feral cat rescue

On Guard

I have two kitties, brother & sister one big gray and one little black cat. Feral cats, who until 4 months of age likely subsisted on rats and scraps of nyc pizza. And then, they come into my home, a place where they are essentially trapped - and they don’t understand it. They don’t have the option to explore the streets, hunt, or prey when they feel like it. I always thought rescuing animals was saving them, but for a good two months, I wondered whether these babies resented having their freedom taken away, despite a warm place, lots of toys, a safe environment - and another feline to play with.

The gray one was on guard since day one, rarely sleeping, vigilant, hissing and scurrying away whenever I neared him, the black cat just hid under the couch…both kitties wary until the lights darkened and they felt safe enough to feed, poop, suspiciously look around, and find new hiding places.

It’s now almost three months, both kitties are out in the open, scrambling for petting, purring at and nipping at  my ankles, playfully scratching & swatting at me, play fighting with one another, but every now and then, I see the fear in their eyes, a hiss that escapes them with sudden movements, almost as a reminder to them to not trust your environment, and I think, how like animals we are, as much as we learn to trust, as much as we are in loving environments, when trust is broken, what’s inherent in us truly never disappears - we’re always on guard.

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c o n t e n t || l o v e d

My cat, MaoMao is an older rescue cat who started out life as a very young, feral Mum to two kittens. When she was taken in she was deemed too feral to be homed with humans and so was placed into a barn, with an outdoor run to enjoy her days with other rounded up feral cats.

As many as five or six years later it was noticed that she couldn’t walk without severe pain and was diagnosed with advance stage pillow paw. She had surgery to fix her paws and during her isolation her handler realised two things: Her life in the feral-barn was not a good life for her (she didn’t get on with other cats and was extremely timid and undernourished). The second thing was that she actually did seem to like her human handler’s company (and belly rubs!), even if she was very afraid, flighty and slow to trust.

The next stage of her rehab she was homed with my friends who foster cats that may need some time getting used to humans or being taught how to love. { mandytsung & choplogik }. They looked after her for many months, and taught her what a loving home could be. She slowly progressed from hiding behind furniture and art canvases to learning to play and be petted and being social. All along she was the sweetest cat you could imagine. Still, she clearly had some issues, most of which seemed to revolve around her fear of humans.

Her paws healed, but pillow paw is a chronic auto-immune condition. Due to her health and the fact that she was so timid and afraid of new people, it didn’t look too likely that she would find a permanent home.

I met her while house sitting a couple of times and feeding her while my friends took trips for work. We clicked almost instantly, and we fast became tentative pals.

Cleverly, one time, my friends had me look after her for a week in my own home, while they went away. It was just one day into this week that it was clear she had Arrived to her forever home and she was never going to leave.

Now don’t get me wrong, that photo up there is not representative of the entire year we’ve lived together. It took a lot of hard work from us both to learn to trust and love each other.

We’ve come so far, and it has been the most rewarding and beautiful friendship I’ve had with an animal. She’s learned everything from hand gestures, to words and signs of affection. Each one I had to teach her with repetition, patience and respect for her wild tendencies.

She now talks and communicates with me in every way imaginable. She {mostly} listens to me and she definitely understands me. We have the utmost respect for each other. As a result, we are now so close that we can rub our heads into each other, we can spoon and we can sleep next to each other all night long. She comes when I call her and she’s learned to tell me in tender ways when something crosses a line. Earning the love, respect and trust of an animal that many would have passed over is truly something.

She is the smartest, sweetest cat I have ever known and I am so happy to love her and spoil her and provide her with her dream home.

She’s probably about 9 years old now. I hope we get to be pals for a long time.