurs and Friday because this cat would follow us up 3 flights of stairs (a little scared with each step) and try to get in our apartment. I had never seen such a thing before. We let her inside one time but I didn't want any fleas in our place. Also, with two animals already in our place, I wasn't sure if this was a good idea to have another animal just stopping by. It was hard on both Karel and myself to say good night to her when we had her in our place because it was about to rain and she was just insisting that she needed to stay with us.
If I had a house, I would probably have a lot of stray animals. I don't think of pets as major responsibilities taking up my time. The love I get from animals makes it effortless to take care of them.
Friday and Saturday were hard for us. We thought about her all the time. We gave her the name Madison on Wed when we put up the fliers. We both thought that her spots reminded us of a cow. Karel got me this cute Cow mug (with spots on it) from Wisconsin when he went to Trek World in 2008 so we decided on Madison (although she isn't from Wisconsin). Anytime Karel or myself were away from our place, we would call each other and ask "did you see Madison today?"
All last week (wed, thurs, fri and sat) Madison sat outside our place, in the bushes waiting for us to get home. She waited for us to wake up and waited for us to take Campy outside. She was very friendly to Campy and always listened for his rabies tag on his leash to make noise. She always knew when we were coming outside. On Friday night, we looked outside out bedroom window and saw Madison in the bushes. It was so hard to see her out there because we had gotten attached to her. It wasn't an option if we were going to keep her or find her a home. If we took her in our place, we would keep her.
On Sat evening, when Karel got home from work, we were eating dinner and he asked me if I saw Madison this afternoon. I didn't see her when I walked Campy but I saw her early in the morning. After dinner, as I was putting on Campy's leash, Karel looked at me before I walked out the door and said "Hey babe, if you see Madison, tell her she can come home now." I looked at him and said "Sounds good".
Campy and I walked all around the complex looking for Madison. I was yelling her name and Campy was a little confused, but still doing a great job looking for her. I didn't see her anywhere until we were about to walk up the stairs and Campy starts pulling hard on his leash. In the bushes, here comes Madison. I told Madison to come with me, and she did. Up 3 flights of stairs, Madison followed Campy and me and as I opened the door, Madison came inside and I told Karel that Madison was home.
Madison made herself at home very quickly and although Smudla wanted nothing of it (Smudla doesn't like any other cat or dog in her space. This is her apartment, we just pay the rent). She hissed at Madison but Madison wanted to be her friend. Campy loved her instantly and Madison rubbed herself all over Campy. I was trying to be compassionate but in my head I was just thinking about all the germs that were getting in our place.
We took Madison into the bathroom and it was time to clean her up. She got a bath with flea shampoo, she got her nails cut and she got a pretty pink color. Sadly for Smudla, she got a bath as well. Campy was due for his monthly flea stuff so within an hour of getting Madison, everyone was clean.
As for the rest of Saturday, it just felt right. Madison cuddled up to Karel and I (she went back and forth between us, curling in a ball) and cleaned herself and napped. She would sleep for a few minutes, then clean herself. We could tell she was happy to be under a roof, well feed and with clean drinking water. On Sunday, it was clear that campy and Madison will be great friends. They already love each other and Madison loves rubbing her head on Campy's body. Smudla is doing better than we thought and still has a great appetite and still hangs out with us when she isn't sleeping (which is only a few hours during the day).
Karel and I don't feel like we didn't anything special. It just feels right. Here we are with 3 fish tanks (55 gallon, 38 gallon, 20 gallon), 2 cats and a dog in our apartment... and well, it just feels right. Another cat off the street and in a loving home.
*It's so cute watching her discover everything in our place. First it was the fish tank and now it is the printer. She doesn't meow, she isn't annoying and she isn't mean. She is just thankful to get some rest.
Our two rescue animals (Smudla is a rescue cat as well, but she wants nothing to do with pictures right now)