The redemption of a wild boy

Wolf’s ‘mum’ Letitia Poultney.

It is a story about willpower, wants, an uncompromising moggy with a malevolent Rasputin stare, and his unflinching, no-nonsense owners.

Letitia and Colin wanted to move to a new house down the road. But the cat, Wolf – named because he was a loner, a bit wild and a scrapper with cold, mystic, dagger eyes – was steadfast.

He did not want to go.

There were protests, there were spats, and fur nearly flew. There was a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. But then, ultimately, a very touching connection with a sick woman.

It’s also a story that winds backwards and forwards, because this week, after being AWOL for three or four months, Wolf happened to find his way home again via Tauranga Vets, after he was handed in and identified by his microchip. 

“I got him home from the vets and introduced him to our other cats,” says Wolf’s mum, Letitia Poultney.  But things immediately turned ugly. Wolf arched his back, glared, hissed and took a swipe with claws that should be licensed as offensive weapons. “It was like he was thinking ‘nuh! I don’t recognise you anymore, I am done with this. I’m out of here’.”

There was no way back for Wolf – a grey tom of dubious parentage. He had to go. There’s a sweet and sour story as to how he got himself in this predicament, but to go forward, we need to go back.

It all started in Rotorua when Wolf the stray tried to make himself at home with Letitia’s Mum. That was never going to work. She doesn’t like cats, and tried to shoo him away and squirted him with water. Wolf misinterpreted that as love and simply wouldn’t go.

Letitia and her husband later rescued the rescue cat, and Wolf ended up across the Kaimai Range at their Brookfield home.

When they moved home 500 metres down the road, however, Wolf never really moved. He kept going back to their old Brookfield address.

“The neighbours would call and say ‘Wolf is back’,” says Letitia. “We would go round with cat food, but as soon as we tried to pick him up, he would back away. He didn’t want to go home. He would stare at us and taunt us. It’s as if he was saying ‘I dare you, try and get me’.”        

But he who dares wins, and Wolf was caught, caged and eventually rehomed at Ohauiti - albeit briefly. The opportunist made his escape once more, out of an open bathroom window. That was in August, more than three months ago.

The story then gets messy and emotional. This week, Letitia received a call from Tauranga Vets. Wolf was in residence having been handed in by a concerned person. In the meantime, Letitia and Colin have got a new cat named Jackson, to fill the emotional void created by Wolf’s ‘rehoming.’ What the hell to do? Heads were in hands, and there was much angsting.

Wolf was in quite good nick despite those three unaccounted for months. Where had he been, what had he been doing and who had been feeding him? They are questions that remain unanswered.

Then things turned toxic, because when they got Wolf home again, that’s when he arched, hissed and took a swipe – first at Axel, another cat in residence, and then at Jackson. With only room in this family dynamic for two cats, Wolf had signed his own divorce decree.

“We decided to let him have his way,” says Letitia. “We decided to rehome him.” Again.

That’s when Wolf, the meanest, most stubborn cat in town, had an epiphany, and he transformed into the softest cat in town.

Wolf was passed into the care of a lady whose own cat had recently used up all its lives. There was a hole left in her heart and Wolf filled the void. He’s now one cat in a one cat household, should he choose to stay.

It’s a good fit. The lady has a sick daughter, and Wolf is now her constant companion. Everyone, everything has a place.