Gary Tuna: Outdoor Kitten
Known aliases: Belly, Kitten-Kitten, Mister, Monster, Mr. Kitten, Notter, Tuna, Tunakitten
This is my cat, Tuna. And this is our story so far.
I know that everyone feels strongly about their pets, but you know what? I love reading rescue stories (Natalie’s comes to mind as a particular favourite), so I’m sharing ours, too.
I met Tuna a year ago on January 2nd, 2016, on my way to look after our neighbour’s cats. I made the fatal mistake of feeding him (little known fact: cats are actually gremlins), and that was that.
He’s been a constant in my life since then. On January 1st, I was milling about listlessly without a pet; on the 2nd, I had a cat that waited in the garage all day for me to come home and cried whenever he was alone. So that month, I did the only thing I could do, and my partner and I took him to the pound to adopt him.
I have no idea what happened to Tunakitten’s original family, but they left him out in Edmonton’s -30 degree cold to fend for himself. We found him neutered but not chipped, and so poorly socialized that the pound labelled him as unfit for adoption. The only reason we were able to take him home was that we were the ones who brought him in.
Tuna is turning 3(ish) this year. He’s such a good cat in some ways: he doesn’t break stuff or pee on things, and he’s so good about using his scratchers. He loves hiding under the bed and sitting right behind my chair so he can gently paw at me when he gets bored, and he’s chatty and adorable at all times.
But he’s a tough cat to care for in other ways, too. He gets frustrated easily, and he’s full of odd fears.
For instance: he gets anxiety about sitting people. If you’re sitting and you’re not paying attention to him, he’ll comfort-purr and then bite. He’s claustrophobic, afraid of tapioca pearls (no one knows why), and super not-a-fan of the wind. He hates the wind.
He’s wary of black socks but not white ones, will eat anything that stays still for long enough, and loves carbs so unbeliiiiievably much that he will steal them off of your utensil. Imagine eating breakfast and having a stealth ninja steal a Mini Wheat out of your bowl and flee with it.
Unlike most cats, he’s surprisingly cool with the vacuum and refuses to sit in boxes unless he can fit completely upright in them. He’s a fast learner – so far, he knows how to sit, wait, and pretend to be a butternut squash. He’s learning the commands for “bed,” “floor,” and “paw.” He’s great with the litter box but refuses to cover his poop, and if we’re out of the house, he’ll wait for us to get home before he can go.
I don’t know. I think it’s a comfort thing.
He loves spinach, tomatoes, chicken, and anything containing dairy, and (hilariously) his favourite fish is tuna. I’m pretty sure that he’s convinced the toaster is actually a carb dispenser made just for him.
When I started taking Tuna outside, I learned two things: one, he’s terrified of elevators, and two, he trusts us.
It took a long, long time, and our relationship still isn’t perfect. We have to spend a lot of time together in order to keep his aggression down, and it’s a struggle every day. But, at the end of it all… He got the constant food source that he so desperately wanted, and I got a little terror who trusts me so much that he runs to me when he’s scared.
I think we both did pretty okay.