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red letter day for a red collar cat

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
The Knox County humane society in Maine color codes the cats. Boys have blue collars. Girls have pink collars. And feral or cats with attitude problems have red collars. My husband and I have been going over there about twice a week now for a couple of months. I started plying the more friendly ones with treats. Turkey is a big hit with these cats. One extremely feral but very pretty cat is Josephine. While she will not tolerate anything more than having her head scratched for maybe five seconds, she does like turkey treats. When the friendly ones gather round me or crawl all over me looking for goodies, I make sure Josephine gets some, too. She has watched, although lately with increasing interest, how the other cats will climb up onto my shoulder or walk around my chest. Sometimes they get cuddled, or stroked, definitely talked to in a nice calm, soothing voice. Still sporting some healing scratches from Josephine's 'I told you to leave me alone' reaction, we had a major breakthrough today. My chair was next to the shelf she likes to sit on. She stepped onto my right leg, across to my left, and climbed up onto my chest. She then proceeded to sit there for a full five minutes before moving back to the safety and security of the shelf. Wow!! Could this be a breakthrough?
post #2 of 16
Sounds like it to me- the beginning of trust forming. Any chance of you adopting her?
post #3 of 16
Oh, that's so sweet of you to do!

A little story...my one cat, not feral, but heavily abused, came to us with another cat as a package deal. She was not really a cat I would have necessarily chosen, but I took her in and loved her. Well boy am I glad I did!! For the first year or so, we didn't see much of her. We gave her peace and quiet and love in whatever ways she would allow. Then she got really sick, and we had a major turning point. She was so ill she really resigned herself to letting us treat her, and in doing so and making her well, we earned her trust. It's been about 4 years now, and she's a different cat. She is never hiding or running away, she even approaches our guests, will sleep on our dog, and even put up with doggy guests! It's been a long road, and no she wasn't the cat at the shelter who just said "take me home!" but I am glad we ended up with her. It is so rewarding to see her progress and it's so touching to be trusted and loved so much by an animal who had such a bad past and had so much fear of humans.

My other cat was feral but we got him at 5 weeks so he got over that pretty fast!

Anyways, not trying to pressure you, just telling you how much I've enjoyed seeing my own kitty with 'issues' grow and relax. What you are doing is wonderful and I hope you continue and that all those red collars find their way to wonderful homes!
post #4 of 16
What great stories! Prinny, I am so happy that Josephine has recognized that you are a safe person! That must have really warmed your heart when she sat on you.

Alicat, it is always great to hear some of the amazing turn-arounds we see in our ferals. It surely gives hope to those who are working with ferals for the first time!
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Alicat, I didn't think you were pressuring me, just sharing a happy tail (sic) of a feral who has learned that not all humans are bad.

I doubt if we'd be adopting Josephine. If we do adopt, the first one, if she'd still be available, would have to be Minzy. She loves my husband so much. She likes me, too, but she's definitely daddy's girl.

It amazed and astounded me that Josephine dared to trust me. If I can help bring her out of her shell, I'm happy to do it. I just didn't think I was having any affect on her at all, let alone one so positive. If I can help her to see that not all humans are bad and that trusting them can be good, I need no other reward.

There is a second version of the rainbow bridge. This one has includes animals who are still injured or crippled or damaged in some way. They wait there, too, at the bridge. But when the person who rescued them comes along, they are then healed. And the rescuer has the honor of taking them over the bridge. I'd be proud to share that honor with whoever adopts Josephine. If we could just get the matted fur off her, her beauty would really show. Because under all that, she's got some lovely markings. Who knows? Give me enough time to build up enough trust.

I knew the folks on this forum would understand and share the joy.
post #6 of 16
And we do share your joy!! Thanks for sharing it with us.
post #7 of 16
Oh good, glad you understood. Just some of the things being said around here, you know, just wanted to be clear!

That's so wonderful that you guys go out and play with them. I'm sure it really helps them a lot. I am just astounded by animals' ability to trust us again. Some of them have been soo mistreated and abused and yet, another human comes along and they can learn to love again. We don't. Think of people you know who have had a bad experience with an animal...most of them continue to dislike, fear, hate, whatever, that type of animal that hurt them once, blaming all for the individual. But animals, they have such a greater capacity for forgiveness, it's amazing.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Sad news. When we visited the shelter today, Josephine was no where in sight. :She became extremely ill and had to be sent to the Rainbow Bridge. Rest in peace, my Jo-Jo. I came to love you. And for one brief, shining moment, you were my cat.
post #9 of 16
awww i'm so sorry do they know what was wrong with her?
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Apparently she was severely dehydrated, lost 1/3 of her body weight and something in her blood was terribly screwed up.

I know she was feral and had her problems. In a way she hated being at the shelter because she really wanted to be an only cat. She was safe there from predators, had plenty of food and water and even people who cared for and about her. She had beautiful markings for a tabby and, if the course of her life had been different, she may have lived a good, long life. But it wasn't to be. And I grieve for her on several levels.
post #11 of 16
poor kitty
post #12 of 16
That is so sad. My heart goes our to you and to Josephine.
post #13 of 16
I'm so sorry - it sounds like Josephine was coming to trust you a bit. And I know you were attached to her. What a sad day. goes out to you as well. (((HUGS)))
post #14 of 16
That's so sad. Maybe she'll have better luck the next time round.
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Nothing like picking up this thread after almost a year.

Josephine, as I found out later, had feline infectious peritonitis. Despite her issues, she was very deeply loved at the shelter. One of the girls who works there has a lot of photos of the cats. While going through some of my own photos, I found I had double prints of maybe 6, 7 pictures of different cats. And bless her little heart, Jo-Jo was in one of them. As Kerry had been kind enough to give me a picture of a cat that had been adopted, I returned the favor and gave her the extras that I had.

We are now a year into our adopted cat. She's a goofball and we love her dearly. Her picture is my new avatar.
post #16 of 16
I remebered Josephine's story so clearly. I am glad that you have given us an update!
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