When I say stray cat, your mind probably wonders to the perhaps the cat you feed on the back deck or the cat you pass by on the street every day on your way to work, but when I say feral cat your mind probably thinks of a mangy looking creature that is the posterchild for being a crazed monster cat. But again this is your mind playing tricks on you. Even demons come in the cutest wrappers.
I got my first feral cat, years ago, 4 years give or take if you want the exact time. I lost my domesticated cat, I’d grown up with him my whole life. Bless him, he was a perfect fur baby! I was lost as to what I would do now, I wanted a dog, but my mother already had one I couldn’t bring home with me. He was too old and it wasn’t fair to split him from his brother after eight years together. Not to mention we weren’t allowed to have our dog at home because the man she had been dating was highly allergic to all furry friends. Somehow we had gotten away with the cat, but now he was gone. About three months after the cat, six died, my mother's boyfriend split. This meant I could now have another pet.
This gave me an idea when this idea finally came to be, we had lost my dog's brother and my dog was lonely. But halfway across the city we lived, was my grandparent's new dog. We were friendly with the person who’s dogs had the puppies and that’s when I met my match! Kittens, wild kittens! My teenage brain wanted one instantly, this was my chance, they or one needed a home and I needed a cat. It took me a month to work my mother over to the point where she wasn’t really happy about it, but she said: “If you can catch it, you can keep it.”
My teenage heart soared! Catching him was the part that proved to be difficult, after three days of visits and trying to catch him, I did it. Now let’s backtrack a little bit before I actually got him. My mother didn’t want a male cat. Assuming I had grabbed a female he came home with us, this is where things got hairy.
Zelda, whom I named after my love for Zelda games, should have been called Link. My new best friend was not female but male. Zelda kept his name however, I refused to change it! Two tiny little balls had dropped over the three months I owned him and I was not the only one who noticed. Mom too had noticed.
Mom really wasn’t mad about him being a him, she just said now he was going to have a temper because 1) he was wild 2) he was going to be flooded with hormones (testosterone).
And oh boy did I find out about that temper of his. But this wasn’t until 2 years later. Peace was heavy in the land of Zelda, we didn’t have any issues and he was a perfect cat, he had a few strange moments but overall he was again normal.
Two years passed and we moved. It was only 3 months into the move when he started to change. Balls having fully dropped my poor cat was a sea of hormones and he often took things to far when we played and I was the loser in the game of teeth and claws.
One particular day was by far the worst. Zelda had gotten out and was hunting birds and when I found him, I wanted things to be sunshine and butterflies. But this was not the case, when I picked my cat up off the grass I scarred him and he turned and bit straight into my forearm. Ouch.
Much blood and funky scar later, I got him fixed. To help combat the heat issues that had him busting out my window after the next fine lady to meow by.
Getting him fixed changed a lot of things, one being his attitude towards me. Where he had loved me like a crazy ex-girlfriend before now he was loving me much nicer with no biting. Getting him fixed had made me sad because I didn’t want him to have to go through that pain but now it had proved to be the best thing I could have done.
Things I’ve learned since then about wild cats:
- Don’t expect sunshine and rainbows when getting something that once ate from a trash can.
- There WILL be bad days!
- Try every option, it’s worth it!
- Don’t give up! You are the only one who’s ever believed in your cat! It needs you.
- Your cat is NOT EVIL, just troubled.
- Wild cats are loyal, they will love you unconditionally.
Going from here all I can say is saving Zelda also saved me, and it didn’t stop me from getting more wild cats to love unconditionally. I don’t regret a moment I spent saving and helping him even in his troubled times. I didn’t give up on him because he wouldn’t give up on me!