The Hobbes Experiment: The Final Chapter
After just four weeks, the Hobbes Experiment is over and the results are in. Hobbes, a feral cat who was wandering the streets of Bridgeport last month, has found a home.
We’re keeping him. Success.
I wasn’t sure at first that he could be rehabilitated. When we first got him, he was unneutered, antsy, thin and bony, full of fur mats, and when I tried to pick him up he would hiss and scratch. Our other cats instantly hated him, recoiling at the mere sight of him, and he retaliated by spraying and marking his territory.
Fortunately, our vet was good about scheduling a fast appointment to neuter him. Hobbes recovered quietly, away from the other cats, in my son’s old bedroom. His social recovery though was done in baby steps. After a week, Hobbes wanted to leave the room and explore the house. Our Tuxedo cat Frankie started following him around, but Minx the calico avoided him at all costs. If he went into a room, she left. The neutering definitely calmed him down. I think he was at ease that he no longer had to forage or beg for food, so he started grooming and cleaning himself. He even let me brush him (bless you Furminator). But although Hobbes would let me pet him, he wouldn’t let me hold him. He’d start to growl. I wasn’t sure if he would be a good fit for us.
The final test was to see what would happen when he went outside. Initially, I hoped he would be an indoor cat, but he was used to being outdoors and when he saw the others go out… he wanted to be a copy cat and go out too. I was very concerned that he would run off. Our yard is quite large, but it is also fairly open. We’re situated on a busy road and if he wandered out there, it could quickly be the end. Fortunately, he followed Frankie around the yard and was then content to settle down and sunbathe on the terrace. The past couple weekends, the weather was wonderful so I could leave the doors open and Hobbes could come in and out on his own during the day. Although he loves being outside, he is just as happy to come in and take a nap.
In the past week, Hobbes has started purring up a storm and follows me wherever I go. There is a good reason why there will never be a “Take Your Cat To Work Day.” When I start typing on the computer, Hobbes jumps up, lays down on the keyboard, and types out afeojiajdsfpdsgaok.
We’ve progressed to the point where Hobbes not only lets me pick him up, but he curls up and falls asleep on my lap.
With that, the experiment is over and we have a new member of the household. I encourage others to help a stray cat or dog get help and the care it needs. In the end, you may not adopt it, but at least you will be giving an animal the chance to have a good and productive life. Like the hokey pokey, that’s what it’s all about.