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David Rumer

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T.J.'s Dilemma
by David Rumer   

Last edited: Wednesday, July 23, 2003
Posted: Wednesday, July 23, 2003

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The cat brings home a problem he can't solve. Article appeared originally in CATS magazine 02/93

 T.J.'s Dilemma
            David Rumer

     After the demise of Tom, our big black tomcat, we thought it best not to try to keep another.  However, as my son was leaving the house one bitter cold night he almost stepped on a tiny, shivering black ball of fur.  Upon bringing the nearly frozen little creature into the house, the die was cast.  The children would not part with the little male kitten and immediately named him T.J. (for Tom Jr.).  
     After a few tons of cat food and all the family love he could stand, he grew into a magnificent 16 pound black monochrome.  His manners indoors were impeccable; outdoors he was a terror. On one occasion, he chased a large dog off 'his' lawn.  Inscrutability could not hide a high level of feline intelligence, as we discovered when he found that shaking the storm door with his paw gained immediate assistance to enter.  We thought it unlikely he realized the inside lights reflecting off the door glass signaled his presence. (In any case, this trick was to serve in good stead.)
     One evening the light reflection seemed to dance with such  urgency that I hastily answered his bidding.  The door was barely open when he forced his way in.  This was not his usual regal entry, and what followed was not the "cool cat" T.J. usually personified.  He began to run frantically about the living room and, breaking the cardinal rule, jumped on the furni-
ture. First on the easy chair and then on the couch...up and across the down on the floor and into, of all places, the coat closet where he found the door ajar.  By now, I was sure something was amiss and even had a sinking feeling that he might be rabid. 
     I peered cautiously into the closet and discovered him up on the hat shelf. He didn't display any signs of madness other than his frenetic dashing about so I decided to retrieve him.  As soon as I held him he calmed noticeably and his problem was immediately apparent.  His legs wre soaked to the "elbow" joint with fuel oil!  The solution to his problem was evident. 
     We partlly filled a basin with warm water, and T.J. resignedly stood in it as each of his feet was washed with bath soap, rinsed under a warm faucet and toweled dry.  Our veterinarian told us later, had we left T.J. to his own devices, he would have eventually licked the fuel oil off and fatally ingested it.
     As he lay on the floor, exhausted and asleep, I pondered T.J.'s dilemma.  His instinct or good sense had told him he could not tolerate the foul substance on his feet, nor could he remove it the way nature intended.
     I found myself wondering.  Was it that peculiar bond existng between certain domestic animal species and their human masters that motivated T.J. that night?  Or, had something be-yond that compelled him to seek out and place his faith and trust in a higher being?  Perhaps the message there is more profound than we recognize. 

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Reviewed by Jackie Brooks 7/28/2003
We had a similar experience with a persian cat called Caruso (for his singing ability!), he came home covered in creosote, a neighbour had discarded it after painting a fence with it and Caruso fell into the pool. He also came straight to us and we gave him a bath using Johnsons baby shampoo, then we took him to the vet. The vet told us more or less the same thing you were told, plus he was highly relieved we had not used dishwashing liquid on Caruso, it totally removes the natural oils in the cats fur and skin, causing further problems. I have an article on this website about Caruso that was published in Cats magazine also, unfortunately he is no longer with us. But we have four others now, plus next doors cat!! Jackie <> <
Reviewed by Darlene Caban 7/23/2003
He trusted you as his surrogate 'mama cat'-- he came to you knowing you would be able to make him feel better. I'm glad he had enough sense not to lick the oil off of himself... many cats aren't that smart.
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