The problem with living on a farm is that people often abandon their cats. The mother of two of my cats appeared to have been abandoned here long before my wife and I moved in, and was totally wild.
This is what happened to two of her kittens.
Winters in Canada get well below freezing, a litter was born to a very wild cat whom we would not see more than four times in a year. She would come onto our deck late at night, or more likely in the wee hours of the morning to eat from the bowl of cat food set out for our barn cats (and apparently a skunk whom also made nightly visits). One morning when we awoke she ran off in a flash leaving behind two wee kittens.
My wife caught the one kitten, a tabby with white, the other was fierce, and myself not as familiar with handling wild kittens, it got away.
We named the first kitten Kafka, my wife spent her time taming him. He was quite a hissy thing, approximately 5 weeks of age, but was fully tame in a week or two. When he was old enough he got neutered. We wondered what became of the other kitten, and assumed it died in the winter, as it was not seen.
Kafka, probably a month after we got him. January 2009.
The following summer one early morning my wife spotted a beautiful, fluffy, gray and white cat sitting on our deck, as soon as it saw her, the cat fled. It was several months before it was seen again. In fact it was until winter returned that the kitten showed itself, hungry for the food.
My wife and her daughter are the first up in the morning, about the only time the kitten (well now a year old) would come around. It ran every time, but the days kept getting colder, and colder, and the hungry kitten was soon bribed to come closer and closer with food.
Now I should say we have rescued a few wild/feral cats/kittens before, and usually put them in a bathroom for a a while to be tamed. As such the bathroom was ready and waiting for this rascal to be caught and put in there. They are usually very feisty, tough to hold, and freak out!
One morning though, this cat whom had never been handled, allowed my step daughter to pick him up. My wife opened the door, and into the bathroom he was going to go. I say “WAS” because an odd thing happened. The kitten totally allowed himself to be held, in fact he pretty much accepted being part of the family right away.
Rilke – (note the scratch on his nose) summer 2010.
You might think he had an owner somewhere and was actually tame, but where we live we know this is not the case. He had been living totally wild for that past year. His legs were shorter than his brothers, probably from a lack of nutrition while growing up, but more so his social skills are very lacking.
While all the other cats have learned to get along with each other (all are fixed) this poor fella never has. He is always getting into fights with one cat or another. It is quite apparent he really does not have proper brain function, again probably related to not having enough early nutrition.
He behaves more like a dog, being very needy of attention at all times, often meowing constantly. It breaks my heart every time I think how close we were to catching him before hand and that if he had of been caught then, he might be “Normal”. I named him Rilke, and although he is full grown, his stunted size makes him look like a kitten.
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Published in: Pets