A few years ago the sweetest little smoky grey cat strolled into our yard (and hearts) and managed to get three little kids to serve him a buffet of freshly roasted chicken, a can of foie gras and a three litre bucket of milk. The kids were smitten. So was I. Papa T not so much. In any case, after such a welcome party I was pretty much convinced that we could call him ours.
After a few months of these visits and even several sleepovers we decided it was time to get him fixed. He’d grown into a large muscular tomcat that we felt could be a nuisance to un-spayed local she-cats.
We found a cardboard box and cut out some holes. We tracked down Fumo (as we named him due to his beautiful smoky coat) and started the adventure of trying to get him into the box. His fur was puffed out, the hisses were non-stop and the scratching was brutal. Imagine a box with a cat as it’s lid (with the 4 legs stretched taut over the edges). That cat did NOT want to be put in a box. But then again, who does?
After at least 30 minutes we got him stuffed in the box with the lid closed. We all went off to put on our shoes and jackets to take him to the vet. Meanwhile Fumo was punching his paw through one of the little breathing holes we had made for him. The hole was getting slowly bigger. Then suddenly Fumo busted out of the hole with all his might. We were back to square one.
Finally after several other attempts with several other boxes we managed to get Fumo into a box and stay there (it was one of those industrial strength cardboard boxes so there was no way he was punching his way out of it).
We get to the vet and are waiting our turn. Fumo was howling louder than all the other animals in the waiting room. And the box was thumping back and forth with his constant attempts at escape. The kids were starting to get a bit embarrassed.
The vet came out and called out “Fumo De Groeve” with a very puzzled look on her face. I guess Italian vets aren’t used to cats with foreign last names. We entered the room and the vet and her assistant started opening the box. Within seconds Fumo rocketed out of the box and started running cirles around the room. Stainless steel bowls were crashing. Rolls of bandages were unrolling. And the vets were chasing around trying to get this blasted foreign cat under control.
They finally managed to catch Fumo and tried to calm him down by holding him. After a moment or two both the vet and the assistant were bleeding. Fumo was wildly trying to get loose all the while screeching and yowling at a volume that even shocked me. At this point the vet noticed the three kids plastered against the wall with looks of absolute shock on their faces. She suggested they go wait in the other room so as not to have nightmares about rabid cats for the rest of their lives. At this point I was starting to feel a bit ashamed of this wild beast I had brought in.
The vet decided she needed to pull out the big guns. Something she said she had only had to use 3 times in her 15 year career as a vet. The cat straight jacket. I just nodded my head and told her it was maybe a good idea for me to leave and that they could call me later to let me know how the neutering went. She agreed.
Later that afternoon the vet called to say Fumo was fine and that the operation was a success. He was ready to be picked up. The kids were too terrified to come along to the vet (there goes the chance of one of them becoming a veterinarian later in life) so off I went to pick up Fumo. He was groggy and quiet and sweet. The vets (very) happily passed him over and said he should be a calmer cat from now on. I paid the bill (which seemed to be much more expensive then they had originally quoted) and left.
Fumo stayed the night and slept off his drug induced haze. By the morning he was back to his normal self and itching to get outside and explore. After this it was several days before he showed up again. When he finally did show up he had a new collar on with one of those little message capsules attached to it. I took it off and slowly unrolled the note that was inside. It said: Mi chiamo Dak e ho gia un padrone! (My name is Dak and I already have an owner!). They had also written their address and telephone number. It was one of our neighbours. Yes, we had accidently neutered the neighbours cat. I feel so much better now that I have gotten that story out in the world.