The note in my email box began like many others: “We are missing our cat, Lungo. Last time he was home was Tuesday, April 17. Midland and James area. He is an indoor/outdoor big cat. He’s neutered and vaccinated. We miss him a lot.”
Attached were three photographs of a beautiful, plump grey tabby that appeared to have been very well-cared for. I posted the story here.
That same day, April 22, I found this in my mail box about two hours after I posted the article:
I found a cat that meets this description late at night on April 18 with a serious bite wound on his face that was left untreated for at least a week, if not longer. He received veterinary treatment at my expense. The wound had started to abscess, but luckily we were able to avoid putting in a drain and he is on antibiotics and being quarantined for rabies exposure, as it appears to be a bite from a raccoon. He tested positive for FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus), a highly contagious disease amongst cats, and therefore, should not be outside. We would be happy to reunite him with his family with proof of ownership in the form of past veterinary records since he did not have a tag or microchip. He is a great cat and I hope you will consider keeping him inside to so he stays safe, sound and injury-free.
I immediately contacted the owner and put her in touch with the person who found Lungo. The owner was thrilled to say the least that this could be her cat and copied me on her email to the finder:
He was a stray who ‘adopted’ us as his family almost three years ago and became our beloved cat. He was very territorial and a wanderer, so we neutered him hoping he would calm down a bit and be content to stay indoors. Unfortunately, he really loves to be outside, so although we did not encourage that, we let him out when he was desperately meowing in front of our door. We are willing to repay you for all the vet fees if the cat you found is Lungo.”
Today, I got an email from the owner, confirming that the found cat was, indeed, Lungo. When I told her that wanted to post something about this bit of good news, she was a bit reluctant at first, even though I told her I would not use her name. She is concerned that people will judge her for letting her cat roam outdoors.
She explained to me that Lungo cries every morning at 5 to be let out, that this is what he is used to doing. I suggested to her that, if she and her husband were able, that they build a chain link structure with a roof outside in their yard for Lungo so that he can enjoy the outdoors but remain free from predators.
Does anyone have any other suggestions for her? How can you “tame” an indoor/outdoor cat to become an indoor cat exclusively? Is this at all possible?