OK. One more cat story then I promise to post really exciting stuff - complete with car chase scenes and gratuitous nudity, if you like. But right now, just this one little cat story…….
So....About 5 months ago, I started noticing this grey kitten living in the bushes at a construction site around the corner from where I live. When I first saw him, he was probably about 4 months old and so thin that his cheeks were sunken in. I was so worried about him, but he wouldn't let me get anywhere near him; so I'd leave food for him and send him good energy hoping on some level he'd figure I was looking out for his best interests.
Then I had a very vivid dream where some of the feral cats I'd seen around the neighborhood were in front of my house and gathered around the grey kitten who was sitting on one of the wooden chairs out front. It was one of those dreams that effected me in such a way that when I woke up, I was sort of "stained" by the dream all day long. Certainly not a dream up for Jungian interpretation - This one wasn't about me. The dream haunted me so much that in an If You Build It They Will Come kind of way, I started putting dry cat food in a dish under the table out front. Just in case.
Sure enough, two nights later at about 1:00 AM, my cats were causing a bit of a commotion at the front window. I went to see what they were looking at, and there eating the food, was one of the feral cats from my dream, and the little grey kitten.
The next morning, I looked out the window and there was the grey kitten looking up at me. I went outside and he wouldn't come near me, but I left him a dish of canned food right next to the dish of dry. After he'd had his breakfast he disappeared, but he was back at the same time the next morning. I could see he was putting on a bit of weight, and I was relieved to see that. This went on for about a week, until one day I saw him playing with our cats in the afternoon. They were all hanging out together, completely comfortable in each other's presence. It was hot outside and I had the front window open and my cats were running in and out. I was busy working when suddenly I looked down and saw that the grey kitten was in the living room with the other cats. I stealthily ran over to the window and shut it as fast as I could so he couldn't get out. He saw me doing it, went into a panic and jumped at the window a few times trying to escape, then he ran under the couch and cowered there in the dark. I had this strange moment where I felt guilty that I was locking him in against his will, but then I thought better of it. If I had him inside, at least I'd know he was safe and well fed. I had to make the call that I knew what was good for this kitten better than he did. That night I happened to look out the window again and I saw the feral cats that had brought him. They were looking up at the window, but they walked away when I opened the front door. It was as if they were just checking to see that their kitten was alright. I don't think they've been back since then, but I keep the dish under the table out front filled with dry cat food every day just in case. Someone's been eating it, so it's important that it's there, I think.
Now inside, the kitten was eating a lot, had figured out the whole sandbox system perfectly, and was getting along with the other cats, but was still living under the couch. This went on for about two weeks. Finally, I got him to venture out by rolling one of the cat toy balls across the floor. He heard the sound (all our cat toys make sounds to accommodate Martha, our blind cat) and then forgot all his fear to come out and investigate it. He had never seen a toy before (I guess there isn't really much call for toys when cats are fighting for survival on the streets), and devoted all his time to it.
Every day we'd try to get closer to him, and little by little he started to calm down and trust us. We gave him a name; Bram – and right away he knew that that was him. He's a very smart little guy. Bram would watch as the other cats sat next to us and on us, and he got braver and braver until one day he jumped up into my lap, and that was it: I fell immediately and hopelessly in love with him, and he became an affection junky and now we've got this mutual codependent thing going on.
Right now as I write this, he's sleeping in our laundry basket, which is like saying, "you are my family" in cat language. As for me, I can't stop kissing him every chance I get. So now we are a household with 6 cats, 2 rabbits, 3 gerbils, 2 dwarf hamsters and also 2 humans.
Some people, including some so-called "experts" on cats, will tell you that you cannot tame a feral cat over the age of 2 months. All I can say is that they are wrong, wrong wrong. All cats – infact all creatures – respond to love. The proof is sitting in my laundry basket.