Of our four cats (Alexa, Hannah, Queen Fatima, and Jelly Bean), two are from a feral cat I named Ming Li. Although these two are extremely friendly and not only allow me to pet them (but enjoy it profusely), they have certain characteristics that definitely separate them from Hannah and Alexa. For example, cat parents can always pick up their babies and even walk around the house or yard with them – I can certainly do so with my non-feral cats.
However, picking up a feral cat is generally not something they enjoy and I would only attempt it if it were to remove them (or a smaller animal) from harm.
The most unfortunate, and even heart-breaking thing, about caring for and loving feral cats is you never know when they’ll leave you. It’s been my experience that they aren’t often the healthiest little things (I recently lost one, “Bullet”). Plus, by nature, they love to roam and scout out new territories.
Fortunately, the two we have now were born on our property and have known us since they can remember – so I’m pretty certain they aren’t going anywhere. I also get the feeling that each was the healthiest from their prospective litters. Jelly seldom ever leaves the carport or front yard and Queen Fatima’s never gone on one of her infamous “hunts” for very long. While they “seem” like the other cats 98 percent of the time, occasionally there’ll be a reminder that there are definite differences.
For example, just this morning, as I was feeding the three outside cats, I leaned down and kissed Hannah on the head. It was met with a hard, fast purr and she continued eating. I then did the same to Jelly Bean and you’d have thought he’d been attacked by a giant, cat-eating owl! The smooch sound, alone, jolted Fatima even before it was her turn for a kiss. Each went back to eating as I petted their backs and heads, but they each kept one eye out for the ridiculous noise I’d previously made.
All along, I’ve tried to take things very slowly with them, on their terms. When you’re fortunate enough to have feral cats in your life, you have to remember that it’s all about them, not you. You can’ t let a selfish desire to touch or hug one get in the way of what really matters: You’re providing food, water, love, and care. You’re building a bond of trust and establishing a relationship, but know that they’re always in charge of how close you can get and how fast the bond is built.
There have been some feral cats that I’ve never been able to touch at all. It took months (LONG months because I was dying to pet her precious little head!) before Ming Li allowed me the honor of rubbing her. When she first threw her tiny body against my arms and purred, tears rolled down my cheeks because I was so happy – and completely honored by her trust. She honored me another way, too. Twice. I call one Queen Fatima and the other Jelly Bean.
I will always believe that Ming Li knew she wasn’t well. She had her babies near me so I could take care of them, and again, if I thought about it long enough the tears would flow once more.
The t-shirts in this post pay homage to feral cats and the patient individuals who care for them. These are really super cute – almost as cute as wild, unpredictable feral cats, themselves!
Click each for a closer look and spread the word about Feral cats and Feral cat care. The best thing about t-shirts such as this is that people will very often ask you, “What’s a feral cat?” Then you have a golden opportunity to educate them about feral cats and maybe even convert a feral cat car provider in the process. When you click through, you’ll find other t-shirts as well as other colors and sizes.
I love feral cats Light T-Shirt