Groucho is a black-and-white, long-haired, tuxedo cat. In a previous life, he was shot with a bee-bee gun and beaten with a bat or club with enough force to break off most of his bottom teeth on one side and damage the eardrum on the same side so badly that only scar tissue remains. Despite all this, he survived.
Back in 2008-2009, he roamed our neighborhood, which is on a ridge overlooking Mercer Lake. A neighbor across the road fed him and he would follow another neighbor when he walked his dog. Groucho was scrawny, bedraggled, and meowed a lot. He was probably in pain because of his wounds, which we found out about later—the infected area around where he had been shot and the infected gums where the teeth has been broken off. He also had fleas, worms, and eye infections.
When the neighbor who had been feeding Groucho moved away, next door neighbor Cliff began feeding him. Then he took Groucho to the vet to have the bee-bee taken out and the roots of the broken off teeth removed. The cat was also neutered. These various surgeries, besides costing Cliff several hundred dollars, required Groucho to be indoors for proper healing. Because Cliff and his wife have a dog, they didn’t want to bring him inside. So Cliff asked me if I would take him in for a couple of weeks.
At first, I fed him about 11 times a day because he would bug me incessantly with loud angry meows whenever I walked into the kitchen. Within a week, that dropped to five times a day.
After his two weeks of recuperation, Groucho and I had developed a routine. More importantly, I had decided not to let him back outside. The world had been a rough place for him. So I told Cliff of my decision and granted him visiting rights. He didn’t complain; he just smiled. Perhaps, this was his plan all along.
Six months later, Groucho no longer sported a skinny look, and his long fur had become soft and fluffy and thick. Even his tail looked better. It had filled out somewhat. With no infection encrusting his eyes, it was easy to see that they were a lovely pale green. Groucho had gradually turned into a handsome fellow. And he was certainly happier. His incessant strident meows had mellowed into conversational murmurs.
He no longer ate like a starving wild animal. His feedings dropped from five to three to two times a day. And he went from wolfing everything down before I even left the kitchen to becoming as finicky as a typical house cat.
Now, 10 ½ years later, Groucho is the master of the house. Every room has some accommodation or some cat tower or cat palace just for him. I figure that he is somewhere between 17 and 19. He still likes to play and still is able to race flat out from upstairs sitting in the top of his tower to downstairs sitting at the window next to the front door. So he is doing very well. He also takes some very long naps each day. That’s the only sign of aging. He still looks wonderful. He is just a love, and I’m so glad I helped rescue him.
Groucho has been a wonderful companion, especially during the hunkering down period of the Coronavirus. I’ve added more of my favorite Groucho photos. If you want to know more about him, check out my book, Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known. There is a chapter about Groucho.