Earl Gray is a gray tabby we call a gentle giant. Earl loves sunbaths, and he walks with a confident stroll.
Earl started out acting semi-feral. He didn’t seem entirely feral, but he wasn’t willing to be petted or touched. Earl didn’t attack, just hissed or moved away. We pondered. Could he be an outside kitty that has a home? Maybe. He strolled down the curb toward another house sometimes. Still, there is no microchip or other indication, like a collar or mark from a collar that came off.
Earl’s slow stroll seems a bit out of character for the young age the vet estimated when he had TNR surgery, but we don’t see any physical problems. The vet didn’t report any noticeable health problems either. Maybe, he’s just a very zen fellow. That’s part of why we thought Earl Gray (you know, after the British tea) fit him.
We decided, in the beginning, to let him keep his freedom and provide resources. Earl had food, water, a well-insulated shelter, and a safe place to nap and watch squirrels. Then, the weather changed drastically. One day, we took a chance and invited him inside. Earl accepted.
In spite of our concern about introductions to the other cats, we knew he got along peacefully with virtually every cat we’d seen him around outside. He settled down nicely after being neutered, but we have several very old males inside and in the catio. So, we were prepared to move cautiously with any attempts to integrate him into the other populations. It never became an issue. Earl made himself at home, and that was that. We even checked for lost cat posters to be sure he wasn’t missed elsewhere. Nope.
This kind of introduction of a huge former tomcat to other kitties is not recommended. It comes under “don’t try this at home”. Earl is very large and strong. We have over 30 years of experience, the proper equipment to intervene without harm to the cats, and experience reading cat behavior. The groundwork was laid over several months of him being nearby, rubbing on ankles, so the smells were shared back and forth, and the cats were viewing each other through a glass door–not because we planned this sudden move indoors, but because he was hanging out here. It all worked in our favor when we had to decide.
So, that’s his story for now. He had a deformed toe that may be from birth or an old injury, but it doesn’t seem to bother him. Earl needs a comprehensive physical and bloodwork. However, we don’t want to move too fast. There’s no sign waiting a month or two will be a problem. He’s adjusting to more handling and getting acquainted with vet checkups gradually. We love the big fellow, and he’s welcome here.