Friendly with Felines
Ms. Bockle: Who knew, 10 months ago, that I’d be feeding and conversing with feral kitties? No, not me–those frantic felines were compelled to spray their wares all over my lovely rattan porch furniture, and I wasn’t amused. I even took to spraying a heady mix of habaneros, garlic and vinegar all around my premises to ward the critters off.
Time, values and jollies have changed all that. One day last November I spied a feral kitty reposing on a log outside my window. I took photographs. Then I started putting bowls of food and water down for him as he eyed me through the slits of his eyelids.
Each day I’d offer him sustenance, talking and coaxing, but the boundaries remained fixed. This (cat and mouse, me being the mouse) game continued for a few months until he found a bud (maybe his dad) to share the takings. Well this father figure, being the more domesticated (in touch with his female side), allowed me to scratch, pet and play with him as the true feral aloofly observed.
Months passed without much progress with the feral, beyond the daily feedings and one-sided conversations.
The most amazing change in behavior happened a couple weeks ago. First, the feral–whom I’ve started calling ‘Tsokay’, short for ‘It’s okay’–sniffed my finger. Then he allowed me a tentative patting while he ate. Now, just this week, he’s let me scratch his cheeks and neck, massage him down his spine–right before he starts eating. It’s almost become a ritual: I put down the food and he presents himself for scratchings.
Afterwards he retreats within himself and again observes with narrowed glinting eyes.
I remember that I spoke with my daughter last November, when I started feeding this cat, that he’d never ever let me near him. Never. And she told me that I could be surprised; you never know.
I didn’t have great expectations; I was happy to provide the guy with some food. I guess I’m experiencing some fantastic feedback.
[Img.Src: Cat in a Hat, 1911]