If you ever doubted that there really is a human for every cat, take a peek at Star’s story and decide for yourself.
Wild and Sick
Star was one four feral kittens born to a feral mum in the suburbs. By the time we rescued her she was already about 11-12 weeks old, and so wild that she had eluded capture two weeks earlier when her more obliging siblings went into the trap. She was beautiful — a silver tabby with a heart-shaped face — but she was also a mess. She had worms, ear mites, an eye infection and a cold — and ringworm.
A Tough Case
To top it off, she was a wild one. Despite having already been in foster care for two weeks when I got her, Star spent most of her time at first running from me and then hissing when I tried to handle her. Though tiny for her age, she had a strong personality — wary, independent, stubborn. No way was she going to make friends with the Tall Things, even if they were the source of food and toy mice!
Of course, who could blame her? Most of her first contact with humans involved medical intervention — being poked, prodded, having ointments and drops put in her eyes and ears and pills pushed down her little throat. Still, many kittens can be quite forgiving, even feral ones, if they’re also getting cuddles and treats. But not Star. Even when she seemed to be getting better and I let her meet my other cats, she wasn’t impressed with them either, growling and hissing at even the friendliest ones.
Although illness and unfamiliarity with humans were no fault of hers, these “problems” often would mean a quick ending to cats such as little Star. These animals are the very ones that are euthanized if sent to the local humane society, which, by its own admission, lacks the financial and volunteer resources to deal with cats or kittens that are sick, feral, or that exhibit congenital problems. Especially when space is tight and they must choose between a healthy, friendly cat and one like Star, they have to be tough. Fortunately, groups like the Annex Cat Rescue makes every effort to give these cats the second chance they so desperately need.
The First Purr
After about three weeks of this behaviour, I began taking her into bed with me at night before I fell asleep (with the other cats banished downstairs) for some intensive one-on-one taming sessions. I found that if I held her close and stroked her, she’d start to purr. (The first time she began to purr was as gratifying as hearing a toddler’s first word!) She became veritably affectionate at those times — for about 10 minutes. Then boom — she’d suddenly leap off the bed and be gone. The only progress being made was that she was becoming friends with my cats, especially the males, who were all vying for her adolescent attentions. I almost changed her name to Lolita!
The One No One Wanted
When prospective adopters came to see her and the other kittens I had in foster care though, Star invariably hissed and ran. Needless to say, no one wanted her. The weeks turned into months. Star was still with me. Finally a woman named Christine called and I evasively explained that this cat was “very shy”… but it didn’t matter because it seemed as if my troubled kitten’s ‘stars’ were about to come into perfect alignment.
Christine was undeterred. I corralled Star into a small room with a cat tree in it, and Star climbed to her customary spot — the very top, and glared down at Christine when she entered. I managed to get her down (Star clung to the cat tree with all her little might) and put her in Christine’s arms. Christine, a tall, calm woman, looked down at the hissing kitten and said, “She’s beautiful. She just needs lots of love, that’s all.” Star stopped hissing and let herself be held. She seemed to know this was meant to be.
A Match Made in Heaven
The next day Christine took Star home. I was afraid to make the follow-up call in case Christine decided that Star just wasn’t “quite right”. But fate and Christine weren’t giving up that easily. After Star had hidden for a couple of days under the couch, she slowly began to make friends.
Two months later, Christine says she’s very happy with her. A certified scuba instructor, she has rechristened the kitten Scuba, and Scuba is living up to her new name by displaying a fascination with water. She can still be independent, says Christine, but she’s also playful and affectionate.
Patience Pays Off
Just goes to show — some matches are made in heaven. Christine was the right person for this little cat, and they both seemed to know it. If Star had ended up at the pound, she’d have been euthanized. Instead, this is another happy ending made possible through a no-kill policy and patience and perseverance, because every cat has a human somewhere, and sooner or later that human will turn up.