Updated: Aug 19
Welcome back to The Adventures of Weisie & The RappCats, where today’s excitement comes in the stories of two new guests at our shelter.
Tommy and Fawkes are on their “adjustment to inside life” journey, and they’ve amused and endeared themselves to all of us. I know you’ll love them too. We’ll also celebrate an adoption and you’ll be surprised where this gorgeous cat ended up!
Happy August, Weisie!
How could I forget this was always your favorite month? Well, December might be a close second. Playing with wrapping paper (on unopened presents) is a contender, I’m sure.
But August was special for you because of big…red…juicy…garden tomatoes! Weisie, you had the most bizarre obsession with tomatoes. And you weren’t even ashamed of it. You didn’t care who saw you with your tomatoes. (And oh yes, they were yours.)
Company would come over, and there you’d be…cozied up with the tomatoes like you were newlyweds! Spooning, your back to them, one paw over them…it didn’t matter as long as you were fur to tomato skin!
Well, we’ve been enjoying some delicious local Rappahannock tomatoes. I hope you’ve gotten your paws (or back) on some too!
Today I’ve got something almost as fun as tomatoes for you. RappCats has so many new arrivals that I can’t even introduce you to them all at once. (It's summer, always a busy time for shelters). But today you’re going to meet two of the coolest cats you’d ever want to play with!
Tommy is a smart fella who knows how to make himself at home. We don’t know where he originally came from, but one day he sauntered up to a beautiful farm in a little town (they’re all little) near here called Amissville. He just made himself at home! And he was lucky, because the kind people there enjoyed him, and gave him food.
But they couldn’t keep him forever, so they called RappCats to the rescue! And you know what? When our volunteer Pat got there, she didn’t even have to ask him to go into the crate she’d brought to transport him back to the shelter. He just waltzed right in!
Tommy is a lovely buff yellow with soft fur he loves to have petted. He’s probably a couple of years old — just old enough to have some mischievous kitten left in him but old enough not to climb the walls!
When Tommy first came in he suddenly got shy. I guess now that he was safe and secure, he could let go of some of his bravado. At first, he crouched in his litter box all day. Weisie - could you explain why cats do that? I mean, I get being scared, but yuck, you guys are usually so persnickety!
Anyway, he’d retreat there when people came close. And oh my gosh, heaven forbid Leslie or Carolyn had to vacuum! He couldn’t get backed up any tighter in his box if he tried! Hope at least it was one of the cleaner corners.
Then came the big transfer out of our intake room into a regular room. The litter boxes are right out in the open, so he had to find a new “safe place”. And he quickly did. He tucked himself away in one of our cat trees — he chose the very bottom hole, and he curled up and carefully watched us from there.
Then, all of a sudden, Tommy decided enough with that hole — he was coming out! Well, after that decision, Tommy’s been a new boy! He doesn’t miss an opportunity to greet you and say hello. And if I’m in another room for “too long” instead of playing with him, he’ll stand up on the wire door and let me know. He uses a very sweet voice, but I know he’s seriously expecting me to turn right around and get back to him, where apparently I’m supposed to be. (We’re working on patience.)
And I have a secret to tell you about Tommy. He has a crush! It’s so adorable. See, Tommy has a brand new roommate. His name is Fawkes (you’ll learn about him in a minute) and he’s so new he’s not even out of his big cage yet full time. But he’s in the same room as Tommy and when I’m there I let him out (under strict supervision of course).
And right away, the first time I let him out, Tommy goes straight up to Fawkes. (You know which end of him he beelined for, and it wasn’t where the whiskers are!) I assumed my “throw a towel over them if necessary” stance. (That’s a fancy maneuver Candace, who trains all the new volunteers, teaches us is an absolute requirement for the job.)
But no towel needed. Fawkes was unfazed. Plus, he apparently passed “inspection” and Tommy decided he had a new best friend! He rubbed right up against Fawkes — first up and down one side, then around to the other — and finally he put his face right up against poor Fawkes!
Well, Fawkes has got to be Mr. Cool, because he just turned and looked at me like “what the heck?” And then he casually sauntered over and started to eat Tommy’s food! I guess friends share, right?
So now, when I let Fawkes out, the two are inseparable. Or maybe I should say Tommy is glued to Fawkes’ side. Being Mr. Cool, Fawkes doesn’t complain, and truth be told Weisie, I think he secretly adores Tommy right back!
So, you must be wondering about this mysterious gentleman. Well, Fawkes’ story is especially interesting to me, because I had actually met him before he came to the shelter!
One day my husband (that’s another story, Weisie) and I were at Flatwood, the county dump doing our usual Friday run. A dump is a big place you take all the empty cat cans and kibble bags so they can be recycled. (Or it’s what you do in a litter box, not outside it.)
And that day, there was a bone-skinny black cat next to one of the dumpsters. His fur was thin and dirty. Clearly he was starving and was scavenging for scraps of food. I got out of the truck (hopeless optimist that I am) and crouched down to say hello. Of course any smart stray cat is going to run for the hills and that’s exactly what he did. But I could tell he really wished he had somewhere safe to live.
He ran a bit, then turned back and looked at me with sad eyes, and sat down far enough away that I couldn’t possibly catch him. I told him there was a wonderful place called RappCats where he could stay and relax if he’d do us the honor. I think he was thinking about it, I really do.
So then, the week afterwards, I go to the shelter, and guess who’s there! Yep, there’s the skinny black cat in one of the intake room cages. Our volunteers had managed to trap him, and now he was safe. His days of having to rummage in the trash for food were over.
But Fawkes was completely out of his element at the shelter. He had been a wild child battling the elements and critters, and now he was expected to suddenly be around people? He wasn’t so sure about it, and he hid behind his litter box 99% of the time. And at first, no matter how slowly I moved my hands, if I tried to reach in and touch him, he’d swipe at my glove (we’re all gloved up because of COVID-19 — another story for another time).
And his sharp claw would slice right through my blue glove, but you know what? He always did it just enough to cut the glove and not scratch my skin! Pretty amazing.
After the first week, I decided enough of this hiding — sometimes cats are more ready for contact than they seem, and I can’t tell you how I know this, but so far, my hunches seem to work out. So I asked the other volunteers to please push the litter box right up against the back of the cage so there was nowhere for the newly named Fawkes to hide.
Of course now he just started crouching beside the box. But at least I could reach him. And you know what? When I put both hands out, and reminded him this was no dump we were running here, he let me touch him and pull him out of the cage! He gave me a steely look: “One wrong move lady, and these claws are gonna go way deeper than the glove this time.”
Well, I held him firmly and pulled, and he just slid like butter across the stainless steel floor of the cage — right into my arms. And we sat down on the floor of the intake room and had a chat. He listened with one ear and constantly scanned the room with the other. (It’s impressive how you guys do that thing with your ears working independently.)
And he didn’t scratch or try to get away. I think we reached an understanding that afternoon.
Now, as you know, Fawkes has been moved to one of the regular rooms. He’s sharing it with Bella (you’ll met this stunning sweetheart soon) and Tommy, but he stays in a large private cage for now except when someone’s there to supervise. (He’ll surely be out of the cage entirely by the next time you and I talk.)
Weisie, Fawkes turned out to be a great example of how you should never, ever judge a cat (or person) by where they come from. His beginnings were humble. He was homeless, and lived entirely by his wits. He was filthy, and honestly not very appealing in looks. Surely some people just thought of him as cat trash, judging him by his surroundings. But Fawkes, like lots of cats down on their luck, was more than met the eye.
In my opinion, Fawkes just might be the smartest cat at RappCats right now! He started recognizing his name real quick (sometimes that never happens), and he’s attentive and learns very fast. He even made up his own game. He figured out that a grooming comb not only feels great, but it also makes a funny sound when you take your paw and tap it against the floor! So now he gets one stroke to brush him, and then he taps once to hear the sound. We do that over and over, and neither of us get bored!
Fawke’s fur, by the way, is turning out uniquely luscious. From a distance it pretty much looks solid black. But up close, there is a chestnut brown in there, and as he gets healthier, it’s starting to have a really nice shine. I think he might be part Bombay! In any case, whatever he is, he’s royalty now. So remember Weisie, beginnings are only beginnings. You never know how far a cat (or a person) can go!
Tommy & Fawkes...Their Journeys...Their Friendship
CELEBRATING ELSA'S ADOPTION!
Elsa was a stunner from day one. Some really nice people in Castleton saw her hunting in a field near them. It was still winter, and one day it snowed. They said she blended right in with it! Her coat was full and pure white.
This nice couple called RappCats and brought her in. You could tell they really liked her, but they had their own cats and decided they couldn’t take another one. Even so, they were so kind. They came several times just to visit and keep Elsa company. They even brought their adult daughter with them, and she was clearly a cat person. It didn’t take much for her to decide to join our “Cuddle Crew”. (That’s supposed to be when you come in to love on the cats. But really it’s when you come in to be loved by the cats). Being on the Cuddle Crew is a special honor (and always taking new members).
Anyway, Elsa was a mystery. She looked healthy and she wasn’t too afraid of people. But no one claimed her, so RappCats set out to find her a fur-ever home.
Soon we heard from a lady way up in New York. She had seen a photo of Elsa on a pet finder website and she adored and wanted to adopt her! But with the pandemic, there wasn’t a good way for us to unite them right away. So Elsa didn’t know it, but for several months, she was actually already spoken for. In the meantime, she was known for being a quiet, glamorous lady who enjoyed being held and petted.
And then, finally, arrangements were made and Elsa’s new owner took her home. She’ll be in a home with just two adults and one other cat. And that’s just purr-fect for her!