Shining A Light On Theo

Disciples of The Leader Otis,

Brother Henry here. A few days ago, Brother Oliver introduced you to Bessie, a new Limbo kitty that recently appeared in our neighborhood. Well, I’m sad to say that we also have a new Shadow kitty in our midst. Shadow cats are feral, stray or abandoned kitties. These cats have either been separated from, or abandoned by, their human guardians, or they never had them to begin with. Both Leader Otis and Thomas were Shadow cats right before they were swept up in The Capture by the Guardians.

The Shadow cat that has appeared in our neighborhood is an orange tabby that the Guardians have named Theo. He has been showing up daily to accept food that the Guardians leave out for him.

Theo face

Theo has been eating the food that the Guardians leave out for him.

There are several reasons the Guardians believe Theo to be a Shadow cat rather than a Limbo kitty. First of all, he is terrified of his own shadow right now. This is probably because he is starving and in complete survival mode. One look at his midsection tells me that he hasn’t been having regular meals in recent days.

Theo flank

Theo is so skinny. The poor kitty has not been eating regular meals in a while.

Another thing that leads the Guardians to believe that Theo is a Shadow cat is that he still has… well… he has… ummmm… just take a look at this photo of him scratching and you should be able to see them for yourself.

Theo scratching

Do you see them? No? Ummm… look at the base of his tail.

While it’s unfortunately true that some guardians still don’t neuter their cats, it’s also been the Guardians of Otis’s experience that balls and abandonment often seem to go together. Maybe it is an indication of the overall lack of care given to the cat or something. I’m not sure.

The one good thing I have noticed is that as the Guardians take care of Theo’s basic need for food, he seems to be letting his guard down a little bit. He has started to make eye contact with them rather than immediately running away, and I even looked out the window and saw him rolling around in some catnip after a meal.

Theo rolling

As Theo’s hunger is getting under control, he’s started to show signs of playfulness.

I remember the Guardians going through this same kind of process with Leader Otis and countless other Shadow cats. It took more than 5 months to convince Leader Otis that he really should trust them. I hope it takes much less time with Theo. For now though, Theo continues to live in the shadows. From what I can tell, he sleeps in a hole underneath the house next door. I wonder if the neighbors even know he is down there.

Theo going into shadows

Theo literally lives in the shadows… in a hole under the house next door.

Shadow cats like Theo are everywhere, but they often go completely unnoticed. I think I might know at least part of the reason why. In all of my research to counter the threat of the Long-feared Dog Uprising, I have learned something interesting. Apparently most cities have laws against allowing dogs to roam free and unsupervised. So when a dog shows up in someone’s backyard, it is immediately assumed that the dog is lost and in need of help. Obviously though, we cats are treated differently.

For some reason many humans find it acceptable for cats to be less protected than their canine counterparts. So when these people become kitty guardians, they simply open the door and let the kitties wander. Cats like Theo, that are truly in need of help, end up just blending in with the overwhelming number of indoor/outdoor kitties out there. Most people who see kitties like him will just assume he’s a neighbor’s cat, and then go on with their day.

So if you need another reason to keep your cats safely confined, consider kitties like Theo. If all kitties with guardians were safely confined, then we could easily identify those kitties who have been lost, abandoned, or are otherwise living in the shadows. Once identified, we could work together to bring those kitties to the light.

So Says Brother Henry (with some input and encouragement from Leader Otis),

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35 responses to “Shining A Light On Theo

  1. 2 cats

    Theo is rather handsome and I am sure he would be adopted from a rescue shelter if given the chance

  2. mistletoeandhitch

    Our HuMom has a theory on why cats are treated different from dogs in reference to wandering alone. Because we were an agriculture based society for so long, our treatment of our dogs and cats stem from that. This isn’t based on any study and is just gleaned of HuMom’s time on family farms. Dogs, when left to run loose, often were accused of hunting. When a farmer ended shooting a stray dog for crimes against livestock the owner of that dog might be very upset, but if the dog was on another farmer’s property, and livestock had been harmed, it was pretty much a closed case. So it became common to not allow your dog to roam. Cats, on the other hand, had very different jobs. They were counted on to keep the feed vermin free. If the HuMom remembers correctly, feed that has been contaminated by mouse droppings can make horses very sick. That may apply to other livestock animals as well. Anyway, cats were allowed to roam anywhere they wanted as long as the vermin were kept under control. Since most domesticated cats don’t go after larger livestock they weren’t seen as a threat, and allowed to wander as they pleased. Again, these are explanations given to a young HuMom many years ago, when her immediate family had to leave their beloved Buckwheat at the Grampa’s farm, because after 6 months Buckwheat was still very, very unhappy about staying indoors, and the city was too risky for an outdoor cat.

    We don’t, most of us, live on farms anymore. The city and suburbs are too dangerous for cats to roam on their own. We thank the Cult of Otis for all the work they do to educate those humans that share their lives with cats. We only hope the message gets through and all kitties find themselves cared for and loved.

    We are sending Leader Otis all our positive purrs and prayers
    Mistletoe & Hitch

    • That’s a good theory, M and H. Leader Otis touched on this a bit in his post titled “It’s In Our Nature” Unfortunately, even on farms kitties aren’t safe outside though because there are wildlings bigger than they are that will eat both them and the mice.

      Thanks so much for the purrs and prayers. I know The Leader appreciates them!

      – Brother Henry

    • Yow Dorothy, Misteltoe N beloved Hitch phankz fer sharin dat threory which me finkz iz DA TRUTH!!! me iz so glad to be a pampurred Indoor kitteh!!! πŸ˜‰ Nylablue xo

  3. Chris

    The way cats are treated differently breaks my heart but it’s good to know there are those of us who watch out for them and help where we can.

  4. Theo is so handsome – but looks like he’s never had a home. When I saw his nose, knew he was still, uh interested in looking for cat love. While loose cats do keep the rodent population down – and help slow plague – but Theo isn’t in a rural setting (lucky for him – many cat’s can’t feed themselves any more). And cats need guardians to look after their health and keep them safe in order to live long lives: indoors!
    Purring for Theo – even RC is!

  5. Joy

    Before we moved, when we had a cat, (I’m sad to say) we let him roam for a few minutes outside every morning before he came back in, and sometimes let him out. I think the reason people let their cats roam free is because they assume cats are sneaky enough to make outside, as opposed to dogs (who can be big and clumsy). I hope Theo will start to trust the Guardians more and more each day J

  6. Thank you Guardians for all your amazing work! You make the world a much, much better place for all kitties. You are amazing, truly. πŸ™‚

  7. we are glad he is getting some food from the guardians and hope he can get some “other” help as well. we hope he can learn to trust. we have our own shadow cat we care for….

  8. Wildcat

    Thank you so much for looking after abandoned cats like Theo and Bessie. Thank goodness they have a safe refuge in your backyard. I wish there were more guardians like you to look out for the strays. Every cat spayed/neutered saves many more lives from being abandoned .

    • Thanks Wildcat. And hopefully the Guardians will be able to move Theo out of the backyard and into a suitable home after they earn his trust (and neuter him). πŸ™‚ – Brother Henry

  9. Perhaps one reason no one wants dogs on the loose is that they are more likely to bite and jump on humans than cats are. Loose kitties normally won’t do more than just rub up against you. Hope your Guardians are able to help Theo accept humans.

    • Hmmmm… maybe, MCMF. I will say though that the Guardians have been scratched and bitten by many a free-roaming kitty that first rubbed against them like a friend. Limbo kitties can be pretty unpredictable from being stressed by constant danger. – Brother Henry

  10. We’re so glad that your Guardians are making sure Theo is being taken care of and has food to eat. We hope Theo learns to trust them more.

    • Thanks Island Cats. I hope so too. If I know the Guardians, they’ll keep trying until he’s finally convinced. Then they’ll find him a nice, safe place to live. πŸ™‚
      – Brother Henry

  11. I hope Theo can learn to trust the guardians. Then maybe he could learn to trust a people of his own.

    • That’s what the Guardians are hoping too, Teddy. They hope to bring him to the light and find him a forever home. It’s going to take time though to earn that trust.
      – Brother Henry

  12. Poor Theo! He looks quite the stately mouser, almost like a lion. The term “shadow cat” makes me think of black cats, and one in particular that I only met once or twice. The story goes as follows:
    There used to be a sweet, friendly black limbo kitty who lived at the house in back of my grandma’s. “Blackie”, as her guardians called her, frequently came to me for chin scratches and head rubs. One day, Blackie showed up accompanied by another pure black cat, who was a little larger than her and completely feral. I assume he was her mate. Neither of them came close enough for me to touch them on that day, but the mate did come close enough to sniff me and stare at me. I was only 9 years old at the time and didn’t know what to make of this gesture. Now I look back and see it as a remarkable act of trust on Blackie’s part. There’s no doubt in my mind that cats can convince each other that humans aren’t all bad. I like to think Oreo is a descendant of Blackie and that other black cat, and she is as sweet and tame as any cat could be.

    • There is definitely more to us kitties than meets the eye, Pezcita. We can convince each other of a lot of things. Now, if only I could convince Brother Oliver to lay off the snacks. -Brother Henry

      • Try pouncing on him in mid-nibble. That should get him to think twice about lingering to long at the kibble-dish without watching his back πŸ™‚

  13. Brother Henry the guardians are right..i believe that we owe our feline friends to keep them safe..poor Theo yes skinny and flea riddled most likely and with his *ahem* balls! you see the problem here is men think it is unfair to neuter..well it’s sadder to me the outcome,feline aids also spreading with these cats.He probably needs worming too..good luck to the guardians and keep assisting them while your leader is in a hiatus Brother Henry πŸ™‚

  14. Do I see a new brother in the making?

  15. Shadow has a fine pair LOL Well done for making sure he had some food. Some humans need a good telling off how they treat animals 😦 xx

  16. Poor Shadow Kiteeh THEO!!! He lloz so thin…..too thin…me n Mum are so glad yer Hu’manz are takin care of him n hoppen Theo may become used to dem n maybee become part of da family purrhapz??
    He shure haz all hiz partz n me n Mum fink hiz Hu’manz did not want to have him fixed cause it costz money so Theo waz thrown out…me hatez dat we kittehz are seen as disspose-able!!!! HHRRMMPPHH!!!
    Puttin out sum catnippy iz a PAWSUM idea πŸ™‚
    Lub Nylablue n SherriEllen xo
    Pee Ess: Me Mum fed ‘Shadow kittehz’ all last Winter…dey haz moved on but we iz glad we got to help dem along da way πŸ˜‰

  17. Pingback: Theo’s Journey Continues | The Blog of Otis

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