Monday, October 27, 2008

A Racoon Cat

It's a story that comes on a day when the national spotlight is on cats left in the wild. This is the story of a cat who thought he was a raccoon.

His name is Rocky, short for Rocky Raccoon, a name given the name by Patricia Melchi after she saw him hanging out with a family of raccoons at Tacoma's Point Defiance Park.

"I realized the kitten had gotten imprinted and was emulating the raccoons, even begging," Melchi said. "I watched him go into the bushes with the raccoons and play with them."

Some folks thought the raccoons had raised the kitten, but Melchi said he was too tame and most likely a lost or abandoned pet.

She figured the cat wouldn't last long in the wild even if the raccoons stayed with him, so she captured him and brought him home.

"Just a scaredy little cat," Melchi said. "But there's a lot of fox and coyotes down there and this thing would be instant prey, even to the owls."

She wanted to get him checked right away so we arranged for the Tacoma Pierce County Humane Society to open up early for a vet check.

"I'm going to look at his teeth first," the vet said. "He's not feral at all."

Rocky checks out OK. Now to see about getting him neutered.

This is all happening on national 'Feral Cat Cay'. Coming up on Oct. 30 in Tacoma there'll be a free spay and neuter clinic to care of those guys.

The group Coalition Humane hopes to spay and neuter 100 feral and free-roaming cats.

"We're really pleasantly surprised at how many of these ferals have been able to come in and be neutered and spayed," said Marguerite Richmond of the Humane Society.

Rocky will be there. In the meantime, he's home with Patricia to continue getting used to hanging with humans instead of rollicking with raccoons.

"Isn't he a cutie? It's okay, don't get too scared," she said to the cat.

If nobody claims Rocky, Patricia says they've already found a home for him.

The free spay and neuter clinic for feral and free roaming cats is Oct. 30 at Coalition Humane in Tacoma.


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