Baxter’s Tale for World Cat Day

August 8, 2014 • 1:54 pm

I was pondering choosing a reader’s cat to highlight World Cat Day, and, by pure luck, reader Leo Glenn sent me a lovely note and picture about Baxter, his rescue cat. So let Baxter stand for all the moggies of the world who are saved by human kindness and given forever homes. Here’s Baxter’s Tale as related by one of his staff:

I enjoy your posts immensely and thought, in honor of World Cat Day, I would submit this photo of my son with our cat Baxter. Baxter showed up one winter night several years ago at our back door, nearly dead, in a critical state of malnutrition, with most of the fur missing from his neck, and his skin badly inflamed. A neighbor told us later that he had discovered the cat lying motionless in a ditch at the side of the road, with a glass jar stuck on his head. Thinking the cat was dead, he removed the jar, whereupon the cat revived and ran away.

We began feeding him, although it took several months for him to trust us enough to let us catch him and take him to our vet. Sadly, the vet informed us that he had FIV and recommended putting him down to prevent him spreading it. Of course he had won our hearts by then, so we nursed him back to health and gradually gained his trust enough for us to bring him inside. I’ve cherished the companionship of many animals over the years (including wild animals–I had a pet crow and a pet deer), but Baxter truly stands out as one of the most remarkable I have ever known. Once he made the commitment to trust us, his trust was utter and complete. My six-year-old daughter can carry him around the house like a rag doll, and he just purrs. We call him the Big, Squishy Bag of Cat because all of his bones seem to disappear when you pick him up. When our 13-year-old dog was in his final hours, Baxter curled up next to him and kept him company right up to the end (they were buddies from the start). His trust only extends to us, however. He is still wary around strangers, and we have to be with him at all times when he is at the vet’s. He has enriched our lives beyond description.


15 thoughts on “Baxter’s Tale for World Cat Day

  1. I don’t have a cat presently, so didn’t want to post earlier. I’m glad you put a spotlight on this cat’s story though. Thanks for the (to quote Michelle Beissel above) “beautiful cat, child, and chronicle.”
    I do hope the cat accidentally got its’ head stuck in the jar and it wasn’t a cruel way to kill it. Since it’s such an uplifting story, I’ll stick to believing it was an accident.

    1. Yeah. O, golly. O, my my … … my, my, my: upon reading thus, now silently … … weeping. ( Sorry: quite the sop I crumble into over such a prose. )

      What a darling rescue saga: rescuing yon kitteh and / or its rescuing you and your kiddos, your family !


      1. ” … … around the house like a rag doll ” – like countenance of some kitties ? !

        Two granddaughters have three of those Felidae on their Taproot Farm; they call them their ” limp cats, ” cuz they are so, so calmly and pliably flexible that when scooped up by a child, they immediately morph on that child’s forearm ( as there they ‘ride’ along with that kiddo’s particular trek – in – the – woods ) into one of those lovely, colorful towelettes draped over the forearm of your favorite restaurant’s tuxedoed waiter !


  2. “the vet informed us that he had FIV and recommended putting him down to prevent him spreading it”

    Ugh, time for a new vet!

    Baxter is beautiful. I’ve met a lot of those huge, cuddly FIV boys – former strays and street fighters – and seen them find happy homes. They have all been very loving and they never forget being rescued.

    What a great kitty. Polite, too. My big black rescued stray, Impy the Bad Kitty, would shred that cushion.

    1. In fairness to the vet, I don’t think she realized at the time that we had already adopted him. She may have thought we were just going to “treat and release.” Plus she was not the vet we usually saw at our local clinic.

  3. Thanks so much to Dr. Coyne for sharing Baxter’s story, and to everyone for your kind comments. Baxter sends his regards. He is reacting to his celebrity status in typical fashion, by being totally and utterly relaxed.

    1. Thank YOU for creating this great story :-).

      The trust thing is uncannily familiar to my (our) last cat. We took her from a shelter where she’d ended up being unloved and abused by a small child and a d*g. She therefore distrusted all adults, children, and d*gs.

      However after she decided she could trust us (my parents and myself) she trusted us completely, and I dragged her around the house by her front paws, walked her like a wheelbarrow by holding her hind legs, and sat her on my head, all to no more reaction than vague bemusement and kind purring.

      But she never trusted any stranger.

  4. Check today’s Telegraph for pi t ures and stories of notable British cags. Right at the bottom of the site.

  5. What a stirring and beautifully told story! Baxter looks like such a sweetie. 🙂

    “We call him the Big, Squishy Bag of Cat because all of his bones seem to disappear when you pick him up.”

    How funny–we call Winston (our large gray tiger kitteh) “a bag of skin with a cat in it,” for somewhat similar reasons. 😀

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