I have another success story to share with you! One of my favorite abandoned cats has finally been adopted into an indoor-only home!
Stubby’s story is why I continue to find homes for the cats dumped at the barns, abandoned cruelly by their original owners or other irresponsible people.
Stubby’s story started in the Summer of 2019.
Abandoned, Unwanted, and Alone
Stubby mysteriously showed up at the barns one afternoon a few days after a couple of kittens were dumped by another barn. Because of the kitten’s appearances, I do believe Stubby and the kittens were dumped at the same time. They probably had the same mother but belonged to different litters.
Stubby is a beautiful tabby cat with a white belly and paws, and a stubby tail. The tail appears to be something he was born with, not an accident. He appeared to be under a year old, having just entered puberty as he was not neutered.
Stubby was friendly, open, and calm around everyone. He tried following people to their cars, following me into the bathroom, or other places. He would eat any food from the Food Shack people gave him, including nachos.
He would sit for over an hour with kids while they pet on him, loved on him, and picked him up.
He was so calmly accepting of his situation, begging for attention only by sitting by people’s feet, that he quickly became a favorite around the barns.
At first, he had no interest in actual cat food. But he eventually got hungry enough I got him to eat wet cat food, happily. I introduced dry food by putting wet food on top of it.
If he hadn’t been so stinking friendly and calmly going into barn rooms and buildings, I would have just assumed he was a tomcat that wandered into the barn area. My guess? He was someone’s indoor-outdoor cat despite the lack of understanding about cat food. I found out later that Stubby simply doesn’t like changing his food, though he loves people food.
Stubby wasn’t a big fan of being by himself and would follow anyone all over the property. He eventually settled down into my barn and my colony…. barely.
The Truth About Tomcats
Stubby was not neutered when he showed up. He was definitely just passed the start of puberty. So my first plan was to bring him inside immediately as I do with all dumped cats and kittens, get him neutered, and then adopt him out. I bring them inside so that they don’t get hurt in the barns nor do they start to adjust to outdoor life.
If you don’t deal with adult unfixed cats, this next part will surprise you.
Other cats HATE strange tomcats. Absolutely cannot stand them. Tomcats aren’t often a main part of a colony. They wander around for miles looking for mates. They’re usually on the outskirts of a colony. There is a reason for this.
My foster cats and personal cats FREAKED OUT as soon as I brought him inside. He was going to be quarantined but it ratcheted up the stress level so severely, the cats were swiping, hissing and spitting at each other AND me.
I mean it, totally lost their minds.
I didn’t try to tough it out long. Stubby wasn’t scared outside and it was really upsetting my resident cats AND the fosters. Stubby was freaked out too because they kept trying to attack him in the crate.
So I decided Stubby was going to have to be a part of the barn crew until I got him neutered and a home.
Stubby wasn’t a bad cat. He was friendly, calm, and didn’t spray everywhere. At first, he didn’t fight either. In fact, he kept getting attacked by my cat Buddy and chased off. Poor Stubby.
He fought with the resident tomcat I hadn’t yet caught, too. So bad he came back injured once or twice a week. Sometimes, it was a minor injury. Other times, it was a bit worse. Nothing major, but enough I had to try to nurse him. He had to be taken to the vet for an upper respiratory infection (URI) and a coccidia infection as well.
I didn’t get him neutered immediately simply because of a lack of funds. I had to prioritize the ones that needed it more, like the females.
So Stubby finally settled into life at the barns, but he was definitely a tomcat. The other resident feral tomcat (that I had failed to trap for two years for HIS surgery) and Subby would fight and fight, and fight. Buddy attacked Stubby every single time he saw him. Stubby followed Daisy around the barns and even chased her out. Often.
Then Stubby started to get a bit aggressive, even with me. If he was in my lap and I had to move him, he’d swipe at me and try to bite me in warning. Not hard, but he wasn’t playing.
DEFINITELY time to get him neutered.
Related: Why is Spay and Neuter Important?
It amazes me every single time I neuter an adult tomcat. Now, everything wasn’t rainbows and roses immediately, of course. His hormone level had to decrease before the behaviors stopped.
He settled down, stopped trying to roam all night, stopped being aggressive, and I was finally able to bring him inside and start to work with him on indoor-cat life!
My cat, Buddy, though…. he was confused at first by the scent change in Stubby after a couple months, but cats are not stupid. He knew it was the same cat, so he started sniffing him THEN attacking him.
However, everyone else started accepting him much better. He’d hang around and chill inside with me. Cuddle me at night. Follow me around even MORE than before. And since he didn’t feel the insane need to roam all the barns at night, he stopped losing weight and started looking much healthier.
He also stopped getting hurt so much as he was no longer engaging in vicious, horrible tomcat fights.
The best change was that he started to play. He started play attacking my broom. He’d try to attack the bed comforter. He took the catnip mice and destroyed them. He had fun trying to pounce on the other cats. It was beautiful to see him relax, enjoy, and just live.
Even better was ALL the other cats started to chill out once he was neutered. Even better, once I finally trapped Killer Tom and got him neutered, thus completing my TNR of the cats I care for, the cats relaxed even more. And Stubby and Killer Tom became friends, of a sort.
It’s amazing how much happier, more relaxed and healthier they are just by neutering them.
Choosing to Find Stubby A Home
I always planned on finding Stubby a home. He had obviously been a house cat during the first part of his life, I believe. Too friendly, calm and willing to go inside at every opportunity. He even avoided jumping on any of the barn furniture, except for the chairs. It took him a year to jump up on the cabinet table in the barn to chill.
He wasn’t freaked out when he followed me to the shower. He would greet people at their cars. He tried to come inside bathrooms, tack rooms, the apartments, the food truck, etc. He wasn’t needy, but he wanted to be WITH people so bad.
Stubby was one of the few dumped cats that actually acclimated very well to the barn cat life. Part of that was his chill personality. He wasn’t scared. Nervous at first, I’m sure. He’s a cat in a strange place. But he didn’t panic and freak out, running and hiding and avoiding people and such until he got killed by a car trying to find his way back or eaten by a coyote, or starved.
He learned to enjoy barn cat life, even.
I love Stubby. He was one of my favorite cats in the barns. He was EVERYONE’S favorite cat in the barns, he was just that cool.
But I chose to find a home for him for a couple reasons:
- Cats that can be adopted SHOULD be adopted. Outdoor cat life is hard and their life expectancy is much shorter outside than inside. He was adoptable, thus he should be adopted.
- He was too friendly. He wasn’t cautious enough around the barns and more than once, he’d nearly been stepped on by a horse trying to follow me around the barns while I was working.
Stubby took awhile to find a good home for him. While an awesome cat with an adorable stubby tail, he WAS an adult cat and those are harder. I got lucky in June 2020.
He found a home with a teacher who was looking for a calm, chill cat. She had lost her elderly cat that she had also adopted as an adult two years before. She was ready. Stubby really lucked out finding someone willing to give this guy a chance at an indoor-only home, with someone looking for an adult cat specifically.
He was so awesome, it would have been great to have him as a barn cat. But friendly cats like Stubby deserve homes where he’ll be loved and spoiled. Not life as a barn cat, which can be dangerous.
I miss him though, like I miss all my fosters. But I’m happy for him too.