Like we’ve noted before on this site, sometimes we go looking for stories and sometimes it seems as if the story comes to us. This is one of those times. The following is the experience of our editor, Barbara.
Just last week, I adopted a cat from the Pitt County Animal Shelter. The staff there had named him JIngles.
He’s a big, orange, mushy male, two-year-old cat with a really sweet personality. But, because he’s orange and such has such chubby cheeks, sometimes I would look at him and think he should be called Morris, like the cat on the old cat food commercials, instead of Jingles.
Well, late last night, I noticed something on his arm, and, upon closer inspection, realized it was a puncture wound.
Although Jingles is a big old lap cat who loves people, he isn’t so crazy about our dog, Maggy. He had a tendency to leap off the couch and swatch at her. I assumed that Maggy finally had had enough and bit Jingles in retaliation.
The next day I called the make a vet appointment for Jingles, but I couldn’t get one until the following day. When I got home from work, I took another look at the wound on Jingles’ arm and decided to take him to the local 24-hour emergency clinic. It wasn’t bleeding but it was deep and I didn’t want him to get an infection.
While in the waiting room, the receptionist, Robin, remarked that Jingles reminded her of a cat that she had cared for from a feral colony where she lived. That cat was an orange male like Jingles.
“Only we called him Morris,” she said. (Yes, Morris, the name that often came to my mind when looking at Jingles.) And when Robin said that, Jingles literally looked over at where she was standing across the room as though he recognized her.
“Wow, he really responded to the sound of your voice!” I told her.
Robin went on to tell me that she had known that cat, i.e. Morris, since it was a kitten who appeared along with another kitten in her driveway. She had worked incredibly hard to help him learn to become affectionate with humans since he wasn’t used to people.
And, when he got older, she was planning on taking him to get him neutered. But the female feral cats she was looking after too were spayed first and, in the meantime, Morris, who was staying with some people across the street from her, got out, possibly got spooked by landscapers, and disappeared.
She hadn’t seen him since and had been worried sick. She had been looking for him, including calling the shelter to see if a big, orange male cat was there (oddly, she was told there wasn’t one).
But looking at Jingles in the emergency clinic waiting room, Robin said she had the very real feeling Jingles was, in actuality, Morris.
I told her that I had adopted Jingles from the local animal shelter and that he had been there for about two months before that.
Turns out, Morris had been missing for about two months.
If you’re thinking that there are a lot of orange cats out there and that this all sounds like a long shot, you’re right. Using the AVMA pet population calculator I got an estimate of 22,451 pet cats in Greenville (the city where the vet clinic is located). And that doesn’t even include the number of stray or feral cats. So, yes, there are many cats, and many of them are orange. Although I had a hard time finding out what percent of cats have orange fur, let’s say it’s 20 percent. That’s would be almost 5,000 orange cats in Greenville, and, again, that’s only the number of pets, not including strays.
But, Robin also had pictures of Morris saved on her iPad, which she showed me, and the resemblance was incredible. Here they are directly below:
The cat in the picture (Morris) had the same white tip near the end of his tail as Jingles. The same M on his forehead. The same slightly slouched back. And the same very light green shade of eyes.
I told her that Jingles had some cuts on his cheek when I went to the shelter to get him, but all that they could tell me at the shelter was that he was picked up as a stray, and I figured it was probably from a fight with another cat.
This fits in with what I learned about another feral cat that was in the area where Morris was. That cat had a tendency to scratch and bite. In fact, animal control might have picked Morris up when they went out to pick up the aggressive feral after a complaint of a bite.
And, although the animal shelter estimated JIngles to be 3 years old, the veterinarian said he was more likely two years old — the same age as Morris.
What’s more, when Robin picked him up and held him, Jingles tucked his head under her arm — just like Morris used to do.
Well, I’m as skeptical as the next person, but I’m pretty darn convinced that Morris and Jingles are one and the same.
And, in spite of being a skeptic, I also have those moments when things happen for a reason. After all, I could have ended up going to that vet appointment on the following day at the regular veterinary office, which is a completely different veterinary clinic. And, then, I would have continued to wonder about where Jingles came from and how he spent the first years of his life and what kind of fight had led to those marks on his cheeks.
And there would have been someone out there who loved Morris very much who would have never had the comfort of knowing that he ended up in a loving home.
Instead, Robin got closure and I got to learn about Jingles’ history. And JIngles got a heck of a lot of attention from both of us. 🙂
Here are some pictures of Jingles (a.k.a. Morris) at the veterinary clinic after being reunited with his first caretaker, Robin.
Jingles (a.k.a. Morris) is on pain medication and antibiotics, and he should heal up nicely. He will be separated from Maggy while I’m not around, although I do have high hopes that they will get used to each other and possibly even like each other at some point. Maggy isn’t an aggressive dog; she was likely just protecting herself.
Jingles will need to go to a regular veterinarian to get his teeth looked at for a gum issue the veterinarian noticed.
And he gets to wear a stylish collar for the next ten days to three weeks while the bite marks on his arm heal.
As with everything else, he’s taking it in stride, however.
But, what else would you expect from such a cool cat with such an amazing story?