Archive for the 'Cat Socialization' Category

Summer Project Successfully Concludes

amywink September 22nd, 2013


My summer project was an unusual one and though I write about my life with horses and dogs, the newest project to come my way involved cats. It really started sometime in the middle of winter, when a little black and white yard phantom arrived in our bushes, shy and almost wild. By February, of course, she was pregnant but willing to come closer for food, if I remained at least 6 feet away. “Little Cat” had her kittens sometime in mid-April, disappearing for 2 days, then reappearing thin and ravenous. I upped the anti and started feeding cat crack, Fancy Feast, and over the next month, I was slowly able to get closer and closer, eventually stroking her side as she ate. I kept telling her “bring us your babies” but she kept those kittens hidden and moving. Eventually, she believed me, and the kittens arrived in our driveway in mid-May.

4 kittens, in various shades of smokey-black and white–one with markings exactly like his mother’s and father’s. I continued the slow, slow, slow desensitization and when she started to move the kittens next, marching them across our front walk and porch, I made my move and started capturing each of the frightened and soon-to-be wild kittens. Once they were in the crate, I waited until Little Cat came closer and decided for herself, and walked right in. That night, it poured down rain. Her timing was impeccable.

Little Cat and the 4 kittens– Emerson, Celeste, Dickens, and Hope– set up shop in the giant dog crate I had in the garage. The shelters were full and getting fuller. At one point, the estimated number of available cats at the Austin Animal Center: 900. And thus I had 5 new cats and a summer project. After a vet trip, vaccines and spaying, Little Cat (est. age, 9 months) revealed that she was starved for affection as much as anything else, changing from the cat I couldn’t touch to one who wanted petting all the time. She had some over-stimulation issues to work out, some fear, but she was making up for lost time. The kittens slowly came around as well, learning to cope with Lily, who was an Excellent Cat Friend, and the other resident, Phoebe and Henry. I placed Emerson and Celeste, with a dear friend:




By mid summer, however, it was pretty clear I had 3 new cats.



and their mother, Calliope, who had a lot of adjusting to do.

But this week, after four months of slow, calm, quiet work, Calliope has been able to come inside, where she has decided she has always belonged.