Keeping our animals safe and secure is an important part of our mission at Home for Life. Many of our residents come from backgrounds fraught with danger and uncertainty. We want to ensure that they never face those dangers again. The entire perimeter of Home for Life's property is securely fenced, cameras keep a watchful eye on the animals' housing, the sanctuary is staffed 24/7, and the outdoor run attached to each townhouse or apartment is fenced as appropriate for the residents. For cats, this means an overhead fence as well, to keep these expert climbers from wandering off and getting lost.
We have never had a cat get out unaccompanied.
Jonathan was trapped on a construction site in Florida where a colony of feral cats was living. The rescuers thought he was deaf, so after he was neutered, they did not want to release him back to his colony. Jonathan was very friendly, so one of the rescuers kept him on her porch. However, the woman was in poor health and felt she could not keep him long term. She lobbied fiercely on Jonathan's behalf and eventually secured a place for him at Home for Life.
The day after Jonathan arrived at the sanctuary, we couldn't find him. He had literally disappeared into thin air. We searched everywhere and set a trap with tempting food. But no Jonathan. Weeks went by, and we felt helpless and desperate. Winter was approaching, and the weather was turning cold. Since we had tried everything else, we contacted Laura Lluellyn-Lassiter (www.soul-be-it.com), an animal communicator based in Florida, who works with the team at Big Cat Rescue and has also helped many people better understand their pets. Laura agreed to help us over the phone and would not take any money. She described our facility perfectly, as it appeared through Jonathan's eyes. She also told us that Jonathan was not deaf but hard of hearing.
Here is the story that Jonathan told through Laura: He had gotten out on his own; no one had let him out or taken him. He was quite proud of this accomplishment, and considered himself a feline Houdini. He showed Laura the route he had used to sneak out. He was still on the sanctuary property, near the woods, but he wanted to return to his colony in Florida. Laura tried to tell Jonathan that his colony was not there anymore, and that he must stay at Home for Life® and make new friends. She spent many days trying to change his mind, but as time passed, he got weaker. He told Laura that he couldn't find the kind of food he was used to, like lizards. He knew about live traps and refused to go into the one we set for him. A couple of weeks went by, and Laura was concerned that Jonathan was dying; it became harder and harder to communicate with him. But one night, an HFL staff member was sure she spotted him on the property. We quickly called Laura, and she took time out of her busy schedule to get in touch with Jonathan. She told us to bait the trap with Kentucky Fried Chicken, and then she guided Jonathan into the trap and convinced him that it would be okay. The next morning, he was there. We knew he hadn't been in the trap long, because even though it had snowed, he was not cold or covered with frost. It was as though he went in right before he knew we would come for him.
Since that incident, Jonathan has stayed in his new home and learned what it has to offer. He has found his place. He is a very affectionate cat, and we are grateful to Laura for helping this cat who needed a little extra "convincing" to accept his home for life.
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