Saturday’s Share: Formerly Feral Felines

Early spring, 2013. Baby, the tabby, and Squeak, the tortoiseshell, had been with us for a few months.

Welcome to Saturday’s Share – Reflections and impressions inspired by and celebrating images from daily life, to add a bit of sparkle to the weekend. Happy Saturday!

Has a critter ever wandered or crept furtively into your home and your heart, giving up a wild existence to share your life?

Last fall, we decided to welcome two mostly-feral feline sisters, Squeak and Srindi, into our family. They were living on my friend Eden Mabee’s deck with their mother and a third sister – a ticking reproductive time bomb waiting to go off – and our beloved Margot the Manx had died a few weeks before.

Just two weeks before we planned to move them, the children were playing in the leaves in our backyard, which borders a strip of woodland. Annalise came running up to the house to tell me they had found a kitten. I thought it was likely some neighbor’s new pet, but went out to see.

What they had was a tiny scrap of tabby fluff – maybe six weeks old – who could curl comfortably in the palm of my hand. She was shaking, and weighed almost nothing – her ribs were right under her fuzzy baby coat.

I thought she must belong to someone – but, even if she did, the condition she was in made it clear that it wasn’t a fit home. Near-freezing temperatures and icy rain were predicted for that night; we could not leave her out there to take her chances.

The way she acted, once we brought her inside and gave her a dab from a can of food Margot left behind, suggested that she had never been with people, or inside a house, before. We can only marvel at how she survived, and wonder what gave her the courage to walk up to the kids and plop herself in Jeremiah’s lap.

So, instead of two, there were three, for a while.

Squeak spent a couple of months ghosting around underneath things, and Srindi holed up in my office.

Eventually, Squeak became comfortable enough that we could touch her, as she claimed more and more of the more visible areas of our house.

Srindi liked Jeremiah, but never truly took to the rest of us, and, shortly after she discovered Corki’s dog door, she vanished, in the way of country cats. There are coyotes in the woods; I hear their singing many nights. There are hawks and owls – we will never know, most likely, what happened, only that it did…she was a cat in love with food, and we keep the feeding dish full.

And now there are two.

Squeak and Baby are family. For all her independent beginning, and the way she avoided us with tremendous vigor when she first arrived, Squeak has turned out to be almost as affectionate as a dog. She greets me each morning, follows me in the house and yard, and lets me know she missed me when I travel. She climbs on my lap when she wants to snuggle, shoving my computer out of her way. She’s an athlete, with a large, svelte, pantherish frame -her leaping range is phenomenal!

Baby is a wild child. Newly a cat, she is still a kitten inside. She has a deep passion for the bathtub, for reasons we haven’t yet figured out, and, lately, she’s decided that anyone sitting on the toilet wants her sitting on their lap! She’s a born clown. One of her favorite pastimes is tearing through the house at top speed, to crash land on whatever surface finally gets in her way.

They are at home here, and at their ease. It wasn’t instantaneous, and there are still some wrinkles – Squeak tolerates my touch and handling far better than Jim’s or the children’s; Baby plays in attack mode, claws ready to do serious damage. But, in less than a year, they have come to trust us, and want to spend time with us, and that warms me from the inside out, like a purring, furry body curled up next to me.

Do you have a stray-pet story to share? A photo? I love animals, and would love to know about your non-human family members. After all, Saturdays are for sharing! =D

And, this week, let’s finish with a Soft Kitty Treat!

2 comments

  1. We’ve had several stray dogs and cats through the years. We live way out in the country, and it’s a dumping ground for animals. I want to smack people when I see a starved animal come to our house. But we always keep them.

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