I first saw Mousie in early summer 2019. I named him Mousie because he appeared out of nowhere, as quiet as a mouse. There had been other stray cats in my neighborhood that had been trapped and rehomed. A friend and fellow cat lover lent me a humane trap which had only been set for ten minutes when I saw that it was closed and Mousie was inside.
I called a local animal welfare center, St. Hubert’s, in North Branch, New Jersey. As he was not injured or in danger, they asked if I could keep him until one of their volunteers could retrieve him in the morning.
I put the trap inside my bathroom and left the light on. I checked on him often. Mousie sat quietly all night. He didn’t meow, hiss or thrash about. He was very calm and serene.
The next morning, St. Hubert’s came and scanned him for a microchip. Mousie had one and was microchipped to someone across town, on “J” Street. I was happy that Mousie had an owner until I learned what happened next. When the St. Hubert’s volunteer went to “J” Street, a man answered the door. He cursed at the volunteer and said, “We don’t want the cat!” and slammed the door in the volunteer’s face.
St. Hubert’s took Mousie back to their headquarters for a complete medical check and vaccinations. His microchip-dated back to January 2019. At that time, Mousie was one year and eight months old. As Mousie had been outdoors for several months, St. Hubert’s deemed that he wouldn’t be able to come indoors, so they released him outside my home.
Despite what I was told, I knew in my heart that Mousie was different. He was timid and docile. He reminded me of an old soul. That light-snowy night when he sniffed my hand had really happened. When I fed Mousie, I always told him that I loved him and that he was beautiful. I wanted him to know that I, unlike his previous owners, would never discard or abandon him.
Three years went by. Then, on Valentine’s Day 2022, I woke up and decided that the time had come to bring Mousie home. It wasn’t until July 2022, when I thought the timing was right, I once again borrowed a humane trap from my friend. Mousie was leery of trap until I put tuna fish inside. I woke up in the middle of the night to check the trap and saw Mousie sitting quietly inside it as he had done three years prior.
It was hard to carry him upstairs since he weighed about fifteen pounds! My guest bedroom was ready for him, with food, water, a litter box and a kitty condo. The next morning, I had him checked by my vet and he received a clean bill of health.
As of this entry, Mousie is still in my guest room, getting acclimated to his “rags to riches” lifestyle. He is doing great! He eats well and even used the litter box right off the bat. After I feed him, he suns himself in the window and then goes into his condo to nap. He will smell my hand, but he still won’t let me get too close to him. Trust, once broken, takes a long time to regain, but I am confident that, in time, he will learn to trust humans again. I have not yet “introduced” him to my other two cats, Babe and Boo-Boo, but I believe everyone will get along just fine.
When I go outside at night, I still expect to see Mousie waiting for his dinner. Then, with a smile in my heart, I remember that he is safe in my home where he has shelter, warmth, and most of all, love.