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Blackie, a success story

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
My husband and I did our first feral cat trapping in September 2006 with Blackie, a 3-year old magnificent looking long-haired black cat from our carport area. We got him neutered, vaccinated, tested, everything. Then we adopted him and kept him indoors. He was going crazy the first couple of days, trying to escape from the room we secluded him in. It was very stressful for us, we felt that we had a wild animal in our apartment.

He's hissed at us quite a bit since we brought him home and was very aloof. He hung out on the window ledge a lot and made funny talking sounds there to no one, sounds that I've never heard before from other cats, it was more like "Awww, awww, awww..." than meowing.

He discovered the comfort of the sofa and slept there a lot. We eventually were able to sit on the other end without him jumping off. That was progress. Later on, we were able to sit right next to him and he actually stayed. That was more progress.

We were able to play with him using a long stick with a ribbon tied at the end. He liked chasing it around. It made us happy to see him have fun, even though we couldn't pet him.

He still wouldn't let us pet him even when we gave him treats that he loved. We've tried giving him treats on our lap and he did come and step on our laps to eat it, but he was hesitant. That was exciting progress anyway, even though he didn't lie down on our laps.

A year later, which was the beginning of August 2007, we trapped another feral cat we found in our carport area and got her spayed, vaccinated, etc., and adopted her too. Her working name was Red Cat because she had some reddish hair. We kept her and Blackie separated to ease the introduction. Red Cat was terrified of Blackie and was really stressed out for a few months even though he wasn't harrassing her, so we kept them separated during that time. It was hard on us to live with a constant opening and closing of doors -- Red Cat had the living room and Blackie had the hallway and bedrooms. We wondered if we had to live like this for the rest of our lives.

Because of this situation, Blackie started to sleep in our bedroom on top of a box a few feet from our bed. We were happy about that part. And after a while, Blackie started to sleep with us on our bed, and it was absolutely thrilling! But we still couldn't pet him though.

After a while when Red Cat seemed to have calmed down, we felt it was time to see what would happen if we opened the doors. She seemed to have accepted him! Sultan did seem to bully her here and there though, and we watched carefully to see if they had actual fights. Sometimes we couldn't really tell if they were playing or fighting.

After some time, they were able to share the sofa on opposite corners. We were so relieved to have all the doors open again! I think that was in November last year.

We finally came up with real names for both of them: Blackie is now Sultan and Red Cat is now Swee'Pea.

Then in February this year, my husband and I were in the living room chatting one night, when Sultan happened to stroll by us. My husband was seated and he let his hand hang down near Sultan and he sniffed my husband's fingers. Then my husband started to stroke Sultan's cheek lightly and tentatively. And Sultan let him! Then my husband started to rub Sultan's head. And he let him! So my husband kept going -- he was petting Sultan's face and head all over and Sultan was enjoying it!! So after a couple of minutes of that, I crouched down and offered Sultan my hand and I got to pet him too! IT WAS OUR FIRST TIME EVER TO HEAR HIM PURR. We were so amazed, it was an incredible moment, the moment we have been waiting for 1-1/2 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think we petted him for a full 5 minutes and Sultan was loving it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We were overjoyed.

After that however, Sultan won't let us pet him anytime we want, if we approach him and try to he'll still hiss at us! But since that day to now, we have been able to pet him for increasing amounts of time when he asks for it; he even demands it now and we're so happy that he does! He's even come to love being brushed -- at first he didn't know what the heck I was doing to him. Now, whenever one of us sits on the sofa he'll come up excitedly and plops himself down on our laps and starts to purr purr purr. He even drools sometimes! He wants to be petted 3-4 times a day now, sometimes for around 15-20 minutes at a time!

Swee'Pea is still scared of us and doesn't let us pet her. She's been with us for a year now. But, another great thing is that she and Sultan have become best friends!!!!! Sultan even grooms her -- it's such a beautiful sight!!! They play together (Sultan chases her around and we think Swee'Pea likes being chased), sleep together, eat together, and follow each other around. I believe what helped bond them is when we started to feed them next to each other instead of having their bowls in separate rooms.

A funny thing is that Sultan doesn't make those funny talking sounds anymore, not since we brought in Swee'Pea, I believe.

Anyway, we are so grateful to be petting Sultan and we don't take it for granted at all. We're just waiting for Swee'Pea to come around and trust us too. She definitely sees how Sultan loves to be with us, so we're surprised that she still doesn't trust us by now. Oh well, we'll keep waiting for her.

I write this to give hope to those of you considering adopting a feral cat or for those of you who have adopted a feral and have been waiting, waiting, waiting for that magical petting day.
post #2 of 6
Awww that's a very very sweet story. Thanks for sharing it! Sultan has obviously been won over by your patience and understanding, I think its really good that you and your DH respected his boundaries when he first came to you without trying to rush progress.

In time, Swee'Pea may also be won over, then you'll have a double success story !
post #3 of 6
Very cute. I love happy endings that are really beautiful beginnings. Sultan knows the joy of a good petting session now. Very wonderful to read encouraging stories.
post #4 of 6
Your story tells me to be more patient.
And gives me a lot of hope! Thank you for posting this!!!
post #5 of 6
What a great story! It sure takes alot of patience to take ferals in and it sounds like you've done a wonderful job!
post #6 of 6
Thank you for sharing such a sweet, inspiring story and most of all for love and patience you've given these precious creatures. There's nothing more rewarding than experiencing the love and trust of a feral cat.
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