The Peace Makers
(Toms River, N.J. USA)
Last August there were 5 kittens living behind my business. They would sometimes play under and around pine trees that are behind my building.
One of the kittens seemed to be on the small side compared to her siblings. I bought a bag of kitten chow and began setting out a pan of kitten food and a fresh bowl of water each morning.
After a few days of doing this, and calling to them " here kitty kitty" they began to appear from an area where we store old used tires each time I called. I figured they were probably born and or living in the tires which would provide a little safety and some protection from the elements.
All the kittens would run if I approached less then ten or fifteen feet near them except for one. She was half the size of the others and her hair looked like one of those punk rocker hair do's, and I noticed she walked a little stiff legged with her hind legs. She would allow me to get within a few feet of her while she was eating though she kept a wary eye on me.
Well one day I threw a blanket over her and brought her into my building, my customer waiting room to be exact. I had an old dog cage and I put her in there with a clean towel to lay on and food and water and a small litter box. And so began my learning experience taming and raising a very wild feral kitten.
After cleaning her up with two baths in my sink using welding gloves to save my hands,I took her to be checked out by a vet. The diagnosis was she has been under nourished and flea and worm infested, and she was small for her age. The Vet guessed 7-8 weeks old. She only weighed 1.2 pounds and She could fit in one hand. The Vet gave her shots and flea and worm medicine and in no time she began to gain weight and her stiff legs loosened.I had her spayed, and her wild attitude lessened, but for the first six to seven months she bit me and scratched me many times.
I didn't have much experience with cats, though when younger I raised and trained German shepherds and had numerous animals. I read all I could from the internet including a helpful book called kittens for Dummies. I spent all day with this cat. Took her to work and took her home, and weather permitting she would take rides with me to the stores. She likes riding in the car.
As time went on she calmed down somewhat, but it seemed that I could get bit or scratched for no reason at all. Her name is Lizzy, but my wife who hates this cat now refers to her as "the psycho cat". I wasn't about to give up so easy,and I just kept showing her affection and patience. I learned to read her tail language, which as I have to laugh at myself now, is opposite a German Shepherd.
Three months ago just before I was going home someone put a cardboard box taped up with duct tape at my front door. Inside I found two small kittens silently staring at me. Well I got the glove and slowly reached into the box and the kittens came to the glove and began to lick it and both were purring so loudly. You can imagine my relief when these two cats didn't also want to eat my fingers. Again in the dog cage they went for about a week, and off to the Vet. I must have asked literally more then a hundred customers if they wanted these two little very friendly cats, but no takers. Back to the book and again on the internet I learned how to introduce these kittens to my now semi wild cat, who growled, hist, and spit at the cage even though I covered it so she couldn't look in. She now accepts these kittens and they are the two friendliest cats I could imagine anyone having. One is an orange type tabby and the other is an orange and white, but looks and acts more like the oriental cats Ive seen on the net. I named them Ace and Butch. Ace being the smarter, was the first to break the ice with Lizzy by grooming her even though she kept growling at him. Finally after several episodes of this Ace spent almost twenty minutes one day grooming my feral until she turned around and began to groom him back. The book said that means they are friends. Butch took a little longer,but now they play and greet and groom each other.
Lizzy has been changing, and for the better. She hasn't bit me in almost two months, and twice she jumped into my lap looking for some affection. She never did that before, and she purrs , something I hardly ever heard from her.
And so it seems I now own three cats. Lizzy seems pleased with her cat company, and the two Kittens are so loving I'm pleased too.
Update from "The Peace Makers"
by Rick Reineke
(Toms River N.J.)
Just wanted to drop a short note updating on my three cats, Lizzy my former feral female, Ace, and Butch my two new angel male kittens. The Peace Makers
The two kittens have turned out to be the most loving cats you could imagine. Ace runs to me whenever he is greeting me rolls over and wants me to scratch his belly. Butch likes to ride on my shoulder or to be carried in my arms as I walk around the house. Lizzy my formerly aggressive female now greets me also every morning purring and looking for a little affection. At the moment she is sitting on my desk while I type this and is purring. She has gone from hissing, growling, scratching, and biting me to now following me around to stay close to me.
If you have rescued an aggressive feral kitten do not loose patience with your cat. Just continue to show it affection, and most importantly don't try to force her, or him to do anything they don't want to do.
Eventually, they will come around. Mine took me almost eighteen months to really settle down with me. I'm sure as time goes on you would never believe she was ever a wild cat.
Rick from Toms River NJ