Mr. Jingles… he’s a fine cat. He decided this past summer that he was going to adopt us as a family. I’m pretty sure the decision was made when my daughter insisted we feed him late one night. I knew better, what parent doesn’t? He was a stray, and a scruffy looking one at that. I thought he was younger than he was because he was so skinny. The truth is, I wanted to feed him, but having strong allergies to cats discouraged me. I tried not to fall prey to his wily cat ways! You know, the purring and meowing thing that melts your heart. But I couldn’t turn a blind eye to that skinny little body.
So we fed him dog food. He ate like he hadn’t eaten in weeks. This is the part where I should mention our Great Dane was going crazy on the inside of the door trying to say hello. Well, I thought, with any luck the cat will be on his way and the dog can relax again.
I went to bed that night and woke to meowing below my window; it went on all night long. In the morning, the cat was at the back door waiting for more food. I put out some water and dog food and waited till he was done. Then I let my dog out, thinking the cat would run off once he caught sight of it. The Great Dane ran right up to it and leaped in the air, “play with me – play with me”. The cat was unfazed; he sat licking his paws and stared at the dog, bored.
We ended up taking the cat to the vet for possible chip identification (no chip) and gave him shots and the official name ‘Mr. Jingles’. We tried to find a home for him, and almost did at our friends’ farm, until my kids heard them ask us to sign a coyote clause; that ended that. So long story short, we now have a cat, an outdoor cat that lives in our garage. We put in a cat door for him, built a special table for him to feed on, up off the floor. He has an emergency litter box and a scratching post which he uses all the time. We then bought him a heated teepee house that he can sleep in all winter long (I found it online). He has access to water and dry food at all times.
Mr. Jingles was an unexpected pet that we ended up keeping at his own insistence. Being a responsible pet owner means caring for pets as best as you can and keeping them safe and fed even if they are out in the elements. Make sure your pets are cared for this winter. Ask your veterinarian for advice on what you can do this winter to help your outdoor animals make it through the cold months. Caring for your pets will be rewarding for you and make a big difference in their survival, just ask Mr. Jingles!