Jasmine was born into a feral cat colony sometime late in 1998. Her mother was a very fertile female and as feral as a cat can be (and who, at the time of this story, alas, is still producing approximately three litters of kittens a year.)
One night two volunteers were out on a routine trap-neuter-release venture and captured two feral cats — sisters Guernsey and Scruffy. Both were about five months old and already pregnant. Talk about kittens having kittens! Unfortunately, due to the nature of the situation, the kittens did not survive and the mothers had to be detained at a foster home for a few extra days. This was a difficult situation as normally feral cats do not make nice houseguests.
So imagine our surprise when we received a call from Scruffy’s foster home, “You know, I don’t think she’s feral!” Now, the definition of the term “feral” is open to argument. I personally think that any cat who will let you pet him or her is not feral. Well, not only would Scruffy let us pet her, but she also liked to be combed. She moved in with us a few days later and got a new name — “Jasmine,” because of her sweet nature.
So what turns a feral street cat, with frostbitten ears, nose and paws into a plump nap-on-a-lap cat? We’re not sure. It soon became clear that she had never lived with people before, that she was every inch a street cat who would snatch a snack off your plate. She viewed our apartment as a warm cat-cave. The other cats were her new colony-mates, and the people… Well, the people were just odd-looking cats. We attribute her acceptance of us to “snuggle genes.” Some cats just have them, I guess.
As you can see from the pictures she’s a happy mess of fluff. Living indoors her life expectancy is well over fifteen years (as opposed to about 5 years in a feral colony) and she will never have frostbite again.