Friday, December 19, 2008

Call me Sucker

This is Twilight. Twilight is a cat. A feral cat. A feral cat that mews piteously. We live in a rural-ish subdivision. The lots are all about 2 acres. There are a lot of feral cats in the area; it goes with the territory of lots of farms. We see them hunting around us all the time. They stay out of our way, we stay out of theirs. All's right with the world.

Except for this guy. Although he looks young, we are pretty sure we've seen him hunting in the back yard for awhile. We've even seen him have a close encounter, nose-to-nose, with some deer, which didn't faze either species in the slightest, but left us grinning.

So why, we have to wonder, is he suddenly appearing next to our front door? He shows up, very vocal, letting us know he wants something...but not our touch. Oh, no. "Hisssst!" says Twilight. Yes, we named him. He's a lovely glossy black with just a soupcon of white hair on his chest that, in my whimsical moments, I refer to as his 'stardust.' See the blog title.

It's been getting bitterly cold some days and nights here, and we were worried. While he's made a nice little nest for himself under the bushes you see here, wrapped in some llama fur that wasn't good enough to spin and is now acting as mulch, the weather has been wet and foul. So one morning, I snuck him a handful of dog kibble. He ate it quickly, as soon as I got out of touching range. Feeling like a sap for encouraging him, I confessed to the DH. Turns out I married another sap...he'd already slipped him some that morning too. Bowing to the inevitable, I added a bowl of water to the mix.

A couple of days of this (much to the dogs' dismay; they don't like depredation of their food), and suddenly I am the proud owner of a bag of Little Friskies. But if I'm gonna feed this critter, I'm going to try to tame him to hand, at least. So one freezing night, I kneel on the concrete porch (I refer you once again to the blog title), and strew a couple pieces of kibble, holding the rest in my hand. Twilight eats the pieces on the porch, although he's obviously not happy that my hand is so close. He paces, scratching himself on the bush and rubbing against a planter. I make vaguely encouraging sounds, and he eventually takes a bit from my fingers, nibbling ever-so-gently on my thumb too. A few days of this, and he readily comes to feed from our hands, but still doesn't want to be touched. HISSST! he reminds us.

Every once in awhile we get a stroke in while he's distracted. The dogs are distracting, we find. None of them threaten him, although his back may go up if they bound up too quickly. Twilight and Jack especially like one another. They even do some rudimentary playing when we can get the other two out of the way. DH found he could touch the cat if he was otherwise occupied. So I decided to get a bit bolder. I cupped both my hands, with food only in one. As Twilight ate from my right, I scratched under his chin with my left. He was too greedy to object. He's incredibly soft and glossy for a cat that has been living in the rough.

Now he paces in front of the door, impatiently waiting for us to come out and meowing. He'll sleep up in a Rubbermaid container we have on the front porch that has some odds and ends in it, with a furniture cover on the top. He likes to sun there. He seems tempted to come in but won't, and that's probably just as well at this point. IF we can get him comfortable enough with us down the road, we'll try to get him to a vet for shots and neutering. But that's a big if.

Oh, and the biggest reason I'm a sucker? Although I had a gorgeous black cat growing up, now I'm highly allergic to cats. Breathing trouble, sneezing, eyes swelling shut...all of it. So why am I caring for this cat instead of calling animal control?

You guessed it. Sucker.


Maggie's Farm said...

God Bless You and Your Husband, Diana! Your kitty story brought tears to my eyes. Now he is no longer feral - he belongs to you. Please don't stop feeding him. Glad I found your blog...

Rosemarie Buchanan said...

As the rescuer of six cats (achoo!) who are all strictly indoor, I applaud you (I'd be applauding you anyway, just "because").

You are doing the right, and righteous, thing. Did you check out my last blog post? That's the story of Kitty #6!


p.s. Thanks for the card, by the way! It was a nice surprise!