In November 2015, our lives were changed by a cat named Chuck. He got his name from our grandkids, who named him while watching the Great Pumpkin movie. Chuck appeared at our door in November and made it clear he was home. Despite my husband Mick not liking cats, Chuck greeted me at my car every day and followed me to our porch to get petted. I did not feed him as I believed he had a home and Mick’s dislike of cats. This went on for weeks and he even ran into our house a few times.
When our family came for Thanksgiving, he greeted them all and played with the grandkids in the yard. They all wanted to take him home, but I was still convinced he had a family. He was the friendliest cat I had ever seen and looked well-fed, but also had been in a fight. He had a broken tail, missing fur, and what I thought was a missing ear. Later, I found out that he had been trapped and neutered by a cat organization. They capture feral cats and, after fixing them, clip a piece of their ear before returning them to their neighborhood. This way, they will be able to identify them if they are trapped again.
Chuck moves in
Several days after Thanksgiving, we were under a frost warning. As I looked out the window, I saw Chuck sitting on the porch. I spoke with Mick and we agreed that we needed to bring him inside and either adopt him or find a suitable home for him. We decided that I would take him to the vet first thing in the morning. Chuck was given some canned tuna for dinner and a bed for the night.
The next day, Chuck had his first vet visit. At the vet, we found out the meaning of the clipped ear. Chuck was given a check-up, his shots, and chipped. It was estimated he was 5-6 years old. On the way home, I stopped to buy cat supplies, and we now had a 19-pound cat named Chuck. Yup, Chuck was a big, friendly cat!
Mick and Chuck
Mick and Chuck formed a strong bond right away, with Chuck following Mick everywhere and clinging to his feet as if to say, “Don’t leave me.” By Christmas, Chuck had become a fully integrated member of the family, welcoming all visitors and always positioning himself where he could see all the action or sitting between Mick and I.
As we were both working, our travel was limited to a couple of weeks at most. We arranged for a cat-sitter who also fell in love with Chuck. Although we knew he was in good hands, it was still difficult to leave him behind. However, we were faced with a trip that would require us to be away for over four weeks, and I was dreading leaving Chuck behind. I shared my concerns with his vet during his annual check-up, and the vet turned to me and said, “You can’t leave him for that long. He has already been abandoned once and you need to bring him with you.” The vet went on to encourage me by saying that many truckers have cats.
Chuck, The Camping Cat
We decided to bring him and I at once started searching the internet for how to take a cat traveling. I decided I needed to get him use to being in the truck, harness trained, as well as making it safe as possible.