by Kristina Snyder
(Concord, NH USA)
Max when he was still outside
My mother was the first to see him. She pointed him out to me and I saw him lying under a bush in the rain. I figured that he was just a neighbor's cat hanging out for the day. Then I started to notice him on a regular basis and paid more attention. He was a beautiful tuxedo cat, large and muscular and a sight to behold. I watched him from my kitchen window as he got up and stretched and slowly walked away one day. That was when I noticed how skinny he actually was. The next time I noticed him in the bushes I brought some food out and put it a few feet away from him as I could see that he was nervous. He slowly came out and ate quickly. A relationship was formed and I started calling him Max. I watched for him constantly after that and he started to trust me and came running when he saw me. I found his sleeping place under the bushes and put a blanket there for him to sleep on. I couldn't bring him inside because I had an older male cat and I couldn't bring him in without being vaccinated. Plus, I was afraid being an intact Tomcat that he might hurt my older cat. Every night I worried if I would see him the next day. I knelt and prayed for God to watch over him until I could figure something out. One night at 1am I went into the pouring rain and saw him shivering under the bushes. I cuddled with him the best I could.
I tied to find someone to adopt him and started working on my landlord to see how comfortable he would be if I let him stay on the porch. I started to let him stay there but it was a temporary fix at best. I was scared to bring him to a shelter because I was afraid of him not being adopted. Truth was, I had fallen in love with him. I finally had some extra money and found a low cost spay and neuter facility. On the hottest day in August my parents and I brought him to get neutered. It turns out he had worms, fleas, and ear mites. Thankfully he was negative for all diseases.
I was so scared to bring him home to my older baby but my fears were unfounded. They get along great! I was in tears of joy the first time I saw them looking out the window together at the birdfeeder. Max is well and loved. He went from a stray with worms and fleas to a happy and cherished house cat. He is so affectionate and defers to my older cat even though he is twice his size! He has those chubby cheeks of a Tom because the vet told me he was approximately two and developed already when I had him neutered. I love him so much and when I see him safe and warm curled in a ball I am so happy that he does not have to face the harsh NH winter outside and never will. He is part of the family now.