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When you already have a full house, what can you do with stray in need of home?

Friendly cat adopts new family

Posted: Sunday, October 22, 2000

Yes, once again my Sunday column is about pets.

Since I do not yet have children, my pets take up my time, attention and column space. But this time, I am not going to write about my cat. I want to explain my adventures with someone else's cat, a cat that seems to have adopted my home.

It all started in early fall. My cat, Shadow, is a small black cat that spends most of his time outside.

One day, before leaving for work, I started calling Shadow to come inside the house. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a black cat running in my direction. When I looked over to praise him for returning, I realized the black cat running in my direction was not Shadow, but a large black cat I had not seen around before.

This cat, with a white spot in the middle of his chest and green eyes, stopped at my feet and began to purr and rub against my bare ankle.

I was surprised a cat I had not met before was so friendly. Then, to my astonishment, the cat started for my door and meowed to go inside. I quickly reminded the cat it did not live at my house (yes, I do talk to animals because I believe they understand). I went inside, leaving it crying for my attention on the porch.

After about 20 minutes, the strange cat trotted off into the woods. Shadow returned several minutes later, and the strange cat stayed away. Deep down, I hoped it went home.

The cat reappeared about a week ago.

I was cleaning windows when I spied a cat limping up my driveway. Worried that Shadow, who was playing outside, had been hurt, I hurried outside to him.

But the hurt cat turned out to be the large stranger. It came to me, limping and meowing, seemingly glad to see me.

It started rubbing against my leg, and I decided to pick it up and check out its leg. It let me pick it up and began purring. I felt its paw, and nothing appeared to be tender.

Since it was a Sunday, and no veterinarians were open, I decided to give the cat some food and look for his owner.

The cat ate all the food I gave him and stayed on my porch the whole time I walked my neighborhood looking for its owners.

After a hour with no luck, I left for work with the cat still on my porch.

"Never feed a stray cat," a co-worker said to me later that day.

However, the harm had been done, and I am now paying the price for my kindness.

Don't get me wrong, I am not sorry I fed a creature that very obviously was hungry, I just wish it would go home -- if it has one.

For the past week, the strange cat is always nearby. It comes when I call for Shadow. It sits at my front door at night, as if it is begging to come inside.

The cat is sweet natured and loving, so I can't believe that the owner is not looking for it.

I am torn, both my cat and dog were pets that were unwanted, so my husband and I rescued them. Now I am reluctant to take in another cat that seems to have adopted us. I realize for my family, two pets are plenty -- three can be a handful.

I consider myself a responsible pet owner. I keep my pets fed, watered, warm and make sure they come home at night. I also plan to spay and neuter them when they are old enough.

So why is it that I'm put in this position of wondering whether I should take on caring for someone else's pet? I realize the responsibility my husband and I have tackled. I just wish others would do the same.

I am not sure if the strange cat is fixed, but I do know that it does not look malnourished, and it has a pretty coat, not the appearance expected of an abandoned cat.

I urge readers to not only spay or neuter their pets, but to know where they are and if they are safe and unharmed, especially with the onset of winter.

Our responsibilities should not be left on other people's door steps.

Sara J. Smith is a reporter for the Penin-sula Clarion. She can be reached at szsmith@

ptialaska.net.



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