Monday, September 21, 2009

Two of my cats are brothers and were born wild from a feral mom who refused to ever tame. She absolutely hated humans with a terrifying vengeance. Somebody must have done something awful to her. I think she was born wild, then terrified by humans, and became pregnant while starving.

So sad.

I fed her throughout her pregnancy. She couldn't have weighed more than 2 pounds when she started showing. She hated me. Loathed me. Despised me. But she showed up and ate the proffered food, left outdoors.

One day she vanished, but the food kept disappearing. Then my neighbor, who was aware of the situation, brought it to my attention that she was living in a big discarded pile of wood behind our apartment building. I guess she had made a nursery in there somewhere and had her kittens.

My neighbor spent hours watching the woodpile for signs of life. She reported to me there were 3 kittens, all tabbies. She had seen them poking out of the woodpile now and then. Each one was marked slightly differently.

I was drunk or high or something when I told my neighbor if she caught the kittens, I would tame them.

WHAT was I thinking?

Weeks later, my neighbor was real excited, she had seen a 4th kitten and he was solid black. I am a softie to black kitties, I've had several in my lifetime, maybe because so many are superstitious, they are often the last to be adopted and there I am, offering myself up for adoption. (Humans don't adopt cats, cats adopt them!)

Another day, much to my horror, my neighbor showed up with a cage full of four angry kittens. They were now almost the same size as their diminutive mother.

I am a person of my word, sad to say. So I felt obliged to keep my drunken promise. At that point and time, Internet was still new and not much there to be found about how to tame super wild mean hissing, spitting, clawing, biting, frightening kittens.

We closed up the exits to the apartment, and like a FOOL, turned the kittens loose. Instead of cute little fluffs coming for comfort, they ran and scrambled and HID. Over the next few months, they escaped a few times and went back to being feral. My neighbor would dutifully recapture them by luring them back to the cage with tuna. She would bring them back to me.

Finally I tamed them and found two of them homes and kept two. They were only briefly playful and only with each other, having mock battles and wrestling now and then. Being feral, they didn't get it about toys. You could wiggle feathery things around on a stick or a string and they would stare at you blankly, like "And the point is?"

Mostly they ignored me but ate the food. Matter of fact, they would eat just about anything! I was working as a private chef then and came home with all manner of exotic plate scrapings from work and they devoured it quickly as if they hadn't ate in weeks.

Finally they were big enough and getting a bit rambunctious around the small apartment, so I started propping the front door open. They would venture out to the common hallway, then get spooked and race back in and hide.

They hid from everyone except me, my boyfriend and my neighbor. Friends thought I had imaginary kittens and was losing my mind. They woudl visit and listen to my endless kitten tales, and look around the apartment and see absolutely no kittens, only a lonely feed bowl and water.

Eventually, the kitties worked up their courage to go outside and they quickly, much to my relief, abandoned the litter box for the great outdoors. Boy was I ever thrilled to toss that thing out with the garbage.

I would terrify them whenever they got near cars or the road. I didn't want pancake cats after all the suffering I'd been through taming them. (That's a whole 'nother story, in itself that involves welding gloves...)

One day a 3rd kitten was brought over for me to cat sit for a few weeks. He came with a trust fund. I thought this a tad odd. That is until I realized the owners were never coming back. I was hopping mad that somebody had taken yet advantage of me, again. I don't think of myself as stupid, but mean people have taken advantage of my good nature more than many times. I didn't want three cats, I didn't want two. I just wanted one little ball of fluff to play with and be my friend. Instead I ended up with two that ignored me, refused to play and a third who didn't understand why the other two were so weird.

The new kitten was tame and extremely playful. He immediately claimed all the toys and had a blast while the other two gave him strange looks. He would try to engage them in play with his toys, but they gave him looks as if he had landed from Mars.

Sometimes when I walked to the store, all three would follow me there and back. Just me and my cats, walking to the store. It was comical. If we passed anyone, the three would run and hide until the person was far away, then pop out of the bushes and resume following me down the side of the road. When cars came by, I would chase them off the road and stand still, until the car passed. Then they would timidly start following me again.

I never thought cats had a sense of humor, but oh, THEY DO!

One day we were walking across this grassy area that had a fallen palm frond. It fluttered in the wind and the tame kitten began playing with it. The two brothers rolled their eyes. They didn't play with a thing unless it was alive, such as a rat, mouse, snake or lizard. They gave me looks as if to say "That kitten isn't right in the head!"

I picked up the palm frond and was dragging it along while the tame kitten pounced on it and fought with it. The two brothers looked at him like he wascertifiably crazy.

At some point the kitten was sitting in crouch mode, wiggling his butt, swishing his tail, getting ready for the perfect pounce upon the palm frond I was wiggling about two yards away. The two brothers had sat down behind him, looking for all the world like they were thoroughly bored and wanted to get on with our walk to the store.

As the kitten became so serious, on the verge of pouncing. I saw the most astonishing thing from the brothers. One looked at the other, then at me. Then he stealthily tiptoed forward, up behind the kitten in crouch mode, who was seriously studying this wiggling palm frond, getting ready for the grand attack.

Before he could pounce, the brother reached out and slapped him on the rear with his paw. This of course sent the hapless kitten shooting up five or six feet in the air, with a terrified look and an anguished yowl. He landed with all his fur sticking out, like cats do when they are trying to frighten away a predator.

Like cats often do, he pretended like he meant to do that, after all, and took a few licks at his fluffed up fur.

The two brothers now had squinty eyes and cat smiles on their faces, looking very satisfied with their prank, while the tame kitten washed, giving them mournful sidelong glances.

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