Stray Cat Takes Years to Warm Up, Finally Settles in the Lap of Neighbor Who Looked After Him

This story is a finalist in the Fur-Ever Family Photo & Story Contest. Voting runs through December 31. Three grand prize winners will each receive $500 in cash and $2,000 in cash and supplies for their favorite shelter. See all the entrants and finalists here!

He was the boss of the neighbourhood: the Godfather, gatto dei gatti, and wild as a hare. He’d hide in the rhododendrons and watch me put the food out, and I know he made use of one of the shelters in the back yard, but he wanted nothing to do with people. Over the years, he was trapped and neutered, lost a third of his tail and parts of his ears to fighting and frost. Never lost his swagger, though, and was only a little less wary. I named him Panther.


One bitterly cold night, I came home to find him crouched on the edge of the step, He didn’t run, didn’t move, didn’t even look at me. I took off my jacket and dropped it over him, wrapped him up and took him in, and spent the next couple of hours creating a safe space in the basement – litter tray, enclosed shelter with a back door escape hatch (and fluffy blankets), warmed food and water. The works.

And that was the last I saw of him for weeks. But, he was eating and drinking and using the litter tray and sleeping in the shelter, so I knew he was okay.

About a month after he came in, I heard a hiss from Harry (chubby entitled indoor tabby) and looked up to see a small grey face peering around the living room door. I watched Panther make his way to the front window, hop up on the sill and make himself comfortable. After the initial hisses, our other two ignored him and he ignored them. He was greatly interested in them, though, when they’d climb into my husband’s lap, and after a couple of weeks of watching, he crossed the window sill, stepped down into John’s lap, and curled up for a nap.


He was with us for two years before we had to make that last terribly sad visit to the vet, and if he missed his old life, he certainly gave no indication of it. He spent most of those two years in my husband’s lap, making up for lost time.

Our Panther-cat. Our old man kitty. We miss you, old man. Mind how you go.

This story was submitted by Jeanne MacDonald, in support of Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary, Inc. To see other Fur-Ever Family Photo & Story Contest submissions, click here!

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