Sparkles, the neighborhood vagabond who adopted Bridget.

Sparkles, the neighborhood vagabond who adopted Bridget.

Saving Kitty Sparkles

Bridget, a listener from Florida, is losing sleep over a neighborhood vagabond named Sparkles, a small Rag Doll mix who began visiting her porch soon after she moved to the area.

As a fan of Cat Chat, Bridget kindly sent me an email, thanking me for the show and asking my advice on what she might do for Sparkles.

Her dilemma is that Sparkles lives outdoors and serves as neighborhood cat, “since everyone feeds her,” Bridget says, “though there seems to be some disagreement as to whether the owner of the cat actually feeds her.”

Sparkles, it seems, has chosen Bridget, and camps out in her lap given every opportunity.

“This is a tame little girl who darts in my house whenever I open my door,” Bridget says. “No one can tell me if she’s ever been taken to a vet, and I haven’t seen the owner home to speak with her. Part of me wants to snatch this cat up, get her vetted, and make her an indoor only cat, but I know she brings a lot of light to folks nearby, many of whom are retired and may not otherwise be able to have a cat.”

Bridget, who has another cat, Ghost—a seven-year-old neutered male Siamese—has noticed obvious dangers in the area, “such as the vicious Florida thunderstorms, large dogs living nearby, raccoons, poisonous snakes and feral cats,” she says. The house across the street operates a mechanic’s shop, with cars constantly coming and going.

“Everyone around here seems to think there’s nothing wrong with the situation, despite my protests,” Bridget says.

My advice to Bridget is to bring Sparkles to the vet, have her thorough checked out, then offer her the luxury of indoor living and keep her safe and sound.

Aside from the obvious dangers of the area, living outside can be scary and lonely. Without a consistent diet (I advocate for wet food), Sparkles may develop health problems. How nice for Ghost to have a pal, too! Sparkles has proven herself to be sweet and nice—not feral, and she should be kept inside all the time for her own health, happiness and safety.

Ghost, Bridget’s seven-year-old Siamese male

Ghost, Bridget’s seven-year-old Siamese male

Though other people will carry on having loose cats, contrary to any advice, that lifestyle clearly is not benefiting Sparkles, who seems a very smart kitty to have adopted Bridget.

—Tracie Hotchner
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