So I have a feral mama kitty in my dining room. It must be Tuesday, huh? I didn’t want a feral mama kitty in my dining room but you don’t always get what you want. But, I’m now really glad that I have a feral mama kitty in my dining room because she looks like this.
So here’s the story. I have been dying to foster a kitten again but resisting the urge as long as I could. There are so many kittens and cats in need of help, though, so I knew it would only be a matter of time, And then I get the facebook message from a friend asking me to share a post about kittens. I knew pretty quickly that it was all over for me and that I would be getting involved. I immediately shared the post asking for help with three kittens who were only 3-4 weeks and seeking a trap to catch the young and way too thin mommy so my friend could get her help. Almost as immediately, I was offering to foster the kittens because I “still had supplies,” anyway. (At the time, I didn’t realize that said supplies were still hiding in a moving box in the garage somewhere.) Anyway, fast forward to me acquiring two kittens (she kept one) and spending the evening bottle feeding them.
It wasn’t long before they were eating on their own and I was hearing that a neighbor had caught the mama and another kitten. And it also wasn’t long before I was being asked to take them, too.
And, man, I didn’t want to. While I have great history with socializing frightened foster cats, I had zero experience with truly feral cats. But, that didn’t change the fact that they needed me and I ended up welcoming a very angry mama and a very timid baby. When they wore leather gloves to transfer her to my kennel, I was quite confident that I had put myself in for a very bad situation. I wasn’t completely wrong but I wasn’t completely right, either.
So we learned quickly that mom and her babies would remember each other.
But, we also learned that being around her babies put Mama in defense mode and made the kittens nervous by her growling and attempted scratching. So after trying it both ways, three kittens ended up chilling in the bedroom with Lizzie while we wait for them to be old enough to be adopted out. And I have been “romancing” Mama kitty every since.
Have I mentioned that Mama is practically just a baby? She never got to be a cat and that’s just not fair. I’ve spent a lot of time sitting outside the kennel, trying to bribe her with treats. I started with dropping them in and eventually tried to hand feed her through the kennel door. And this feral kitty took a treat from my hand! And many more treats after that.
It progressed quickly after that. I was soon able to open the door and hand feed her. And she would cry for me (or maybe the treats) when she heard me coming down the stairs. Feral mom was becoming a cat. But, there was still a clear line that I wasn’t to cross. Assuming that I didn’t want to be scratched, that is. I think we all know that I have gotten scratched, ha.
Then I had a busy few days and didn’t sit with her like I had been. The regression was quick and obvious. She didn’t want treats, she didn’t come to the door when she saw me, she was hissy again and she wasn’t eating as much. 😦 I went to bed that night feeling discouraged.
But, that morning, I made a point of coming to her and sitting down. I brought her some food and treats. It was apparently, that moment when something clicked because when I opened the door, she was ready for me. She ignored the treat and nuzzled my hand. What??
I sat there petting her for a minute, amazed that it was happening at all and then because I sometimes have no respect for boundaries, I picked her up. And she let me!!
I held her a for a moment until she realized that it was happening. She started to squirm so I immediately put her down. Once she was safely inside the kennel, she, of course, drew some blood. Small price to pay! 😉
By the end of the day, we decided to let her explore the house and that’s where it stands now (or the now when I wrote this, anyway.) She’s wandering the house, avoiding me. She’s not taking any chances that I’ll put her back in the kennel, I suppose. 🙂
I’m just so amazed at her progress and so happy that she might get the chance to be the cat that she deserves to be.
And, as for the kittens, they are, of course, ridiculously cute and being taken care of by Lizzie’s cat, otherwise known as Uncle Xander. 😉