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Never give up...

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
We've been caring for a female feral for four years. We first found MaMa in our backyard shed with kittens four years ago in May. We trapped her with a humane trap and had her fixed after the second litter.

For 2 1/2 years she hid under the deck and only came out after we put food in the shed. Then she began to stay in the shed but up in the rafters. She began to "talk" to us when we put the food down. About a year ago she surprised us by coming down and watching us put the food on the counter. Approximately six months ago she started to actually come over to where the food was while we were putting it down. Then my husband decided to leave his hand on the dish while she ate. We've done that for a while now...just holding our hand perfectly still while she ate. Once in a while she'd stop and sniff our hand. Sometimes she'd realize what we were doing and get freaked and run to the other side of the counter. We constantly "talked" to her. Finally, about two months ago my husband started petting her while she ate. She'd get freaked from time to time, but he never gave up. He'd wait for her to come back to the dish. Now we can pet her every morning while she eats. I never thought we'd ever get this far with her. It's taken four years, but we now consider her our outside cat. I think she would have been a wonderful pet if she had only been socialized at a young age. We both love her and consider her "our" cat. I think she considers us "her" humans.

Don't every give up on these cats. Right now I don't think we'll ever be able to pick her up or hold her on our laps, but I never thought we'd ever be able to pet her either. What do I know? Betty
post #2 of 4
It sounds like you've mad tremendous progress with this cat. Just goes to show how far patience and love can go in transforming a feral cat. Thanks for the dedication and care you've shown to her and may your relationship continue to develop!
post #3 of 4
That is amazing. Your patience has really paid off! You are very kind to watch out for this girl!
post #4 of 4
Originally Posted by Beckiboo
That is amazing. Your patience has really paid off! You are very kind to watch out for this girl!
It's wonderful! Working with feral cats is so confounding sometimes. It is so complex, and so frustrating AND rewarding, isn't it? You think you'll never be able to figure in the life of one of these cats, and then with plenty of hard work, suddenly one day you are friends.

It's tantalizing, too. I've talked with several friends who are TNR activists, and we all pretty much began by thinking we needed to take IN all the cats in a colony -- after all, they are *domestic cats* and after all, they are just as deserving of our living up to the human bargain as any other domestic animal. And each of us has been through the agony of learning that lots of OTHER people don't view these animals as equally deserving. People fear them, or wonder if they will use a litterbox, or don't want to spend time in this kind of gradual taming effort. So many cats, so little time and space!

Some times -- maybe always -- I think that the most courageous thing about feral cat work is in returning these wondrous creatures to their only homes, and not forgetting that they are living between domestic and wild.

Stories like yours, of taming and learning just how tame a former feral can become, are both beautiful, and terrible (if you know what I mean). I wish there were hundreds of people like you. I wish I knew how to activate more of them. I'm really glad there's you!

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