I was 24 and working in construction in NYC. My first construction job was the Jacob Javits Center, a huge wide open train yard that served as the home for several colonies of community cats. I had never had a cat before. I set up a feeding station and sat back to watch the procession of the hungry ones, worn out by life outside in the wind and weather. They came from near and far – the tabbies, the tuxedos, the calicos and more. They were so regal, in their various states of disarray.
I called them my Motley Crew, with their tattered ears and stumpy tails. They touched my heart every single day with their dignified presence, studying me as hard as I was studying them. There were those who would never come close, and then there were those who came a little bit closer every day. There was one very tame tom cat who had been around the block a few times. Every kitten in the yard looked like him. I called him Notorious C.A.T.
I did my best to befriend Notorious. He had a stumpy tail and a dirty nose, but I could see the cuddly kitten inside of him. I pulled out the big guns to trap him. Sardines seduced his keen sense of smell and, before I knew it, he was howling in my trap.
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I got him neutered and socialized him. He came home with me and was my very first cat. Notorious C.A.T. started my lifelong love of feeding, trapping, neutering, vaccinating and returning (TNVR) outdoor cats, as well as my love of having indoor cat companions.
Notorious C.A.T. opened my heart in a way that, almost, no else has. His courage and coping skills taught me how to be courageous and take risks. He taught me to be noble and forgiving. He taught me that, sometimes, the most loving gifts come in the most foreboding packages. He was everything to me, and we enjoyed several wonderful years together until he passed away from natural causes a few years ago.
He was an original member of my “motley crew.” I took a risk to rescue and love an animal that needed a good home, and it made all the difference in my life, so I ask myself the same question as most animal rescuers who have rescued feline angels from the streets – who rescued who? I know that Notorious C.A.T. saved me way more than I saved him, and I will be forever grateful to him for opening my eyes and my heart to the glorious world of cat rescue.
Story submitted by Denise Bulger from Geneva, New York.
Notorious C.A.T.’s story was originally shared on The Animal Rescue Site. Share your very own rescue story here!