Today, I decided is Piero Day.
Piero was among the first cats I welcomed to my new foster home outside Seattle.
I got a call from a friend who used to come and give the cats quality play-time. Someone she knew was concerned about a local indoor-outdoor cat that was being abused by bratty kids in the street.
We handled a lot of “rescues” over the years, and some of the stories have blended together, so I am not sure of the precise details concerning this cat.
However someone took him in to get him away from his abusers and then discovered that he was a bit “antsy”!
Could we take him?
Well sure. I really didn’t need another cat at that point. Particularly one that was prickly, but what’s one more?
The lady who delivered him dumped him in my lap and it was a little like taking charge of a cactus.
All teeth and claws. But who could blame him?
He was BEAUTIFUL!
He didn’t have a name that anyone knew and because of his colouring I called him Piero.
He became one of our great characters.
Grant was a contractor and could build all sorts of stuff, so my foster-suites had all sorts of ramps and “cubbies”. I decided it would be neat to connect the two big rooms with a tunnel that could be opened or closed, depending on how many cats were in residence and whether or not they all got along!
So Grant found a big piece of piping….
That is “M” wondering if Gus will let him pass!
When the tunnel project was done, we had a piece of the piping left over. It measured almost 4 feet. We put it in a corner outside the cat rooms, standing on end.
While we were in the “Suites” cleaning or getting food, the cats were allowed to roam around in the remaining basement area where they loved poking around all the large accumulation of “stuff”.
Piero was a particular fan of this extra freedom, given that he had been an indoor-outdoor cat, and he was into everything. It took him no time to locate the long piece of piping and as we watched, he launched himself into the air, dropping neatly inside.
We laughed and waited for a plaintive cry for help. Instead, we were amazed to see Piero re-emerge, like a jack-in-the-box, as if it was the easiest manoeuvre! Apparently he had springs in his feet. It became his favourite trick. Ours too. None of the other cats ever attempted it.
The prickly Mr. Piero was not the easiest cat at first because he had been badly treated and he was basically done with people. But he was mostly alright with the other cats, bar a little chasing about periodically, but there was never a real fight. So we just let him do his thing and we didn’t pressure him to befriend us.
After about 6 months we began to see a real difference in this little cat. He no longer stuck out his claws every time we approached and he had stopped biting early on.
Eventually he started seeking Grant out. They had a routine where Piero would follow Grant into the garage and jump up onto one of the garbage cans where Grant was then expected to make a fuss of him and groom him.
He turned out to be a really neat cat, although when we thought of re-homing him we specified there could be no children and we suggested that he should be an only cat.
Piero needed a person who would give him space and the time he would need to settle down again. I would love to have kept Piero, but then I could easily say the same about all the others. It’s just that some cats, like Piero need a bit more understanding, and when they have been abused it is really hard to see them go because you just want to protect them.
Our funny little character was with us for just about a year when I got an email from a veteran. He had been injured by an IED in Iraq and again in Afghanistan which forced him to retire, so he was himself dealing with a lot. Maybe that is why he was willing to give Piero a new home and a new start.
So Piero went off with his new person and became Phantom and they really seemed to hit it off.
We missed Piero a whole lot, but we could only wish them both all the luck in the world.
They surely deserved it.