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National Editorials & Columns

Wild animals don't do well in homes

I’ve never been a cat person. Frankly, I haven’t been much of a dog person after being bitten in the face nearly 30 years ago.

And so it is with Midnight, a black, feral cat that has been roaming the neighborhood. She’d hang out while I smoked my cigar and played games on my cellphone. After a half-hour or so of petting her, at her insistence, she’d curl up in a ball on my lap.

I asked around and nobody claimed ownership of her, so I started feeding her. Once that routine set in, she never left the yard.

But I don’t need a cat, so my daughter decided she would adopt Midnight. She lives in an apartment about 30 minutes away. I agreed that the move would be good for both of them. Midnight would be inside for the winter, and Laura would have the sweetest, most adorable cat.

Laura quickly fell for Midnight even more than I had.

So, we began the process for Midnight’s big move.

Laura thought Midnight might need to be calmed down since the cat had never been in a crate and might get scared. That’s classic Laura for you. Always empathetic.

Laura couldn’t coax the cat into the crate. Laura decided she would just transport the cat in the car. But she couldn’t get Midnight into the car, either.

Midnight seemed to trust me more, so I held her as I sat down in the car. I left the car door open so she wouldn’t feel trapped. Laura was not adept at handling a semi-wild cat and tends to panic if the cat squirms.

The cat liked the car, though, so I had Laura start the engine and wait to make sure the cat wasn’t going to freak out. Midnight did fine.

About an hour later, I got a phone call. The cat did fine on the ride. So, Laura opened the door to carry the cat into the vet’s office. Midnight saw her chance and bolted from Laura’s grip and disappeared into the woods nearby.

Laura, understandably, was a wreck. I assured her that Midnight would be fine. She was mostly wild to begin with and had survived outside on her own for a long time.

Nearly a week has gone by, and there’s been no sign of Midnight. Not every story has a happy ending.

Not every wild cat can be saved and brought inside. Not every cat wants to be inside.

• David Porter can be reached at ramblinman@ramblinman.us.

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