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Last, but not least: Tuxedo

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Tuxedo was one of the original "outside" kitties. Lazlo and Shelly became friendly pretty quickly. Spooky learned to love pets and was constantly underfoot. Julius was more reserved - but came to love pets too. Tuxedo on the other hand was a little ball of hiss and spit. They'd all come running when we came to feed them every day. Except Tuxedo, who'd bounce up like Tigger - but then stand his ground, arch his back, flair his tail, and hiss and spit! He was the second-smallest of the bunch, and man was he nasty!

We obviously deemed him unadoptable, and figured he'd be part of the feral colony. But even that became a problem. He was completely disruptive. As other kittens showed up along the way, he sent two of them to the hospital, both needing stitches. Some of you may remember Munchkin, who showed up with Thanksgiving right near Thanksgiving. We ended up fostering her for a few months. She was one he sent to the hospital. What a nasty little cat he was.

It started snowing before Halloween that year. Part of November wasn't so bad. But then it started snowing again, and it didn't stop. And it got soooo cold. Single digits. Tuxie would NOT use any of the shelters we put out. But he would come for meals and warm cat milk or warm chicken broth we made to help warm up the kitties.

One day, after putting out food for Tuxie (who we slowly moved away from where we fed the colony), Tux did his usual spitting and hissing as Gary put the food down. In total frustration, Gary sat down in the snow on the picnic bench and started crying. Then Tuxie walked over and bumped him in the foot. And that was it. Tuxie was Gary's baby boy.

Sometime in February/March, it went below zero. And every time we opened the front door, Tuxie would come running. OK - he loved Gary - but he'd already sent two cats to the hospital, and we had to separate him from the colony altogether. What could we do?

We found a new boarding facility that was basically empty. The woman's family had bred persians, and seemed to know what she was doing. We explained the situation, and she agreed we could board our feral kitty. She would even let him out to run around and play with him, and work on socializing him.

We visited him all the time for a few weeks. He would jump into Gary's arms:

and loved to play

In the above pics, see how puffed up he is from all the Winter weight and thick, thick fur?

Well - we weren't able to get over there for a week, and the lady called us and said "I think there's something wrong with your cat. Every time I let him out of the room (they had two story "rooms" that were about 4 feet wide and 3 feet deep), he runs and pees on the carpet." HELLO? We jumped in the car, got over there, and got him to the vet.

He had a urinary tract infection. Duh. But we still didn't know what to do with him - and we didn't want to take him back there. By this time we knew the vets really well, and the vet techs all gave whatever kitties we brought in there lots of extra attention. We decided to leave him there for a week or two to see if we could find a home for him.

While there, he attacked the vet, who needed stitches. But every time we visited, he would JUMP out of the cage into Gary's arms.

And he stopped eating. The vet said - "There's nothing wrong with him. He has obviously bonded with you, and if you want him to live, you have to take him home."

Oh God. We'd had four cats in the RV already, because we'd fostered Munchkin for a few months before she was adopted. But four cats - with one of them a cat that has done nothing but show total aggression to other cats - and in SUCH a small space? The RV was 37 feet long by 8 feet wide!

But there wasn't anything else to do, so we brought him home. And he was home, immediately. He was so sick because he'd lost about half his body weight so quickly. The other kitties came and sniffed him - and he sniffed back. That was it. No fighting. No hissing. No growling. Nothing. It was like he'd been part of the "happy kitty" family from the beginning!

Poor guy - his first days home:

Hey - Playing is FUN!

Our Cheshire Cat!

Getting healthy - such big, broad shoulders!

Getting along just fine with other kitties:

Fully recovered - and now alpha kitty without too much trauma:

WHAT a face!

And for such a tough guy - what a softie he is when he's daddy's baby boy!

It turns out Tuxedo had an autoimmune problem. We noticed over time that he'd become rather listless, and he started turning his back to us when we were in the same area. Then he would leave the area to be alone. We took him in - and he was terribly anemic. It took a long time to figure out a solution to the problem, and we came very close to losing him twice. I'll never forget the day when Tuxie had again lost over half his body weight. He was skin and bones. His hematocrit was 7 (under 24 is anemic - anything under 12 - 14 just isn't survivable for long), and the Doc said "I'm out of bullets." He had done so much research, contacted experts all over the country, ruled out every disease. BUT - he decided to give him a shot of depomedrol (a steroid) instead of continuing to pill him with prednisone.

And that was all it took. Well - he'd been to the vet's every day for months to get various shots (Epogen, nupogen - things to build up his red and white blood cell counts). In fact, we moved to where we are now specifically so that our drive to this vet would only be 15 minutes instead of 45+ . Then it went from every day to every other day. Then every week. Then every other week. There were a few setbacks along the way, but he was a fighter boy, and he did not mind going to the vet. He was SUCH a good boy, and had it not been so clear he was not giving up there was a point when we might have considered euthanizing him. But he fought all the way back - and how he's his big, fluffy, alpha self. And he only needs to go to the vet every 4 - 5 months or so for his shot of depomedrol now!

post #2 of 17
What a Great Story that is, I have 3 Tuxies and all mine were
Ferals also, Sissy, MiniMan and Zazzy are all related I Love the Tuxies, well I love them all
post #3 of 17
Tuxie is such an amazing kitty. I really wonder what triggered in that little head of his on that fateful day when Gary sat down in the snow. I'm glad that whatever tripped in his mind did, though.
post #4 of 17
What a story and what a great little guy he turned out to be
post #5 of 17
that's such an amazing story behind such a cute baby boy. I'm so glad that he survived and is doing so much better now. I'm glad you decided to keep him too. =) I always wanted a little tux baby.
post #6 of 17
That is such a great story! Your kitty is so pretty. I love that black strip that comes around to the front. You did a great job and providing such a loving home!
post #7 of 17
Great story!! And hes adorable to boot!!
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Gary still feels sooooo guilty for not having just brought him inside sooner. He used to show up with little yellow tufts of insulation on him, and it was driving us nuts. The next year, 2004, when he got so, so sick he almost lost his life the first time, Gary was absolutely convinced it had to do with his burying into insulation to keep warm. When we finally figured out what the problem is (his immune system thinks his blood cells are a virus and attacks them), the vet was finally able to reassure Gary that what happened with Tuxedo was not his fault. But from time to time he still brings up his wish that we'd just brought Tuxedo in after that turning point.

We just didn't know it was a turning point in his interaction with other kitties too.

The amazing thing is that he is the most loving kitty to us, and SUCH a good big brother to fosters/newbies. He constantly bumps us - right on the head. He does full body rubs, and just purrs up a storm. He makes a point on lying on ANYTHING of Gary's that is within reach. We have so many pictures of him sitting in Gary's baseball caps, lying on them, snuggling into a shirt left on the floor, his robe on the bed. Don't get me wrong - he loves me too.

...and I remember when he could stand exactly one rub on the cheek before he'd put his foot up for "enough." Now he LOVES being brushed, and will be brushed for up to 20 minutes! He'll come running if you call "Tuxedo, Brushies!"

He's another character. When we moved into the house, all the kitties were terrified. Except Tuxedo. He seemed to think we moved here just for him. He was immediately out - rubbing his cheek on EVERYTHING. He marked the entire house, and whenever someone comes over, everyone else flees - and Tuxedo comes running to check out who has entered his home.

We are so blessed he's alive and doing so well.

post #9 of 17
another tear jerker Laurie no more j/k...but anywho what a cutie lil tuxie is and o my he is sooo lucky to have u guys he has come through many things and well he is such a fighter (dont we just love our lil fighter kitties) and bless his lil heart such a lucky and a cute boy
post #10 of 17
Thank you so much for not giving up on him!

What an adorable little guy! Sounds like he just needed a little love and a place to call home!
post #11 of 17
Gosh Laurie that story has my eyes filled up here Those pictures of him with Gary just scream that they love each other
post #12 of 17
Aww he's a daddy's little guy! What a beautiful kitty he is, and another wonderful story! Its so nice to hear stories with happy endings like these!
post #13 of 17
That picture of Gary and Tuxedo is wonderful
post #14 of 17
What a world of difference between those first pictures, and the later ones where Tuxie sports nothing but a smug smirk of superiority!
post #15 of 17
Tuxie has grown up to be such a handsome boy. I remember when you and Gary first started feeding the ferals. It is amazing how far they have all come with such loving care. You have really done a great job with all of them.
post #16 of 17
What an amazing story. I love hearing stories like this with such happy endings.
post #17 of 17
Another lovely story! What a fighter handsome Tux is. Perhaps he was all hissy because he wasn't feeling well from his illness? But coming home with you meant he had Gary and yourself to accompany him, then subsequently there was medication to make him all better. Just hazarding a guess He's gorgeous though...
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