Like all my cats, Johan has a Hollywood story. Sad and unhappy at the beginning but with a happy ending!
This charming red head first appeared at my doorstep in the dead of winter a few years ago. He has a dirty matted short coat and was having a rough winter. I would see him occasionally coming to the feeding station. He was cold and had lost a couple of big fights with the neighbourhood toughs. At the time there were a couple of very strong dominant males in the area who fought desperately for supremacy and guarded the area against any intruding tom. Poor Johan is a lover not a fighter and was sporting a large scab on his neck and ears and had a good collection of scratches on his nose. He was a sorry sore cat with frostbitten paws, scabs and gouges everywhere.
By this time he was quite weak and probably didn't have much time left, and this is likely the reason he allowed me close enough to touch him. I had thought he was feral but once contact established, it was obvious he was a stray. Against all reason I took him into the house, gave him a warm spot and fed him.
Johan slept almost solidly for a whole week. Getting up to eat, drink and use the litter, then crawling back to his bed. He also spent time cleaning his fur and setting his appearance right.
The frostbitten paws healed after a couple of weeks and soon the damaged bits had fallen off with no real damage done. The larger injuries on his side and ear took a bit longer but soon enough fur started to grow back.
Meanwhile he was showing his character and was proving to be a dignified but friendly boy.
With his strength returning he started exploring and sniffing the peeing wars going on outside he started adding his mark. He did this by the door where he could sniff the outside toms. We soon arranged a short visit to the vet to have this warrior pacified. He got the big snip, vaccinations, deworming, defleeing and a stamp of good health.
Gradually the marking dissapeared and he settled in for the duration. To this day his fur is a bit more sparce where he was injured and one ear is slightly nicked but otherwise he has regained his good looks. He is happy and sleek.
In the Spring, one of the feral females had a litter of kits and one of them looked suspiciously like Johan. Highly likely his son. Mother and son were captured and neutered then released. I was not able to capture that kitten in time to tame it but lately he has allowed me to touch him. I suppose I could tame him but there is no more room in the house and its hard to get foster homes for feral cats.
Red (photo to the right) now lives in my front yard in the kitty condo. Not quite luxury but with a level of comfort and safety. Food, water, shelter and the occasional deworming.
Johan has kept some of his big tomcat cheeks but otherwise is a gentle and friendly cat.
Update: Fast forward a few years. Johan is an old gentleman now, nearest estimate is over 15 years old. He splits his time between sleeping in a warm spot and making his rounds. He is still a big friendly reserved guy. His son Red, was moved to the country with us along with the other remaining feral cat, when we moved. He decided that he might just try becoming a house cat. A true feral, he tamed enough to be handled and moved into the house. He eventually died of plurisy.
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