By Spring Break, all of Kzingirl’s cats except the two ferals had been adopted. Since probably no one else will adopt them, I had them flown from California to my home in Indiana.
I was pretty worried about this. Mama Kitty needs to be given hyperthyroid medication every day. How am I supposed to give a pill to a feral cat who won’t let me touch her? Are these cats just going to hiss and spit at me all the time? Will they be like poor schizophrenic Aunt Clara, kept in a straitjacket and locked in the attic?
I prepared a room in the back of the house for them. I put in a rug and set up a table and hung a blanket over it, so everything would be soft. I put food dishes under the table so they could feel safe when eating. I put boxes in each corner of the room, one cat’s width away from the walls, so they’d have plenty of hiding places with two exits. (Cats prefer not to hide in dead ends.) I put a litter box behind a large box, so they could feel safe when using the litter box.
The cats arrived remarkably calm, considering they’d just flown 2,000 miles and been driven in a car for another 50. I put their carriers into their room, locked the door so the other cats couldn’t come in, and sat with them about ten minutes. When I opened the carrier doors, Sondra actually let me pet her on the way out! Mama Kitty took a while to come out, but then she started exploring. Both happily ate the food I gave them.
It turns out that the medication is not a big problem. Mama Kitty eats her pill every day by having it put into a little bit of canned food. It’s a morning ritual that she’s come to expect. She comes looking for me if I’m late.
Sondra has let me pet her a bunch of times. She usually tries to run away when I try to pet her, but once I start, she stops running away and enjoys it, arching her back and purring just like an ordinary domestic cat.
Mama Kitty will not let me touch her. She has always been extremely cautious. However, she occasionally touches me with her nose or a paw. If I hold out my finger at nose level, she usually walks to my finger and greets me (the way cats greet by sniffing each other’s noses).
There has been almost no hissing or growling, and they get along fine with all the other cats. I think the folks at Domotor’s Animal House must have done an extraordinary job taking care of them. They are both much friendlier and tamer than when I knew them at Kzingirl’s house.
They seem quite happy. I see them walking around with their tails up. A couple days ago, Mama Kitty was sprawled out on the couch, relaxing in luxury just like any domestic cat, even though I was sitting not far away and Big Boy was perched on the back of the couch. I don’t have as rich interaction with them as I do with the cats who were raised around humans, but they are actually very nice pets. Actually, it’s nice that they enjoy themselves so well without constantly trying to get my attention (unlike, er, Jerome and Shedubi).