Fergus’ Story

Fergus Story

Fergus (aka Leo, Animal Heartline Humane Association, Geneva, IL)

I don’t know what came over me. At the time I had my beautiful companions, Freddie, Felix and Miss Fia, so bringing in another cat didn’t seem like a rational idea, but then again, finding a $2.00 cat bowl at the flea market and deciding I should find another cat to make use of the bowl wasn’t real sound either. But there I was, back on Petfinders, determined to bring home a friend for Felix. Yes, I brought Fia home to be friends with Felix, but as it turned out, Fia only cared about food, so playing was not a option unless Felix could have opened the refrigerator door for her!

Here is the description I read on Petfinders: This handsome guy is brand new to our program and in a very short time we have discovered that he is an AWESOME cat! He’s gentle, sweet, loving, super cuddly (loves belly rubs and spends much time rolling on his back), VERY mellow; and sometimes a bit shy (but only when he first meets you). He’s an all around great feline friend who would do well in most indoor/family situations. When he came to us, he was severely matted on his back, so on top of being kinda chubby (22 lbs.), he has a bald spot as well! But his fur will grow back and we have started him on a gentle weight loss program, so in short order, he will shine brightly. Leo is 5 years old and just a basically great guy ~ 100% reliably litter box trained, neutered, declawed and up to date on all of his vaccines. What more could you ask for? He also is being fostered with a big, bossy female dog and they get along great. We also believe he might be good with other cats.

I drove out to the foster mom’s home and saw this beautiful plump kitty lying in bed, sunning himself. Oh what a great addition he would make to the “F-Troop”. So I took him home and named this new HUGE cat Fergus, which is Irish for strong man. At one point he tipped the scale at around 28 pounds and getting him to exercise was futile, as his only exercise was getting off the floor to waddle to his food bowl.

As I’ve said before, once you have one pet, finding others isn’t as easy because they all have to get along. But there he was, this the big beautiful kitty who loved everyone. What I didn’t consider, however was  that not everyone would love him. Hmm. Fortunately, the dogs were welcoming, but Felix, the guy who seemed to be in need of a buddy, HATED this new cat! Uh, oh~

Oh how I strived to make this work, and because giving up was not an option, I just divided the house in half with a baby gate, giving Felix one territory and Fergus the other. Whenever the fighting felines would come to the border that divided their respective spaces, I’d run to the area to feed treats. Ah, yes the Pavlovian conditioned response: “See my enemy and treats appear!” The problem with my brilliant plan was that the dogs were under the “spell” and they too became conditioned. This produced total mayhem at the baby gate. Freddie crashing into the gate, Fia jumping like a little bean, while Felix and Fergus scattered like the little scaredy-cats they were!

What finally worked, other than space and time, was the heated stone floor in the master bath room! Yes, cats love the heat and one day Felix, decided to jump the border to gain access to Fergus’ territory (and food) which happened to be in the master bathroom. I’m guessing that once his paws hit the warm floor, he struck a deal with Fergus. Not sure what Fergus got in the offer, but I do know that these two are now inseparable as they often cuddle together in the large dog bed on the heated floor.

Phew, one major problem resolved, but poor Fergus was not without health issues, and let’s just say I suspect that the teary-eyed person who relinquished him to the shelter because her boyfriend was “allergic”, was well aware of his history of stones and urinary issues. She actually had the nerve to cover her tracks by taking this big cat to a new veterinarian for his vaccinations, thereby creating a new “clean health history” for the rescue group!

Poor Fergus, after many bouts of urethra blockage, followed by antibiotics and a special diet ended up having surgery a few years ago. I have felt very connected to this big boy since the day I first met him, but we created a special bond while he was in the hospital. I’ll never forget the night I came to visit him after his surgery. The technician led me into the room and I could hear a dog growling. I mentioned that the dog sounded ferocious. She turned to me and said, “That’s not a dog, that’s your cat!” Poor Fergus was miserable and the conditioned sight of the veterinary staff who had previously poked and examined him, made him very vocal when they approached. He refused to eat, which you can imagine was alarming for me to hear. I visited him twice a day to feed and hold him and finally I brought him home to convalesce for another 10 days, but the good news is that after 3 years, he continues to be in good health; he’s off the dry food and eats a nutritious diet of canned food. Best of all he’s slimmed down to 20 pounds and he has discovered that he can RUN! Oh to see this former fat cat run is quiet a sight.

You can see more pics of Fergus on the Fido Fun page and  read other stories eventually, on the blog: Life in The F-Lane.