The cat who came in from the cold
Amber First noticed on a hillside (October 5, 2012). His pale ginger coat stood out as he sat in an old disused rabbit burrow. We looked at one another from the considerable distance. Figuring that he must have been dumped and very hungry I took out dishes of food but he had vanished.
Knowing that the cat would need to seek shelter I placed food in a neighbour's hayshed twice a day and soon it was all going in great quantities!
I placed food near and then in a humane opposum trap but I moved the food just inside the opening and gradually into the back of the cage. The food went but no cat when I set the trap. I decided to borrow a larger cage from the SPCA and continued feeding twice daily. I set the trap using thin pieces of beef tied onto the hook so he had to pull on it.
Several mornings later a terrified ginger cat was desperately trying to escape as I approached in the early morning half light. I covered the cage with a blanket to quieten Amber which was the name I had decided upon. I was actually delighted it was the cat I had seen back in October.
Amber in the SPCA trap. We took a very frightened young cat to the vet for neutering, defleaing, vaccinating and microchipping on November 19, 2012.
We made the mistake of sitting him in our kitchen as the morning was cold and the vet would not be open for hours. I should have known Amber would have passengers of flees and worms!
I had already arranged that should I manage to catch him/her, Amber would have an appointment immediately after capture. They had to knock him out in the cage and later in the day I collected a subdued but still fiesty cat and literally emptied him out of the carry cage into a large dog cage which was borrowed from another sympathetic neighbour. Amber had to live in this for many weeks and he hissed at me, but at no time did he scratch when I reached inside to make his bed, change his water and feed him. The box for his toilet was tricky as I had two and alternated them to keep everything clean.
Amber in the dog cage after his vet visit on November 19, 2012.
One day I decided to try letting him out. He was purring when I stroked and talked to him so I thought he'd be OK. Another mistake. Once out of his cage Amber flew across the room and hit the window hard. He crashed to the floor, flew across the other side and shot up to a high curtain which gave him access to the top of a dresser where he surveyed me. Amazingly, he didn't knock down the ornaments. Very slowly I placed a chair and reached up to rescue a vase which had belonged to my grandmother.
Next, I carefully approached with a large towel. Amber was by this time a little quieter and I told him how beautiful he was, then grabbed him. I don't know how I held onto him but I stuffed him back in his cage.
Amber in the dog cage on November 24, 2012
A fortnight later I let him out again and this time he quietly explored.
A fortnight later I let him out again and this time he took his time to explore without panicing and even slept on a couch.
We still had Sam at this stage but I was regretting taking him in as Sam could not be trusted with Moses who was not young. Moses was now an inside cat owing to him being completly deaf and with failing eyesight we worried about him crossing the road or getting lost in the great outdoors. We think Moses suffered a stroke after the earthquake. Sam was a bully and we couldn't leave him on his own with Moses.
One morning I thought Amber had progressed enough to be allowed out. I should have made sure that Sam was inside when I first let Amber out. Amber was reluctant to go when I opened the door and went out only a foot or two before comng back inside and rubbing around my legs. This he did several times and then made a decision and walked out along the path. Sam must have been watching because he suddenly appeared from nowhere, ran at Amber and chased him off. I didn't see Amber all day though I called his name which he knew by now. When it was dark he appeared at the door, but Sam was onto him and a terrible fight took place. It took some time, but I found Sam, picked him up and put him in the garage. Never before had we had such a nasty natured cat and I had had enough of him bouncing Moses and now attacking Amber. The next morning I took Sam to the SPCA, though I felt very bad about doing so. Within a week he found a new home as he had become a very friendly cat towards people. When we came here we had four cats and they all got along peacefully. They ate together and all four would sleep on the bed together.
I worried that I would not see Amber again. A neigbour saw him walking down the hill towards our place. I put food out on an upturned bin so the hedgehogs could not get it. Next, I moved the food dish inside our door and then in stages towards the kitchen. I slept on the couch during this period and spoke his name when he came inside. I was cold with the door open. He had pretty much gone feral and as soon as he heard me move he fled. It rained, so I opened a window and with a small table placed beside it, he quickly started coming in the window. Moses was shut out of the kitchen so he couldn't get lost, but he was not too pleased. Normally he slept with me on the bed.
Very soon I was able to shut the window while Amber was eating. Such a relief to have him inside.
Quickly he gained confidence again and realised that Sam was no longer here.
He was able to come and go as he pleased and we let him in and out of a window.
This photo was taken on January 9, 2013. Amber is frequently with me when I am outside in the garden but even now (November, 2013) is wary of Nick and visitors. I wonder why? People who are cruel to animals are not to be trusted.
Amber on the table beside the window on July 23, 2013.
Amber has grown into a very nice natured cat now.
January 6, 2014: A gorgeous tortiseshell little girl kitten has come and live with us, so Amber will not be an only cat. I think it is better to have more than one cat as once they get to know one another they will become companions and wash each others faces as cats do when they have a friend. Also it is best for them to have social skills and Amber and Bidi are already great friends as you can see from other photos on this web site. Bidi's page
Moses treated him with distain. Amber regarded Moses quite differently from the way Sam had. Amber wanted to play but accepted that he was allowed to lick Moses occasionally and then only when they were both sitting on the back of the couch behind me.
Moses had a favourite spot and cushion where he had a prime view out a window. There were times when I had to move Amber off Moses's cushion onto the next chair as Amber wanted to sit with Moses, but Moses wasn't having that much familiarity on HIS cushion.
Strangly, since Moses has passed on on September 20, 2013, Amber avoids the cushion on the back of Moses's chair.
July 4, 2013. Moses and Amber sleeping together on the back of the couch.
Our old Siamese, Moses, was a wonderful help from the beginning. Moses had always had other cats around him and I suspected he was lonely since his friend Tabitha had passed on. Moses ignored Amber, (I think he would have preferred a lady cat), but Amber could see that when Moses spoke we jumped! Moses had the typical Siamese voice and a vocabulary to match his high IQ. I'm sure I heard him say “Out” many times over the years when he wanted the door opened. This is about Amber so I won't go on.