The four kittens made their appearance in the fall of 2012, having spent their first weeks of life in the barn. One was a gray striped, two were black and white and one was black with a little patch of white on her neck. It seems when there are cats in the barn and underneath the house more cats appear. In the spring there were at least ten cats on the property!
So we had a surplus of cats! Most were feral cats, some had been dropped off, some had just wondered there, and a few, like the original four, had been born. We had a Rose of Sharon tree beside the patio. And one day, I happened to look out of the storm door and every one of those cats was perched on the branches of that tree. It was our own tree of cats!
But very soon, the cats started to disappear! Whether it was coyotes, or dogs, or maybe they just wandered off to a new home, very soon there was only the black cat left.
I called her Sasha, she was a friendly cat and seemed to be contented with her surroundings. I would often sit on the patio and watch her as she played. I never petted her much, she was kind of aloof, but I could tell she was a sweet-natured cat!
So in the fall of 2013, Sasha had two kittens. Both were identical to her Momma. I believe they were born a few days before Halloween. On November 7, 2013, I happened to hear the crying of a kitten. I looked out of the storm door, and there was a tiny little kitten, barely able to walk! Sasha stood by her, seemingly oblivious to the kittens crying. And then Sasha went away, leaving her baby.
I believe Sasha brought her up the two steps to my door because she trusted me to take care of her kitten! Maybe she understood that this kitten was a particularly temperamental cat, a not so sociable cat!
I picked her up and brought her into the house. Got her some warm milk and fed her by sticking my finger in the milk. She kept on crying! I kept this ritual for almost a week, but she continually cried. I found an old black sock and rubbed it against her mother and put it in a basket. It seemed to work, she laid down by the sock and went to sleep! I had found a plastic bottle, a hair color applicator bottle, washed it about a dozen times. It seemed to work!
As the weeks passed, she grew and seemed to flourish. But she never let me pet her, I never heard her purr! In fact, she would attack me anytime she could, jumping on my back sometimes, biting my feet, scratching me when I got close. This was an everyday occurrence, sometimes happening three or four times a day! She wouldn’t let me pick her up. I bought a cage to keep her in at night, to keep her from biting my head at night! Now I have had cats attack my feet, before, but I never had one pull my hair and bite my head at night. I became so frustrated, but there was one thing that boosted my optimism! In the morning, when I would release her from her cage, she would come up to me and standing on her hind legs, touched my knee as if to say, “Thanks”! Then she would run away and the attacks would begin again!
It wasn’t always a struggle with Eby, short for Ebony. There was a plastic tree in a pot by the window in the living room. Eby would sometimes ‘hide’ among the branches. I began to try to play a game, “Where’s the Kitty”. I would say “Where’s the Kitty”, when she was ‘hiding’ among the branches. Eby would get into her pouncing stance, and jump on the couch, run to me, then jump on the floor, and hide behind the chair! I would shout “There she is”, and we would play for quite a while.
But she still would not let me pet her and would never purr.
And the attacks continued! One time in particular was pretty serious. Eby was lying on the floor and I happened to walk by. Maybe I walk too close, scaring her, but she scratched my foot and then bit it! It was pretty deep. Eby ran into the other room and stared at me. I was really scared at that moment and so frustrated. I just wanted her to accept me!
At that time, Charlie came on the scene. Charlie was a huge black and white cat with the most beautiful sea-green eyes. And he was the most gentile, sweet cat I have ever known. And he would be the father to Eby’s babies.
It is strange that when things seem to be getting worse, then things turn around. One day in September, I had left for a visit with my mother. I was gone all day. That evening I sat on the couch, watching T.V. when Eby climbed on my lap and snuggled under my sweater. She laid there for quite awhile as I petted her and she began to purr. She fell asleep, purring, on my lap. It was a very joyful day for me, Eby had finally come home!
The next morning I looked for her, I had stopped putting her in a cage, but I couldn’t find her. Looking behind the dresser in the bedroom, I found her with three little kittens. Two were black and white, like their daddy, and the other was a beautiful buff. She looked at me and then did something amazing, at least to me. She looked at each of her babies as she touched them on the head, one by one! It was as if she blessed them! I felt honored that she shared that moment with me.
Eby is seven years old now and has calmed down. I believe she is contented with her home. And I believe she sees me as her mother. But there are times the “not so sociable cat” makes an appearance! When that happens, I just stand back and give her space.