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Toby's Memorial
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Toby's memorial was created on 12/11/2013.
Toby was a little over 5 years old at best guess. I first saw him on my back porch when he was about 1 year old during the summer months. I only saw him a few times, and if he saw me he would run away. He was tall but extremely thin. I only saw him once over the winter and only a quick glimpse before he ran off. Fortunately it was a mild winter. In the spring, I started to see him more often and by the end of summer he would actually stay on the porch when I went to the sliding glass door to get a peek. When he stood to walk away, you could see his hip bones and his ribs. I have a small gray and white short hair domestic female that does not like other cats - she will hiss and growl, and if she is outside she will attack. She only weighs about 6 pounds, but was attacked when she was less than a year old, and since then attacks all other cats. Until Toby. She would growl a little, but she didn't attack. He showed up one cold and rainy fall day, so I put out some food and warm water. I hid where I could watch but he couldn't see me. He finally came and ate. He didn't seem to be any taller than the summer before so guessed he was about 2. He started showing up once or twice a week over the winter. Still very thin, but always seemed clean and never had ice or dirt clumps. The following summer he continued to show up and seemed to get a little used to me. One day, when I had fallen asleep on my couch with the door open for my cat, he ventured inside unbeknownst to me. When I woke up, he was in my kitchen, but when he saw me he ran for the door with his tail tucked and his belly almost on the floor. By then end of summer, now maybe three years old, if I put the food inside the door, he would come in to eat. If I moved very slowly, and stayed crouched down, he would let me get within a couple of feet without running away. As winter came, he showed up more and more often and one day he let me pet him on the head. Everything progressed well, and he started trying to explore inside. He discovered a chair that he liked - pine log with a big fat cushion, and one day jumped up and took a nap. The more often he came, the more he would let me near him and the more he let me touch him. I lived in a 35 year old trailer, and he had discovered a way under the trailer by going under my back stairs. By spring, it was a rare day he didn't come to eat, visit and nap, although never over night. He gradually discovered that he liked to be petted, as long as I didn't go near his belly - his favorite places to be rubbed were just above his eyebrows, and his jaw. He even started to gain some weight. By summer, when he would be about 4, he was a very healthy looking boy. His visits sometimes lasted for hours. In the end of July, 2012, he showed up one evening limping. He only ate a little bit, then headed for my guest room, where there were some blankets stacked on the floor. He crawled on top and went to sleep. When I was going to bed, I went in to check on him, and he made no move to leave - a first. I saw that he had a would on his back foot, but it was clean and didn't look infected. When my alarm woke me the next morning, he was still asleep - he had never spent the night inside before. I checked his wound and it seemed the same and he seemed to be resting comfortably. I moved food and water into the room and left for work. When I came home that night, he was still there - much to my surprise. When I went in and checked on him, he was sleeping, but woke up and purred when I rubbed his head and jaw. He hadn't eaten or drank much. His paw seemed a little swollen, but the wound still looked clean. He spent the night again, but in the morning, his breathing was shallow and rapid, and his paw was twice the size of the other one. I called the vet my mom used, but they couldn't see him. I called Dr. Clark and they said I could bring him in right away. He was one sick little boy. Dr. Clark and his staff were fantastic. His paw was cleaned, and he was put on some antibiotics. The bad news was the he was FIV positive. Although I still didn't think of him as "my" cat, I had him neutered. I brought him home and managed to keep him inside that night, although he voiced his displeasure quite loudly. The next day he was eating normally and not limping. By that evening he decided he had enough of being inside, and started screaming at the top of his very powerful lungs non-stop. I broke down, and against advice to keep him inside for the next several days I opened the door and he ran outside. I didn't see him that morning, or that evening. I was afraid he was gone for good. But then he came back. He was less skittish, and started to learn how to ask to be petted. He now came every day, morning and evening. He would show up shortly after I got home from work, and sometimes even be waiting. He would stay until I went to bed, and occasionally not leave when I did go to bed. Although he would not wait until morning to wake me up and let me know he wanted out. He now weighed about 14 pounds. In September, my hot water pipes broke a seal and the floor of my trailer home was destroyed. By November I was living out of boxes in a friend’s home a mile away, who spent winters out of state. I borrowed a dog igloo from a friend and put blankets in it and placed it in my back yard on a small stack of lumber. The day my trailer was to be hauled out, Toby came for breakfast, the trailer was empty and gutted, so we sat on the floor. When Toby was done eating, he came and sat on my lap for the first time, and purred for the first time. I worried what he would do when the trailer was gone. There were open sheds behind my place, so knew he had some shelter. I had a basement dug, and a modular put up. It took 3 months. I stopped every morning and evening with food and warm water and called to Toby. Although the food was being eaten and the water drank, I couldn't be sure it was him. It was 3 weeks (the end of November) before I saw him but he looked good. I put him in the car and took him to where I was staying. He was nervous at first, but at some dinner and jumped up on the couch. He didn't stay but a few hours. Even though I still went by the old place every morning and evening, I didn't see him again for a month. My contractor reported however, that they saw him almost every day. I saw him again on Christmas eve, and once again took him to where I was staying. He stayed until 3am this time. Then it was 3 weeks or so before I saw him again. In early February of 2013, my new place was done and I moved in. Toby showed up the next day and moved in too. He finally decided to be an indoor/outdoor house cat. He slept on my bed at night, with me and my other cat. He even learned to play with cat toys. He tried to play with my other cat, but she didn't quite understand. He would go outside in the morning, but never stayed gone for long, and it wasn't until the middle of summer that he would stay outside all night. The nights he did stay out, he was always at the door when I got up in the morning. He seemed to treat my other cat with the knowledge that she was here first and therefore ruled. Even when she would swat him for no reason, he would just look at her like he was asking "what was that for ?". He loved to sit on my lap, and he loved to cuddle at night. By fall he went back to staying inside One weekend in October, he seemed to be sleeping more than normal, and didn't even go outside and Sunday night, he got up in the middle of the night and slept on the couch - where I discovered he had diahrea early Monday morning. We went to see Dr. Clark that day. His body was attacking his platelettes. We tried medicine, and he seemed to perk up a bit, then went downhill very rapidly. We tried a transfusion, but it only helped a little. One of the other vets even brought in her cat to try a second transfusion, but it didn't help either and I had to put him to sleep. He was only 5. I always felt he had been someone's pet at one time but had been abused. He always got very scared if I found him in the kitchen, and if I opened the refrigerator or freezer door he would streak out and try to hide. Once he moved into my new home, he finally learned it was ok to be in the kitchen. His favorite food was roast beef, and his favorite treat was sour cream. He was such a good boy. I miss him a lot.

Taylor W.

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