On Friday, August 31 I had a straightforward talk with Manfred to share my concern
with him that Ben really misses a friend and companion. I also told him that Ben prays for a dog. Sunday night we arrived in Quesnel, Canada to visit
Barkerville (an old, historically significant mining town) the next day.
Monday morning (Labor Day) as we get ready to leave for Barkerville, a cat is joining us outside at our table. Ben is understandably beside himself, he asked us to please not leave right now but wait after he is done playing with the cat. The
cat seems to be friendly and tame enough. Ben gets out his chair to sit in but
before he even has a chance to sit down, the cat gets all-comfy in the chair.
It is a beautiful grey/blue tomcat and I can tell by the smell of him that he
is not neutered. After about half an hour we coaxe Benjy to leave with us to go
to Barkerville and see a really exciting mining town. He is less than happy to
leave and makes us promise to stay another extra day (we planned to leave on
Tuesday for Vancouver) so he can spend time with the nice cat. We give in and
promise we will stay another day if the cat is still around later in the
afternoon. During the day Benjy keeps asking if we think the cat will still be
there…On the way back from the fun and interesting day in Barkerville we see a black bear and a moose….but Benjy keeps asking for “his cat”.
The moment we pull into our campsite, the cat comes running to us….and Benjy is in heaven. We feed the cat a Wiener sausage that he gobbles up and Benjy starts
wondering if he has no home. I keep promising he probably belongs to the
campground and is used to many campers passing through and is just friendly. So
we have to stay an extra day and I promise to inquire with the campground host
the next morning, where the cat belongs.
The next morning (Tuesday) the cat is still at our place and I walk over to the
office to talk to the host. And sure enough, he confides the cat is a stray and
had been hanging out for several months now.  When he showed up he was all-bones but the anglers feed him fish so he seems to be doing ok for now. The host has a cat and two dogs and will not consider taking the stray cat in and so far no camper has taken him. Mid-October they close the campground because winter in Canada comes early and then the cat might fall prey to cougars or just starve or freeze to death. More information than I actually wanted to have…
I take the news home and do NOT tell Benjy because I know what would happen. I
talk to Manfred and tell him; and HE (!!!!) of all people suggests we could
take him if we are all clear on a plan B if it does not work!!!!!!!! All of you
who know Manfred well will know that this is the first miracle. A cat in an
RV??? A cat that drives for hours in a car??? A cat in such a small space where
we even do not know where to put OUR stuff??? A cat to be kept inside all the
time because we change locations every 3 to 4 days??? I think: NO WAY!
In the meantime Benjy talks to some neighbors and learns about the cat…they
obviously talked to the camp host as well….he comes inside to tell us the news
and immediately says we have to rescue the cat and keep it. So Manfred suggests
we sit down and talk this through….miracle! Benjy seems to be speechless
because he did NOT expect his Dad to seriously consider it. There are so many
unknown factors: First, the tomcat is NOT neutered! That is a no go! He seems
to be tame enough but has he ever lived with humans? Does he know how to use a
litter box? If not, how do you train him? What if he hates driving in a car
(like 99% of all cats)? What if we cannot keep him confined to the RV and he
constantly tries to escape? We open the RV door approximately 50-100 times a
day (no kidding)! What STRESS to try to keep him inside! We have seen others
traveling with cats, but mostly in motor homes which is a different story
because the cat is always in the same place, driving or not! Who can answer all
our questions? There are no travelers with cats in the campground.
First, we give the cat a test drive, pack him in the car (without crate, just a leash
that I got at Wal-Mart) and drive to the Canadian animal shelter to ask some
questions. He behaves well enough…he does not love it but he is not going
berserk either. At the shelter they look at him, confirm he is not neutered,
has ear mites and needs vaccination if we want to take him into the US. He is
probably young and might be part Russian Blue. They call a vet for us and we
make an appointment for him the next morning (Wednesday).
Poor boy, here we consider to, excuse me, “cut his balls off”, have his ears cleaned, a shot given and confine him to a small space! We want to try to keep him inside that night (vet said no food or water after 8 PM the night before surgery) and see how he might behave being confined at night! He walks all over the place at daytime and snuggles up wherever the likes it. So far he has not run off, even after giving him a “test drive”! We feed him yummy cat food at about 7:30 PM and off he
goes! The moment the door opens he escapes and is not to be seen anymore! Benjy is devastated and we all go to bed without seeing or hearing him anymore! But the next morning he is back! (Clueless as he is about what is in for him today!)
We re-consider but then decide to follow through! Off we are to the vet! We still
can let him go after surgery and recovery!
While he is at the vet, Benjy and I are buying a crate and litter box. We pick him up in the afternoon and after he wakes up from anesthesia he really goes berserk!!! We cannot keep him in the crate; he tries to jump through windows and just wants to run!!! First Benjy starts crying, seeing that we cannot do this to him, feels all guilty and bad and is really, really desperate and devastated! I see the same thing and start feeling really bad for the cat and especially for my son who is in much distress! So I start crying as well! What a desperate sob party, I can tell you!
So Benjy and I are already grieving but decided to let him go and in comes Manfred and says “no way”, we said A now we have to say B and follow through! We will give it a try as discussed and can change the plans later if needed! That is so Manfred!!!
But did he really just make a case keeping a stray cat??? In an RV, or exactly in a
5th-wheel and therefore also in the truck when we travel? Did I hear this correctly??? Ben and I are willing to give the cat up (well under tears) and
he says “no way” ???
That is a miracle!
Also, while the cat that Benjy named “TOMMY” was at the vet, a new camper pulled up in the spot beside us, in a 5th-wheel with a truck pulling the RV. They get a crate out of the truck and in it is …… A CAT !!!
Miracle over miracle! Exactly what we needed: people who travel in a 5th wheel with a cat! And again Manfred is the one who talks to the people a long, long time about Tommy, traveling with a cat, how to train him etc. Those people have had cats they traveled with all their life and gave us tons of valuable tips and information! This is why Manfred was so confident that we just have to
follow through!!!
He strongly believed Tommy will be fine, he will easily adjust and he will be happy
as well! Where does this man get his confidence and insight from? I have no clue! I am the worrier…I always see problems and reasons why things does not work!
And Ben just knew it was answered prayers! He knows that God just send the cat
along to be his friend and companion. He never ever doubted it for a minute!
And I am just speechless! I guess I have to admit that Benjy is right! Tommy
adopted us for a good reason… He does travel very well, walks all over the car,
sits with Benjy, cuddles with me, sleeps for hours under the seat. He will go
in the crate if needed (like when we had to go through customs coming back from
Canada) or when we get ready to leave and have to do the last clean up and
hitching process. He just waits patiently until we are ready for him. He loves
his new home, our RV. He sits on the sofa and looks out; he sleeps under
Manfred’s desk or in Ben’s bed. He cuddles and snuggles and just loves and
enjoys being with us all. He does not like to walk at a leash but he won’t fight it. He sits outside with us, curls up in “his” chair, plays with toys and Benjy. It almost seems as if he is thankful that we rescued him. And, he is BEAUTIFUL!!! And he has the calmest and most loving soul I have ever seen in a cat! I guess we all, including Manfred, fell big time for him !
By the way, the vet said Tommy is approx. 2 years old. I do not know if he really
is part Russian Blue but if you google the personality of Russian Blue cats, he
fits quite well…
Here some pics! Update on Tommy and us to follow!



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