In January, we shared the story of Earless Ernie, a gaunt cat found in the snow in Michigan. His eartips had been lopped off, and he was skin and bones. A boutique owner fostered him in her store until a furrever home could be found for him–and that didn’t take long.
Ron and Dixie of Kalamazoo, Michigan, adopted Ernie, and I’m thrilled to report that he is thriving after a month in their home. I talked to Dixie about Ernie’s ordeal and how he adjusted to life with a loving family:
Karen: When did you first hear about Ernie’s plight and decide to try to adopt him?
Dixie: We first learned of Ernies plight on or about January 22. We saw his picture and story in our local newspaper. The picture just made us cry (both of us, my husband and me.) His eyes were just captivating–and they seemed to be begging us to take him home. We decided right then that we would love to give him a good home.
Karen: What was your impression when you met Ernie for the first time?
Dixie: He looked scared and didnt interact much. He just lay there on his little kitty blanket and stared with wide eyes at any person that moved. Remember, he was being fostered in a boutique, so the public is constantly in and out, plus employees are bustling around. He mostly stayed on his blanket in a chair by the cash register so he could be close to people (which he loves). However, he was very sweet natured and he let us pet him and talk to him. So, our first impression was very positive. He was adorable and we thought he would fit nicely into our home.
Karen: Were there lots of people trying to adopt him?
Dixie: Yes, I believe there were. However, we were the first ones to look at Ernie and then (here is the important part) drive to the Humane Society and declare our intentions and then PAY the adoption fee. Thats the reason we got Erniewe were first to seriously ‘claim’ him. I did hear from the Humane Society employees that there was a lady from Toledo, Ohio that had contacted them by phone earlier that day and said she was driving from Toledo to Kalamazoo to adopt him. However, we were there first. Im sure she was disappointed. There was one lady, I dont know where she was from, who handmade a beautiful quilt for him with squares with little kitties on them. She sewed catnip under some of the squares. He LOVES this quilt and sleeps on it all the time.
Karen: Did you keep his name, or give him a new one?
Dixie: He was going by the name Earless Ernie prior to adoption. We dropped the earless so as not to give the poor baby a complex. His name is “Ernie.” Sometimes we call him “Sweet Little Ernie.”
Karen: What’s Ernie like?
Dixie: He follows us around all the time! He really enjoys being near people. He will follow us around the house and if I am caring for houseplants or exercising or practicing music, Ernie can be found about 2 feet away watching. He also is not afraid of the vacuum cleaner, like the other two kitties. He also doesnt run and hide when someone comes to the door. He actually comes to greet any visitor. He enjoys being petted and talked to. Last night when I got into bed he came and lay on my chest and gave me little kitty kisses on my cheeks.
He is very good about sharing food with the other two. Mick is the alpha cat and Ernie respects that and doesnt push or try to take over the alpha position.
Ernie likes to bird-watch! We have a kitty window seat with a bird feeder right outside the window. Most days when I come home from work Ernie is sitting in the window seat staring at the birds and squirrels. We have a large, screened in porch and I KNOW Ernie will be out there all the time when the weather warms up! He will just love being up-close and personal with the birds and squirrels.
Karen: Do you have other pets?
Dixie: Yes, we have two other kitties. They are TICA-registered Nebelungs. One is Paradigms Dominic Mick the Magnificent of Edwards but we call him Mick; and the other is Paradigms Batgirl Shami Grace of Edwards but we call her Shami.
Karen: After all that Ernie had been through, was it difficult for him to adjust to being in a loving home?
Dixie: Not at all. He just LOVES to be around people, and the store where he was fostering was empty at night. Now he has people and other kitties around all the time and he is as happy as can be. He also has a heated bed and his own special quilt, plus he is young and still very playful. He seemed to walk in the door and instantly made himself at home. He was also instantly attracted to playing with Mick and Shami. This is a very good thing, because Mick just turned 8 yesterday, and had begun to not be as playful as he has in the past. Ernie sparked that playfulness in Mick. It is just wonderful to sit and watch them play together!
Karen: Has he suffered any long term health problems as a result of his ordeal?
Dixie: Not at all! I find that truly amazing. I would have thought he would be afraid of people, but he isnt. He was checked out by at least 3 veterinarians and all three said he should not have any long-term health problems because of his missing ear parts. Comparing his ears to the ears of Mick and Shami, it seems that the top half (approx.) is missing from each ear. They are symmetrical and clean cuts, and now the fur has grown on the ends. He is very long and slender and has a long tail and long legs. When he stands up on his back legs he looks an awful lot like a Meerkat, as their ears are rather short. He actually just looks like a cat with short ears.
Karen: How much did he weigh when you first adopted him, and how much does he weigh now?
Dixie: He weighed 8 lbs. when we adopted him and now weighs 11.5. He doesnt look heavy now, as he is so long. He had been at the foster home (store) for about a week before we got him, and he had been eating well there. However, when we first saw him his ribs and shoulders were very visible. Now you would never be able to tell he was undernourished.
Karen: Was it ever conclusively determined if the loss of his eartips was due to someone clipping them off, or was it frostbite?
Dixie: It was DEFINITELY determined that someone actually cut his ears off! It is so disgusting and just literally makes me nauseous to think of it. The cuts were clean and symmetrical and the pads of his feet showed no signs of frostbite.
Karen: Thank you Dixie for sharing this happy ending with us. Ernie is a beautiful cat–inside and out. I know a lot of Cat’s Meow readers will be as happy as I am to read the rest of Ernie’s story!
Would you like to be a friend of Ernie? Ernie’s a new Catster member, and would love to have some friends introduce him to the Catster community. If you’re a Catster member, please drop by and say hello, and if you’re not, Catster membership is free, and it just takes a minute to sign up!