Now you’ve met all of our fuzzy friends!
This is the story of my friend Hermione.
Hermione was a feral cat. She got pregnant during her first heat, and gave birth to her first litter before she turned a year old. She and her kittens would have starved to death, if she was not picked up by Feral Cat Assistance & Trapping and Friends of the Animals Foundation. They brought her to me because I was fostering another newborn kitten who needed a mom. She adopted the kitten as soon as he was introduced. That same night, she let me pet her.
Animal rescue is hard, sad and often disappointing work. A completely feral cat who lets you pet her on the first night is almost unheard of. I am not an inexperienced foster mom. I have been working with stray and feral cats since I was in high school. I found my previous experience was a problem, because I kept on trying to do the ‘right thing’ vs. the things I needed to do for her. I let her out of the crate after she had lived with me for a couple of days because I could not help but feel that she would react differently. She ran under my bed, but not to the darkest out of the way corner she could find. I used to lay in bed while at my computer, and she sat right beneath me and spoke to me. Most feral cat’s don’t tell you how they are feeling. They don’t look to humans for comfort. She did. A week later I woke up to find her snuggling with me. She had moved her kittens next to me while I slept. After I woke up she left, but kept her kittens there. Every time I tried to move them back to the crate I would find them on my bed again. That was the start of our friendship.
You would think that introducing another cat into a three cat house would cause a great deal of stress, but Hermione surprised us there too. Our other three cats were happier with her in their midst. What had previously been three cats tolerating each other, became four cats mildly enjoying each other.
Despite raising her litter and adopting another, Hermione never passed any of her adoption tests. I don’t even know why I asked them to try and reintroduce her. I should have recognized that she belonged with us. Handing her away to the rescuers was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. When they brought her back, I could not snatch her crate out of their hands fast enough.
I am not one of those people who likes to place human thoughts on animals. Cats are cats, dogs are dogs. They have their own way of communicating with each other, their own kind of emotions, their own ways of thinking and their own personalities. The only thing I did with Hermione was respect her. I did not do anything special. I communicated with her in kitty language and I was respectful of her feelings. She was the one to choose to meet me in the middle. She spent the first six months approaching various human things, discovering what they were about, and forcing herself to get used to them. She would spend a lot of time running away, and you could see the frustration in her expression as she cooled down, and headed back to the thing that she ran away from. As I write this I am watching Angry Joe from Channel Awesome. Hermione is next to me, on her back with her belly exposed. The video is loud and annoying, and she is not bothered by it at all. It took her six months of hard work to be able to get to the point where she could do this. She choose to work on this because she wanted to be close to me when I was watching videos.
Her current goal is trying to get used to my family when we watch football. This is hard for her, but I have no doubt she will eventually get there.
Hermione met Yuji, and she choose him. All cats choose one person, and while we are best friends, the human she chose was not me. She sleeps with him every night and she even grooms him after he gets out of the shower.
Sad, but choosing Yuji does not diminish the friendship we have for each other 🙂 I have no words to express the love I feel for this cat. She does so many unique quirky things! We won’t be able to keep her out of our comics.
The tongue sticking out thing btw? Cute, but unfortunately was caused by her kittens. While she was nursing, her calcium levels dropped to the point where her teeth started to fall out.