Our little feral cat isn’t quite so feral anymore. All of the cats have, generally, been quite skittish around strange people. They’ve been getting better recently, and visitors will often get to see some of the cats if they’re here. Momma Cat is the one that is very suspicious of humans. Given she was an adult feral, this isn’t surprising.
Even she, though, is starting to cope with humans that don’t live in her house.
A few weeks ago, Steve’s mum and step-dad were here. The cats hid upstairs for the first 24 hours or so. Then they decided this was boring, so they came down and visited from a distance. After another few days, Momma Cat adopted Mike’s lap and decided that these people might be strange but they weren’t scary cat eating monsters.
We were amazed and pleased with how quickly she settled down and were amazed at her appropriation of Mike’s lap.
What was even more incredible was her acceptance of friends that were only here for a few hours. On Thursday we brought some folks home from MAAWG to have dinner between the end of the conference and when they needed to be at the airport. Cats started wandering down to see us quite rapidly, and the cat at the front of the pack was Momma Cat. Not only that, everyone was allowed to pet her. After the other humans had provided sufficient adoration she came over and settled down on my lap to watch what was going on.
We’ve watched this cat blossom from a very shy feral that would run if she noticed us looking at her through the window to a confident, social house cat. It’s been amazing.
A lot of experienced cat rescuers will tell you that socializing a feral is difficult and you may never be able to fully socialize an adult feral. I don’t think they’re wrong. I mean, we did it but I think it’s mostly because of how amazing this little cat is. All we did was provide her with a safe, welcoming environment. We let her move at her own pace and socialize herself with us.
It’s been fun to watch her adapt herself. She leaps into a new behaviour and then decides it’s all OK and settles in. She was, for a long time, an outdoor cat. Then she started coming in and was comfortable when the door was open. We pushed things by shutting the door and she figured out that the door would open when she asked to go back outside, so then the door being closed was OK.
For a long time, she still wanted to sleep outside. Then, one night, she never asked to go out. It was midnight and we were tired and she showed no interest in going outside. So we went to bed and set the alarm to go off in a few hours to see if she was ready to go out before morning. She was settled and slept well that night, us humans not so much. Since that night she has spent one night outside and that was just a mistake on the part of the humans and the cat.
To be honest, every time she makes one of these leaps I am surprised and think there’s no where further for her to go. I mean, had anyone told me she’d be the first cat down to meet and greet company I’d have laughed. I’m still not sure this is going to happen the next time we have company. But, wow, it’s been so much fun watching her grow and socialize and actively decide that this whole being a house cat is way better than being an outside feral cat.
I wonder how she’ll surprise me next.