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Introducing… Raggedy Andy Dusty

I live near a large patch of old growth forest where I’m sure people toss cats they can no longer care for. There is also a fairly large feral cat population.

Kells Missiano Del Gato

I provide food, fresh water, shelter, and warm bedding for these cats in a building that I call “Missiano Del Gato“. (Thanks to a small playhouse that the previous homeowners added to my property.) (I made this raccoon-proof and dog-proof, thanks to tips provided on the Urban Cat League web site. ) I trap the cats and get the spayed or neutered with the help of Feline Friends and Coalition Humane.

One of the first cats to use this shelter was the cat now called Andy. When I first spotted him, I thought he was a feral cat. He tried to make sure I didn’t see him and he quickly scampered off when he heard me. One day when I got a good look at him, I realized he was very thin and looked sickly. So I began to quietly pursue him. When I saw him run away, I’d slowly follow the path I thought he took, plop down spoonfuls of wet food, and say “here kitty kitty”. After about a month of that, he decided to stop running so far away. For several months he would run from me, but would stay in sight. After I walked away, he would come closer again.

Andy "Dusty" in 2007

During this time, he began spending most of his time under my shed, which left him covered in spider webs and dust. So I began calling him Dusty. He also got on a regular feeding schedule and was always sitting in front of the shed at the exact times I came out with wet food twice per day. My goal was to catch him, get him testing for FIV and leukemia, get him fixed, and re-release him – just as I do other cats. But he was extremely skin, had scabs and open wounds all over him, and moved like he had arthritis. I was concerned that he was so sick that the most humane way to help him was to euthanize him. No matter, I was determined to get to know him and help him as best I could.

After 10 months of knowing Dusty, he finally allowed me to touch him. That is, he hid under my shed, peeked his head out, and let me touch his forehead. I was SO happy about this that I bawled for hours.

After another few weeks, he would sit next to me totally exposed and would let me pet him.

Andy in 2010

Well, eventually I did catch him and by then I had fallen in love with him and decided that I wanted him to get as much love and as many nutritious meals as he could before he was euthanized. Although he was still in bad shape (worms, ear infection, asthma, FIV+), I decided to adopt him.

When Dusty became an indoor cat, as all my cats are, I told him he needed a new name because he wasn’t dusty anymore. After a couple weeks I realized I kept describing him as homely and raggedy, so Raggedy Andy Dusty Kells seemed like the perfect name for him.

The first few times he heard male voices in my house, he was so terrified that he emptied his bowels and got poop all over himself and the rugs. At his first dental exam, we discovered that he had 4 broken teeth. We suspect those came from humans being cruel to him, but we can only speculate.

After living indoors and getting really good, healthy food and supplements to support his immune system, I discovered that he’s a long-haired cat! He’s a very happy, playful, cuddly cat.

Andy is now a full-fledged member of my feline family and he is now the Big Man with the most seniority.

Andy in 2009


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