1. He came along as feral, already several years old, not neutered, and terrified of people. He was thriving in his natural habitat proving to be a skilled hunter and survivor of nature’s elements. He survived sneaking around at night with larger predators and spent time underground in the city’s concrete drainage tunnel system.
2. It took several months of talking to him and trying to interact. We offered gifts such as food, treats, and catnip before he would trust us enough to finally be able to touch him one day as he ate the food we gave him.
3. It took even longer and a cold Winter day to get him to step inside to eat his food out of the cold. Poor thing, he was extremely nervous when I closed the door to keep the cold air out. We made sure to let him out when he went to the door and begged.
4. When we were finally able to pick him up for the first time it was quite a shock how heavy he was but yet so lean. This cat was a lean mean muscle machine! Even the vet was very surprised by his incredible physique during the first doctor’s appointment.
5. He sprayed all over the outside since he hadn’t been neutered yet, probably more so since we had cats. If he came in during the Winter to get warm he had to be watched closely or else he could spray inside. One time he did – on the oil heater! It radiated a smell throughout the whole apartment that would make you instantly want to vomit.
6. Thankfully after he was neutered he stopped spraying. This was key in order to be able to spend time indoors without being monitored constantly. Also it was likely we would be moving soon and I couldn’t stand to leave him behind. At this point he was starting to show his own appreciation to us by bringing back the best gifts only a cat could only think of (a rabbit and two live mice). It probably confused and disappointed him to see my ungrateful reaction to these “thoughtful” gifts.
7. We started calling him Slash because his ear had a slash or split in it most likely from a fight with another cat. The top of his ear is scarred in a line where the claw started and must have ripped his ear near the outer edge. We can only guess about what happened and where he came from.
8. The Rocky Mountain Ally Cat Alliance also known as The Feline Fix, preformed his sterilization and administered the necessary vaccines during one of their clinic days. I didn’t know at the time if I’d be able to have him indoors so they marked him as a treated feral. This is done by either notching the outside of the ear in a V shape or tipping the top off completely. I’m sure he noticed at the next bath that his ear was sore and something seemed to be different. Oh well, just increases his coolness!
Photo taken from my old apt. balcony showing the route he would take. Except the outside stairs were a little different and closer to the roof above the door on our building.
9. After leaving for about a week to travel over Christmas, Slash figured out how to climb his way up to the 2nd floor balcony which involved scaling a narrow double windowsill about 2″ wide. I guess he was desperate to figure out if we were still in there. He figured out how to use the outside stairs of the neighbor behind us to walk across our roof area then across the double windowsill and a final leap to the balcony. This was nice because there was an elevated cat bed he could use at night for a safe place to sleep while keeping a look out for what was going on. It was so nice to wake up in the morning and find him sleeping out there safely. The balcony had a roof which kept him out of the rain and snow. He walked across that windowsill everyday even when it was covered in snow and ice and never fell off. A couple of times he got across the window and apparently decided the final jump was too risky so he backed himself all the way across it backwards!
10. When Slash gets hot he lays with his back legs flared outward so that his stomach lays completely flat on the ground. We think he learned to do this to cool his body temperature down using the coolness of the ground. I’m sure that since he’s all black he soaks up more sun.