We don’t know exactly how old she is. Nor where she came from, or who it was that tied a fishing line around her neck. Yes, a fishing line. Not so tight as to strangle her, but enough to make eating difficult. Not that she had anything to eat – she was too young to have learned to hunt, and with no one to teach her. No one to care.
It has been seven years now since my neighbour found her half dead from starvation and dehydration, laying in the grass behind a bus stop. A skinny little wreck of a cat, was so weak that she couldn’t even get up off the ground, the only thing left for her to do was to call for help. And that is what she did – as loud as she could she meowed, over and over again until a sympathetic face leaned in to see her.
My neighbour, a teenage girl with a soft spot for animals, brought her inside. The fishing line went un-noticed at first, being so tightly stuck under the fur that one couldn’t easily see it. Only when trying to figure out why the cat had such trouble eating did they find it, and then finally it could be removed.
It was a female cat, not quite young enough to be called a kitten but neither was she fully grown. Being so very underweight made it difficult to tell, of course. Short hair, grey-black in colour, with a slender tail and tiny paws. And frightened, so very frightened.
After staying with my neighbour for two weeks, eating like a horse to regain her strength, we – I and my husband – took her in. We already had two cats, and were not looking to adopt another, but we simply had to help. Our neighbour had a whole lot of dogs and though the poor kitty was safe, she was still miserable. After seeing her hiding from the scary dogs I couldn’t not step in, the sight of her broke my heart.
When first she came to our house and met our furry Norwegian forest cats, she screamed. Screamed, hissed, lashed out at them and tried to run. So, so frightened. Thankfully the furry brothers are kind. They met her hissing with curious meows, looked funnily at her when she screamed, and rather than chasing her they would just slowly follow and try to sniff her tail.
We called her Trix. Of course we had her checked by a vet, who concluded that there thankfully was no lasting damage, nor any disease – she was a bit skinny still, but otherwise healthy. The vet also gave us a clue as to her genetic heritage; the look of her was typical of a half-abbyssinian, it was said. Not that it matters, not to us at least.
“Oh, no no!” My mother said as I told her of Trix. “I can’t get another cat, absolutely not!”
Mmhm, right. Once they met it was instant love, and soon thereafter Trix moved out of our house, and into my mother’s apartment. Finally, she had come home.
As I write this, Trix is calmly sleeping in a chair by my side. I can hear her breathing, slowly through the nose. She comes to visit us every summer, swapping apartment life for countryside freedom, with forests and fields all around. After spending enough time with the furry brothers she has even learned to hunt, much to my mother’s dismay.
She still screams whenever another cat comes too close, but it seems to be more due to old habits than actual fear. She is still nervous around strange humans but has fully accepted us – people and cats alike – as her pack. And she has an unhealthy obsession with food, probably as a result of starving all those years back, so her belly has grown a little too round (as you might notice in the gif above!). But, all things considered, she is well. And happy, safe and very, very loved.