Cedar is a recent addition to Home for Life's FIV+ cattery. He was named after a supporter’s Shepard dog who was lost in the mountains last year. Our Cedar is the same beautiful burnished copper color. His original name was “Moochie” so this name does him more justice.
Cedar is feral and was TNR’ed (trapped, neutered then released) near a Twin Cities neighborhood by a spay/neuter organization. After his neuter, he was tested by the organization for infectious diseases and found to be FIV+. He was also administered a one time treatment for his eye infection. It didn't work, so his eyes and lids are permanently deformed from a herpes virus infection. Before and after being caught in the TNR project, he visited a family daily who faithfully fed him, but would not take him in to their warm house or even their garage because they had other cats. Still they loved “Moochie/Cedar” and if not for their efforts to make sure he always had food and water, he likely wouldn't have survived long. No rescue group would help Cedar because he was positive for the FIV virus, and because he was feral. The mom of the family who fed him believed he had the potential to make a loving pet; she claimed he would sit in her lap when she would leave him food. But she worried about the approaching winter, and his ability to survive the cold. Releasing Cedar, she feared, was going to result in a drawn out, cruel death for this cat with impaired vision and immune issues. In addition, he presented a risk for infecting other cats he might have come into contact with. Believing his prospects for survival were slim, even with the feeding he was receiving from them, the family asked Home for Life to help him. Cedar came to Home for Life just before the north winds began to blow in the late fall, bringing subzero cold and snow to our region.
Like all our feral cats, who have had to survive by their wits prior to coming to Home for Life, Cedar is smart and learns quickly, his best teachers being the other cats. He quickly made friends with some of our other feral cats of the FIV cattery including Achilles who came to us from Texas, the late Nero who was from from Michigan, and Tommy who came to Home for Life from a South Dakota Indian reservation. Due to the virus, his eye lids are damaged and deformed, but thankfully, his vision is normal, and he can see. At first, he wouldn't come near the canned cat food plates put out each day if staff were in the cattery, but after a few weeks, he would come off his perch on a cat tree to eat with the other cats, and he won’t automatically run away if staff are in the cattery. After a few weeks of gorging on the canned cat food we serve every day, Cedar figured that the food wasn't going to go away, and now has shown a preference for dry food over wet varieties. If we sit in the FIV cattery and hold some of the friendly cats, Cedar watches with curiosity from a safe distance. We believe it won’t be long before he will come around for his own attention and affection. He loves the soft jazz music we play, the warmth of the cattery, his cat friends, and the consistent care he will always be able to count on. Even though Cedar would never make a "pet" in the conventional sense, his prospects were bleak if he had been left outdoors, and he would have probably died a lonely and cold death. Home for Life believes sanctuaries can provide a humane alternative for cats like Cedar who may never be able to be adopted but who, because of physical challenges that compromise them or other cats, are unable to safely live outside, independently. Cedar will never make a warm and cuddly pet, but the concept of animal welfare should be expansive enough to include providing a peaceful life for cats and dogs like him where he can receive good care, live in safety, and enjoy the companionship of friends of his own kind.