Neelix is a short-haired brown tiger male, with a sweet disposition–if a bit on the “alpha” side.
We brought him in from the barn in sub-zero weather one winter in the late ’90’s. He crawled right into Mom’s lap when she went up into the hayloft looking for him, after we hadn’t seen him for a couple days. We had no idea he was that tame! He was starving to death, someone had apparently dumped him, and he found his way to our property.
He was a big help in cat-proofing our outdoor enclosure to prevent a feline Houdini from escaping. It took nearly three years before we had the fence perfected so he couldn’t get out! The little stinker was smart; he knew very well when we were watching him. He’s the reason we added two feet of chicken wire (later changed to hardware cloth, with 1/4″ squares) to the top of our six foot fence, angled inwards at a forty-five degree angle, for instance. We nearly re-named him “Spider-Cat” when we first him going straight up the wire. He got onto our roof, one time! Sheesh.
The day we finally got the better of him with the fence, he howled like his heart was breaking for three hours straight. Then he sulked for the rest of the summer! After that, Mom usually took pity on him during the summers and would let him out while she was working on the landscaping. He was usually pretty good about giving her a “fly-by”–racing by her at top speed, to let her know he was near, without risking her taking him inside before he was ready. He was usually going out to the barn to hunt up mice and sparrows, then he’d bring them back and munch on them under a convenient shrub about fifteen feet where she was working. Occasionally he’d be reluctant to come in when she called, just before supper. He figured out real quick that she’d then keep him indoors for a week straight, after a stunt like that; if he wanted to go out the next day, he had to get his little tail inside when she called “In!”
In 2016, Neelix started really looking his age of 19 years; he was starting to be hard to keep eating, he began dehydrating frequently; then bad diarrhea became a real problem, along with vomiting. On top of that, he had the feline version of a bad cold, poor baby. We were getting really concerned about the possible start of organ failure, but he pulled through, and with the help of a daily half slice of cheese the diarrhea has gone away. By Spring of 2017 he merely had a bit of a sniffle. He still needs hydrating every couple weeks, but our veterinarian taught me how to do that years ago, and keeps us supplied with bags and such as we need them. Neelix is nowhere near as active as he used to be, which is entirely understandable, considering he’s the feline equivalent of in his nineties!
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