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post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Lazlo – rescued July 6, 2002

Lazlo is our little lion, our feral box-boy. He seems fierce and standoffish, but he’s a big softie who loves attention, though he hates to admit it. We should have known from the very beginning that our little lion boy doesn’t like to be alone.

We’d been feeding the feral family since they turned up in June. There was “the little friendly one†(now Lazlo), the “little black and white one†(now Sheldon), “white legs†(now Tuxedo), “black paws†(now Spooky), and “the big orange one†(Julius). Mom would take them on excursions for a day or two at a time. The Thursday after the fourth of July, no kittens were around. We figured they’d gone on another family outing when no one turned up for breakfast. Later that afternoon, we thought we heard meowing. We searched around the burrow in which the kittens were born and currently lived, but we couldn’t find anyone.

Friday, we DEFINITELY heard a kitten crying. We hung back and peered through the prickly bushes, searching. And there he was – the one we knew then only as “the little friendly one.†Since he hadn’t turned up for any meals despite our “calling†the kittens by shaking the bag of food, it seemed his pride and ferocity disappeared with his family. The poor little guy was scared.

The little friendly one was alone and crying for two days now. What should we do? I’m allergic to cats, and Gary was new to not hating cats. We decided to bring him in. If it didn’t work out, we could find him a home. Or call a shelter.

Gary traipsed up into the woods with a bowl of food and called him over (by shaking the bag). Poor little boy was so hungry! The little friendly one and the little black and white one were the only kittens who would let us pet them – but only while they ate. The little friendly one was the only one who allowed us to pick him up – but not for long! He always seemed confident and independent – so small and proud, he was!

Gary had positioned the crate, end up, right next to the burrow where we fed them every day. The little friendly one began gobbling up his food – he’d finally conquered his fear in the absence of his family. He was hungry enough to brave eating near us without the others around.

He was oblivious of Gary reaching down and grabbing the scruff of his neck. He was in the crate before he knew it. Thankfully, Gary slammed that door shut, because as soon as the little friendly one realized he was trapped he FREAKED. He SLAMMED his little body against that door with all his might. Gary was terrified that the poor little thing had hurt himself. We’ve had no cat or kitten, no matter how old or mean, fight the crate or trap like the little friendly one. SLAM! SLAM! SLAM! He wasn’t crying now, he was howling!

Gary carried him inside and set the crate down on the floor next to his chair. The little friendly one could see us. He quietly shriveled up into the corner of the crate. Gary opened the crate door, and reached in for him. He pulled him out by the scruff of his neck, and held him in his arms as he sat down. We spoke to him in soft tones. We kept reassuring him that we just wanted to love him, and that he’d be safe with us.

He must have believed us. He stopped trembling and burrowed into Gary’s arm. Gary just stroked him while holding him for a long, long time.

We put him back into the crate, and made a makeshift litterbox. I pulled out our 8x8x8 glass baking dish, and Gary filled it with dirt – the same type of dirt he would have been using in which to bury his waste the past 6 – 8 weeks. We slipped the “litterbox†into the crate with him. He gratefully crawled onto it to hunker down again. Silly us! Of course he wants to sit on the dirt. He’s been living in a burrow his whole life!

We so wanted to let him out in the house – but we were worried about the litterbox issue. So we kept opening the crate, taking him out, and letting him bury himself into Gary’s arms. It took several hours, but finally the little boy began to purr. At that point, we knew we’d conquered the worst of his fear.

When it came to bedtime for us, we set up a table next to the bed for his crate. We placed it so he could see us. We kept taking him out of the crate and petting him – he was beginning to get more comfortable with us. We kept giving him water, which he happily lapped up. Then we’d massage his little tummy, and hold a warm cloth to his genitals. He was a tenacious little thing! He held on and didn’t go to the bathroom for about 12 hours. When he finally peed in his box of dirt, we praised him to high heaven and let him out of the box. I still think that’s the largest pee we’ve seen any cat produce!

He nestled into the pillows between us, and purred himself to sleep.

After visiting the Vet the next day, our next stop was the Pet Store, where we bought loads of toys, food, Whiskas cat milk, a litterbox, a scratching post, and an “oyster-shell†bed – so soft and comfy, but “covered,†to make our burrow-boy comfortable. When we got home, the first thing we did was get his litterbox ready. We took his pee from the makeshift litterbox and spooned it into the new litterbox. The first thing our little boy did was hop into the litterbox and relieve himself again. And believe me, relieve is the right word! I think that was the first time he smiled.

It was all uphill from there. He explored the house, and, of course, found every “hole†we didn’t know was there. We unscrewed the TV from the dashboard to fish him out from under the dash. Our hearts beat wildly as we were afraid he’d find an escape route to the outside.

He cried for his family by the front door several times a day. He was easily distracted by play. He LOVED to play. He still does. But other than that first day here, he’s never spent time on a lap. He’ll curl up next to either one of us, but put him on a lap, and he’s out of it like a shot. He’s far too independent for that!

I’ll never forget his first night out of the crate. We moved his oyster-shell bed from the living room couch to Gary’s bedside table so he could be near us while we slept. Our little independent boy doesn’t like to be alone! Gary reached in to pet him, and he purred up a storm. When he fell asleep, we, finally, could get a bit of sleep ourselves. We woke up in the middle of the night and peered over at our little baby boy. He wasn’t there! We flipped on a light – and there he was: Asleep on a pillow, just above my head.

It was clear from the very beginning that he liked to burrow, that he liked small spaces, and that he didn't like to be alone. Gary made him a “condo†constructed out of boxes. Lazlo, as we christened him (after a mildly famous lawyer from San Francisco in the 60s who practiced in defense of 4th Amendment laws), was in heaven. He loved to explore the spaces and the constant new arrangements we provided him! We gave him lots of doors and windows, corridors, levels, and we frequently moved them around and reconstructed them. It was a new adventure every day. That, a toy mouse, and knowing we were near were all he needed.

He always seemed so aloof – until he played or it was bedtime. He loved to be petted in his oyster-shell bed, where he began every night. He always relocated to the pillow above my head. And all we’d have to do is reach over to touch him – his paw, his head, his back, a leg – it just didn’t matter. He’d start purring like a motorboat. Just knowing we were there was all it took.

Lazlo is our little lion. Our fierce little feral boy. So independent and proud. And yet – our little abandoned boy, who likes to know he’s not alone.


The Vet believes he was between 10 and 12 weeks when we brought him inside. That would make him… let’s see… about 8½ to 9 months old now. Lazlo is still our stoic little boy, prim and proper. He follows the rules, and does his best to maintain order in the chaos of our home. He and Sheldon trade places as alpha. At least that’s what Shelly and Gary think. But Lazlo and I know better. He’s confident enough to let Shelly believe he’s the alpha cat. It’s only when Shelly decides to Lord it over anyone that Lazlo feels the need to put him in his place.

Lazlo sprawls out every afternoon, like a lion surveying the Savannah. He’s still scared when he hears a loud or strange noise, and the smallest space available is his quick retreat. But to this day, all I have to do is seek him out and reach my hand in there – and it turns that purr motor on.

He welcomes all the cats who’ve been through here with quiet dignity. He gives them their space, and his air of pride and confidence is all he needs to display before all know who reigns here.
post #2 of 8
Laurie, I've so enjoyed Lazlo's story. I've been following your progress with this kitty family for a long time, and I'm so glad you are telling Lazlo's story in Paws and Reflect. Thank you.
post #3 of 8
I concur with Jeanie. You and Gary and your whole kitty family have come so far from the days when you were asking what to do about the kittens out back. Thank you for sharing Lazlo's story with us.
post #4 of 8
Laurie, that's a lovely story. Thanks for documenting Lazlo's entry into yours and Garys lives.

He does sould like such a sweetie, your very lucky to have him, and he is SO lucky you decided to investigate those meows on that fateful day.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'm thankful to all of TCS for helping me with the gang - and you all know the outcome!!!!

Lazlo is now our "bathroom cat" LOL! We always leave the door open for him. He loves hanging out in there. He wanders in there several times a day and calls for me with his little meows! He wants me to come in and pet him. He doesn't even wait for the pets now before he starts purring and trilling! It SO warms my heart!!!!

post #6 of 8
Laurie, You made me smile; that's so touching! I like to laugh, but there is something special about sitting alone in front of a computer with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face!
post #7 of 8

That was the most beautiful story of Lazlo's rescue. I never really knew the whole background on his rescue until now. You did a fabulous job telling it! He's such a fortunate little "lion" to have found you and Gary! I'm so very happy that this has worked out for everybody!

And Jeanie G., I agree with you wholeheartedly, I'm also smiling sitting in front of my computer with a warm feeling in my heart! It makes it all worth it - rescuing these cuties! Wish we could save them all.
post #8 of 8
Excellent story Laurie.

All of our hearts have been warmed a little more because of you and your stories. You and Gary are a wonderful pair!

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