mr. mittens (akmed) wrote,
mr. mittens

"kissing the tortoiseshell.."

although the now semiferal torties are coming along i still can't really pet them. they let me play with their toes and tails; they follow me around the house and come running at dinner time but they still hide from strangers and they still do not trust me enough to not flee when i get too close and they are feeling vulnerable.

this situation is fine-brought up by a feral mother they were not trapped and brought into close contact with humans until they were about 3 months old. they had every reason to be fearful of humans. survival instincts are not easy to overcome. harriot brown was unpettable until she was well over one year old because she was taken from a home where the humans ignored her .she was evolving into an indoor feral. cats are very tactile but highly sensitive to threats to their safety and to their access to safe places-you have to handle them a lot when they're kittens or they simply will reject any attempts, no matter how careful and well meaning, at contact. with my older cats like harriot brown i took the position that i would let persia raise them and would not force my attentions upon them. once brown found the human that was ' hers'( a roommate of mine) she opened right up and became a love bomb. alice was physically abused by people so slowly she came around to trust me, all with persia in the background providing support. i was so thrilled when alice finally let me pet her and she came to sleep with me every night.

i realized when i adopted them that the tortie sisters would be a challange that required patience. although i had lost a cat with whom i had a very close relationship, i opted for the 2 kittens that were still very much wedded to their feral instincts.i had gone to see another cat at the rescue- a friendly, pet-able lap sort of cat- but when the woman in charge suggested i might take a look at 2 very special cats i went along. i was there already, i thought, i may as well.

it was near impossible to get them out of hiding. they piled on top of each other in a corner, behind a tv, scared but curious and clearly completetly devoted to one another . i felt persia's presence saying, " you have to take them-you have to take these two." i wasn't looking to adopt more than one and i was more interested in an older cat who was human friendly but those little faces...i couldn't see most people wanting to adopt cats who wanted nothing to do with humans. as usual i opted for ' take in the misfits no one wants'.

it's been about 6 months since they came home, they're now one year old. clearly they like me and consider me theirs. when i talk to them, they rub against the nearest object. they roll around in my dirty laundry and scramble for the covers in my bed once i leave it. so scent oriented, they're making sure i smell like them and they smell like me. they both love sylvia but they're very much focused on brown. farah looks a lot like her ,as she's a tad torbie-esque, after all.they're both always swarming around harriot and rubbing her as if she's one of their sisters which she looks like she could be. they're always in whatever room i am in but their favorite activity is watching me while i am in the kitchen. their foster mom did say they loved to do that with her. nixe likes chewing on the broom.

i was wondering casually what would really bring them around to trusting me more. who really knows what triggers cats to do anything. so when i brought home La Prissy what happened next in Tortietown totally surprised me.

the green eyed monster of jealousy drove nixe into sleeping under the covers with me the very evening of the day i brought home the himalayan queen.

i had woken up because of some noise outside when i felt a cat at my side, under the sheet. usually only alice slept tucked at my side under the covers with me and when i saw black fur peeping out i thought i was still dreaming. alice had just died and i sort of twitched uncontrollably because i was confused and a tad freaked. out bolted nixe. nixe, my new pillow princess.

friday i woke up because i felt a cat on the bed. there was nixe looking at me with one leary eyeball while she poked at my eye glasses, lying atop a book i had been reading, with one of her big paws. she swatted them onto the floor and under the bed, leaping off and under herself. when i dragged myself after her, i found she had quite a collection of my stuff piled up. she had a large selection of my dirty socks, several dirty tshirts swiped from the laundry, assorted cat toys, a blanket she pushed from the bed and stuffed under there. my glasses were gathered together with my cell phone which had been missing for days. i suspect the car keys are next.

perhaps she's putting together a Mittens costume. so if you see someone out that sort of looks like me except the have pointed ears and a tail and they refuse to speak, ask yourself: do i really know where my own cat is?

you might further ask: do i fully appreciate what an act of faith it is for my own cat to allow herself to be petted by me? do i appreciate and respect the gift of love and trust it truly is?

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