The short story: we trapped a stray kitty and now he's with us but still very, very worried about *bad things* happening. He's healthy and allowing small pettings, however.
There he is, still looking very worried. One thing I only realized when I got him into the open is what a big cat he is. He'd been all hunched into himself until recently.
The long story:
The youngest daughter had been feeding a stray in hopes of getting him to trust us. When the weather hit near zero, I agreed to borrow a humane trap from the local animal shelter. Two days later, he was inside and not happy about it.
However, he was in such good shape, I worried he was someone's pet so I stupidly--I can't believe how dumb this way--tried to touch him. He bit me.
Which meant quarantine at the local animal shelter for two weeks for a rabies watch.
He turned out healthy, I found a vet recommend by my local rescue organization that did all the blood work, tests, and neutering at a discount. Verdict: he's about a year old, tests all came back that he's healthy, and now he's not a tom cat any longer.
I'm not sure if he was a feral from the start or abused. He spent two weeks after his operation hiding behind my washing machine. I had to take him back to the vet for a booster shot yesterday and while he'll tolerate touching, try to pick him up and you get bitten. Which I did. At least no rabies watch this time and I took him to the vet in a carrier where the top pops off.
We popped off the top, the vet gave him a shot, he stayed hunched in the carrier, and back home he came. He's in my bathroom now so he can't hide and has some small, regular contact with people on a daily basis. But no picking up. :)
As I said, he's LARGE. We think he might have some Maine Coon cat in him. If he manages to sneak out of my bathroom, then I'll just let him hide to his content but I'll stop feeding him separately. I figure he'll eventually come out for food.
His name is Jacob Marley's Ghost because he came at Christmas. The kids call him Jacob. I'm calling him Ghost.
He's really very sweet, not aggressive at all unless you pick him up, and completely quiet. No meows. At all.
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- Ghost Cat