Stringer came to the door in the arms of a panicked neighbour. She’d found the stray out in the early spring rain, but his face was puffed to twice its normal size and he was gasping for breath.

With a bit of digging, that caused more wheezing from the poor tom, we found the culprit. Deep within his neck was a shoelace someone had tied to him. It took a bit of doing, but we cut the shoelace off and his breath of relief was audible.

His first stringless stop in our house was the water dish, then food. With the string on for who knows how many days, he was ravenous. One ear bore testament to being thrown out in the Saskatchewan winter and he had a serious case of ear mites in both ears. Behind his ears had been scratched raw on both sides.

We got him cleaned up and settled in and I almost didn’t recognize him with his puffed face back to normal, although he’d probably bear the string scar for the rest of his life, as well as the missing ear. For all his hard times, though, he was a gentleman cat, no yowling, no spraying. It didn’t take long for him to find a permanent, loving home.