Graphic: Johnson County Humane Society’s logo.

DOB:  01/2011



Photo: Rusty the cat.

Rusty is now a competent house cat. Not bad for a wary neighborhood stray who had been in a lot of fights.

In fostercare, Rusty has become a very playful, loving cat, although he remains shy with new people.

He enjoys being on laps and lying on whatever paper his caregiver is trying to read!

Rusty can even get silly over toys. It has been delightful watching him figure them out, toss them in the air, and bat them around.

He still seems to be more interested in humans than he is in other cats.

Photo: Rusty the cat. Photo: Rusty the cat.

Here's his story.

Lois had been feeding him outdoors for several years, and was just recently able to approach and pet him, but not pick him up.

She thought there was a possibility he might become a good companion. But he had been on his own for so long. She didn't think that he could ever be a completely indoor cat.

In February, 2013, he was getting in fights and coming back wounded. She was able to coax him into the house but he still wouldn’t let her handle him.

Photo:  LewisRusty the cat.

His injured paw was swollen and painful looking. Lois knew she couldn’t adopt him, but also couldn’t just let him suffer. The plan was to feed him a tranquilizer, urge him into a carrier, and take him to the Animal Shelter, knowing that he may have to be euthanized.

At the Shelter, Misha decided his paw was not that badly damaged and that he showed potential for being tamed. “Hey Jan, I have a big ole orange tomcat here who needs some vet care. He reminds me of you.”

The funny thing was, I knew exactly what Misha meant. Rusty lived up to Misha’s description. My kinda cat. Huge jowls, thick neck pads, large frame, orange. He had shredded ears and visible wounds from several fights.

He needed antibiotics right away, so I took him to the Coralville Animal Clinic. By this time Rusty was so worn out he allowed Dennis to probe his mangled paw in the exam room! Dennis decided to anesthetize him, work on his paw, neuter him, and give him some antibiotics.

Photo:  LewisRusty the cat.

After applying plenty of artificial tears in his eyes, I groomed Rusty while he was anesthetized and counted more than 100 scabbed-over puncture wounds. Most of them were in the forequarters, so he really must have stood his ground. Rusty's paw looked gnawed upon...many sets of repeated bites. The worst abscess, though was an innocent enough looking puncture wound that had walled off at the top of his tail.

Photo: the top of Rusty's tail.

Photo:  LewisRusty the cat.

Rusty cleaned up well after his surgery! And his eyes finally closed. He probably does not remember his day at the “spa.

Not surprisingly, Rusty tested positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). This is the feline analog of HIV Aids in humans.

Spread only through deep bites, FIV is not nearly as contagious as other killer viruses, but it still tends to shorten lives.

FIV weakens the immune system. Rusty's temp had been spiking to 106.7 (101 is normal for cats) for about a week after his surgery.

He was incubating the mother of all upper-respiratory viruses. But he slogged through it, blowing snot for days.

His wounds healed and his hair grew back.

Photo:  LewisRusty the cat.

Photo: Rusty the cat.

Rusty's feline social skills did need some work. And he refined them. Our guess is that he didn't get to spend enough time with siblings to learn how to play nicely. He has such a large frame that his advances probably scare other cats at first. We find it interesting that he accepts rude behavior from others without reacting. He just walks away.

There were times when Rusty became "predatory" toward other cats:   his eyes got dilated and he rose up on his hindquarters like a bear. You could tell he was in a different state. A loud command or a sudden hand clap would distract him. Since he has become a playin’ machine, he no longer engages in inappropriate predation.

Photo: Rusty the cat and the tunnel.

Rusty likesbeing around people; being touched; being a lap log; playing in his red cat house; soccer; reading

He dislikesrestraint; ; loud anything

He's affectionate and eager to please. Because of his size and background, Rusty will not be placed with young children.

Photo: Rusty the cat. Photo:  Rusty the cat.

Photo: Rusty the cat with his toys.

  Photo: Rusty the cat.

Rusty’s Characteristics

not much


quite a bit

very much!



Adaptable to change

Plays well with others

Activity levelGraphic: pawprint

 General Temperamentplayful,

Johnson County Humane Society

JCHS      P.O. BOX 2775      IOWA CITY, IA  52244-2775

Last update—01/30/14