Socks have lived a life of independence

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The story of Socks the Cat began over ten years ago at the Loyalist Humane Society (LHS) where she was taken with her kittens. Shelter manager Anne Moffatt remembers that she was not “a teenage mother” but rather a mature cat who appeared to be homeless.

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The socks were photographed, as were many LHS water intakes, and placed in a pet crate with her kittens. Shortly after, the checkout door was accidentally left ajar. Socks made an offer for freedom, leaving his youngsters behind and never looked back. The shelter staff were surprised as they thought she would return to her offspring. Instead, she walked through the fields of County Road 4 to my barn on Scoharie Road.
The first time I saw her she was sitting in a ray of sunlight at the top of the ramp to the top floor of my farm barn. It was cold and she looked hungry. I left a plate of food outside for her and I didn’t think about her anymore. In the days that followed, I saw her several times, so I started leaving food regularly, just inside the barn door.

The socks came every night for her alms, ate, then left. She wouldn’t allow me to get too close and would never stay in the barn, even on the coldest winter nights. She was a real savage reluctant to accept charity but bowing to its necessity. By the spring it was obvious that she was about to become a mother again. One evening she appeared for supper with four young people in tow.

Fearing that the kittens would be killed by a predator, I trapped them and put them in an indoor cattery in my barn. Socks continued his daily visits and arrived for supper every night for the next three years. She also gave me three more litters of kittens as a sign of gratitude. However, her fourth pregnancy did not go well.

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A few hours after giving birth, she entered my garden dragging a bloody mass behind her. It was the first and only time she had ventured near the house. With the help of LHS director Anne Moffatt, Socks was placed in a pet carrier for an emergency ride to a veterinary clinic in Belleville. Her kittens rode with her in a cardboard box. It turned out that she had a prolapsing uterus and that emergency sterilization was needed to save her life. I accepted the operation without asking for the cost and ended up with a bill of $ 650 for a cat whose coat I had never stroked.

When Socks recovered, she was placed in the cattery with her newborn kittens. After two years, I was able to stroke her and she seemed to enjoy the attention. To my surprise, she even sometimes played with her kittens’ toys.

I have owned many cats in my life, but never a single one with the fierce independence and intelligence of Socks. She was wild when she gave birth to her last litter, but left her kittens immediately after birth to ask for my help. Without surgery for her prolapsed uterus, she would have died.

In the last year of her life she developed a skin irritation which required monitoring and treatment, so I brought her into the house. She was very pleased with the new arrangement and fascinated by the “fire dragon” or the furnace heat vent. She often took a nap there, basking in the warmth.

Sadly, last week Socks crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Based on the years she spent with me and her approximate age when she escaped from the LHS, she was in her late teens. There was no question about her identity as it matched the photo taken when she arrived at the shelter a long time ago.

Determined to live free, she escaped an LHS nursing home, traveled a long distance through farm fields to my barn, and survived three cold winters as a savage. She raised four litters of kittens and finally decided to accept me as a friend. In the last weeks of her life she became very affectionate, almost as if thanking me for the years we had shared. When she crossed the Rainbow Bridge, a piece of my heart accompanied her.

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