A fierce ice storm was predicted for Saturday night. So early Saturday morning, I bundled up and ventured out to try to capture Buttons once more, hoping to bring her in from the cold before the double-whammy of bad weather that was about to blast Philadelphia. Based on past attempts, I did not expect to catch her, but miraculously...
...She walked right into the trap. I could not believe my eyes.
Here she is, in the hallway of my building, waiting to go to the vet. She let out quite a vociferous howl. For her, it must have felt like the equivalent of an alien abduction.
Luckily, I found a vet in the city who would see her on short notice.
A girl, most definitely. And there's a good chance she is Pablo's mama.
Buttons is filthy, has a bad case of fleas, and the tip of her left ear is missing, which you can see in this picture: sadly, it appears to have been frostbitten off. [For this reason, her full name is Buttons Van Gogh.] Otherwise, she's in good health. She'll get spayed next month, after she settles in. Despite all she's endured with the trapping, Buttons has been sweet and docile, but very, very shy. She allowed me to touch her at the vet's but I think she was just in shock. Based on the way she behaved, it's fairly safe to say she isn't feral–just abandoned or lost.
Now, Buttons is in the bathroom – the only room in the loft with a door, sequestered from Bossa Nova and Pablo. She's hiding behind the washing machine and will not come out in my presence. It's hard; I don't want to disturb her, but I do need to use the bathroom and shower. She eats and uses the litter box when I'm away or asleep. I tried Feliway spray, but it hasn't helped. As one person put it, "She doesn't know she won the lottery yet."
Buttons' life has totally changed. She's used to the sounds of footsteps, sirens, horns and traffic. Now instead of living under a grate in the freezing cold, she's in a warm loft, eating premium cat food and getting used to the sounds of the garbage disposal, flushing toilets, and Latin jazz. If you have ideas or advice on how to help acclimate Buttons, please share. I need your help and Buttons needs your good vibes.
Please help the cats in your neighborhood get through the winter. For more information on how to help feral/stray cats, visit The Philadelphia Community Cat Council or Alley Cat Allies.