She had been seen for several days sunning herself in the wildlife garden outside my window, grooming herself most fastidiously. When startled, and I assume at dusk, she crawled through the torn screen to the crawl space under the office for a safe rest. Plump with long flowing black fur and just a touch of white, she appeared to have been cared for at some time more recent. We learn to harden our hearts to these abandoned ones, whose owners weary of them, and through denial want to believe they will somehow make it on their own in the wilds when they are dumped. A few survive when a kind heart gives in to their plight and rescues one. On the third day of her discovery, I was that kind heart who almost bit off more than she could chew when I decided to take this cat home with me.
The ranger brought from his house a cardboard container to transport her in. WHAT FOOLS WE WERE. She cautiously allowed me to pet her and when I grabbed her to put her in a place most feared she became a beast of 20 legs filled with razor sharp claws, and I was left with an empty box and a gouged arm. My determination only heightened, as I knew if I didn't somehow contain her for the journey home, she would not have a very long life. Sooooo...40 miles home to pick up a cat carrier and a pull top can of tuna fish, dress wounds, then forty miles back to park to continue covert operation Cat Nab. She stayed her distance now as I knew, but was hoping she wouldn't do. Carrier in place in garden with door open, six foot trail of tuna chunks leading through open door of carrier to back side, positioned as close to carrier as I could get and not be intimidating, and a wait of an eternity as she devoured one chunk at a time with one eye always on me. If I blow this it's curtains for operation Cat Nab. I'll never gain her trust again. I don't believe it...her head is inside the door. Brain spinning like a top trying to calculate how far she has to be inside the carrier so she cannot flip around and escape as I shut the door. If I wait too long she may bolt before devouring the last chunk. Come on, come on...think, think, think, what to do, WHAT TO DO...slam, bam!!! door successfully containing target.
Yowls that bordered on screams filled that too small space inside my car and made the journey home seem 280 miles long. She lived in my husband's workroom until I figured she wouldn't try to annihilate my other cats. She lived there for months. She soon became known as skitzo cat. I would sit on steps into the room and she would eventually approach me purring sweetly. I managed to pet her for about 6 seconds then BITE!CLAW!RETREAT! It all happened so fast that it had my head spinning and heart racing. Three of these episodes and my arm couldn't hold much more in bandages. It was darn near impossible to sit there on the steps showing no fear, but we did manage to come to an agreement of toleration of each other. Much later she was finally allowed to enter rest of house after I just about turned blue holding my breath to see if there was going to be fur flying. She then became known as the skitzo cat that stays alone.
Jesse established he was king almost immediately, but it took what seemed like years for Zoe and Andee to reach an understanding. She still freaks out when captured to be put in carrier for vet trips. I am only allowed to pick her up and place her on my lap when at computer table...nowhere else. She still bats me if petted too long, but the claws now stay retracted. She hates being held, although she is held for short periods to acclimate her to the concept, until slightly flattening ears and wild eye glances signal therapy session is over. The closer one gets to her level the more she enjoys the petting, so she is at her finest when I am in bed and she is kneading the blanket like crazy with her front paws wanting some love. She still lacks perfection and probably always will, but she has grown to be perfect in our hearts.