Friday, 19 August 2011
Cats Tails (2)
For those you may have read previous blogs, it will come as no surprise that a, I have not considered it and b, I don't believe one "gets" a cat. In my experience the cat chooses after careful consideration, the - lucky - recipient of his or her attentions.
Sam (crookedly displayed above), was one such.
We had been in this house for about 3 months (John, Mitzy our tortoiseshell cat) and I, when one frosty November morning I saw a large thin tabby 'stealing' a potato peeling from the pit in the rough ground full of builder's rubble which was then our back garden.
I knew at some s tage I'd be starting a compost pit and had thrown out all vegetable peelings from day one.
The tabby jumped the chain-link fence into the rough field at the back and began to gnaw ravenously at the scrap of peeling.
I called to him to try to give him something more palatable, but he fled.
The next morning, before leaving for work I put a bowl of milk and a handfull of dry biscuits outside the back door, which, when we returned some 13 hours later was gone.
This went on for about a month, and gradually he became less nervous and would eat the food we put out as long as we went nowhere near him.
Every day I moved the food nearer and nearer to the back door and began slowly to leave the door ajar.
He would eat very fast and run if we made a move so one day I put the food and milk in its usual place and stood beside it without moving. He advanced very slowly and very bravely began to eat, but with his ears back, ready to leap away.
This went on for a week, then one day, while he was eating I bent very cautiously and touched the top of his head. He flattened almost to ground level so I stood up and he went on eating. I did it again, and this time he just stopped for a minute then continued to eat.
The next day, I stroked his head with one finger and after the initial stiffening he relaxed and let me stroke him.
The weather was getting colder and John suggested we put a cardboard box outside and cover it with PVC.
This we did and put a bit of old carpet in the bottom and with the box on its side left it overnight. In the morning, it had snowed, and all that was visible of the tabby was one gigantic paw, a nose and his whiskers poking out of the box.
In time this was replaced by an old bedside cabinet converted into a kennel-like house, covered in PVC and carpet lined facing in to the house to keep out the weather..
Sam, as we now called him slept in that for the whole of that first Winter.
When, after many months he bacame handleable we took him to the vet, had him checked over and neutered.
We were told he was young, about three years old, and fairly healthy apart from the inevitable fleas and malnourishment.
Within twelve months, apart from the odd spat with Mitzy, he was a fully paid-up member of the family a simply massive, totally beautifull and very affectionate cat who lived with us for 14 years before finally succumbing to kidney failure.
Mitzy survived him by two years.
Our lovely lovely feral Sam left a vast tabby hole in our lives when he said his last goodbye.
Never be put off by the idea that feral cat's are untameable. It takes time, patience and a lot of love but it is so very worth the effort.