Before I got the kittens rehomed, I managed to get BigGuy neutered. He fell for roasted chicken, and I shoved his butt into the carrier and off we went to my vet, who had agreed to take him and do the neuter on behalf of the local SPCA.
We did it as a TNR (trap neuter release). The vets said he appeared to be about ten, but his teeth were pretty good for his age. He came out of the surgery just fine, so I took him back to work and let him go again. Part of my reasoning was that if I got Peggy done while the kittens were still around, he would protect them. I saw over the next few weeks that he stopped spraying pee everywhere (fantastic) while I also tried online to find a home for him. No one wanted a 10+ year old feral (former) tomcat, no matter how beautiful and kind.
He definitely became calmer and happier. And he showed me his incredibly fuzzy, curly belly! He was actually playing with string! I stopped looking for someone else to take him and started making plans to bring him home.
Hubby and I discussed at length how it might work. We bought a little cat-house for the outside, as we assumed he wouldn’t want to be indoors. We also had huge concerns about the dog. She likes cats, but definitely knows the difference between ‘her cats’ and ‘stranger cats.’ So, a ‘stranger cat’ in our back garden all the time was something we had to work around.
We both hated the idea of leaving him outside. But after the calamity and violence that happened between Lokii and Lumi when I tried to keep one of last year’s kittens, we knew we couldn’t just toss BG inside and hope for the best. Old man Lokii was not likely to want BigGuy anywhere near him. Also… the dog! What would BigGuy think of a massive dog in the house all the time? Was he scared of dogs? He should be, to have survived so long as a feral.
I put the little cat house together (smaller than expected), found a good sheltered spot for it, and when the stars aligned I went to work on a Saturday morning, got him into the carrier again, and brought him home!
I used tuna in oil to catch him this time. A tip for anyone doing cat-catching: DO NOT use tuna in oil! It got all over him. Especially his tail, which was horribly filthy already. At this point he didn’t want to go in the carrier again and did fight me a bit, then flailed about in the carrier. He came out with a dirty, oily, smelly, crud-encrusted stick instead of a tail.
Unfortunately, I was an idiot. Bound to happen; I’ve never done this before. I didn’t give him enough time to acclimate. I was accustomed to him following me around at work, and I expected the same from him at his new home. He spent the night in our tiny, junk-filled shed, and on Sunday morning I let him out with me and he went exploring.
Exploring right out of sight. He went over a wall and he was gone.