It shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did. I live in typical suburban Thornhill with its closely-built houses and tiny yards. I don’t remember seeing stray cats in the neighbourhood until the spring of 2016, when a number of different cats started to appear in my yard periodically. As any cat lover would do, I left food out for them. A few weeks later, one of the cats brought her two kittens to the yard, and they appeared every day at feeding time. So, I moved on to the next step. Mom and babies were trapped and brought inside. Mom was just lovely and very friendly; the babies needed to be socialized. All three were vetted and had “the works”. This beautiful family has been adopted out to loving families through Rescue Angels and gone on to “fur”ever homes.
The story doesn’t end there. Another of the cats then started to appear regularly for her meal, so it was now her turn….. before there could be more babies.
Ebony, a slight bedraggled black girl was trapped and brought to the vet for treatment. She was spayed, tested for viruses and had her shots and then I brought her home for spay recovery. Over the week she spent in my bathroom, she made it abundantly clear that this was not the life she wanted. She hid, growled, hissed and puffed up her tail every time I tried to spend time with her. The decision was made to release her back to my yard and, after what was probably the longest week of her life, this little girl was very happy to see the outdoors again.
Over the next few months Ebony spent more and more time in my yard. I would call her to come eat and she would come out from wherever, or crawl over or under the fence to wait for her food. Her tummy started to round out and her fur started to glisten. Her big round yellow eyes were striking and those polydactyl paws – just precious. Amazingly, she started to come closer and closer to me. Then came the fateful day! I put down her food and she started to eat before I left. I slowly reached down and petted her back. First, her back arched and her little bum raised up as my hand went down her back. Then she looked up as if a light bulb went off. She jumped away, but continued to look at me.
From that point onward, Ebony allowed more and more contact and touch. She would wait for me in the morning in front of the door and come running any time I called her. Soon I was petting her and she was rubbing against me too. Then one day, I bent down and picked her up. She just started to purr. What a little sweetheart! It became more and more obvious that Ebony had been an inside cat but had been lost or abandoned outside. She just needed time and patience to remember and gain some trust again.
In August 2017 Ebony came in. She was taken back to the vet for a checkup and testing. After a two-week quarantine, she was allowed to join the rest of the family. I can’t say it is going absolutely smoothly as she is still suspicious of other people, easily startles, and tip-toes around my other cats who are still bullying her a little. But all she needs is more patience. Meanwhile, my bed is even more crowded at night. And she continues to purr when she snuggles with me. And I can tell that she is really happy to be indoors again as a pampered kitty.
I expect Ebony will be up for adoption soon and will find her own “fur”ever home. For now she is just learning to relax and enjoy her new life. If you are interested in meeting her and perhaps accompanying her on her journey to pampered kitty status, please submit an adoption application, found on rescueangels.ca. https://form.jotform.ca/70925413145250
How many of these so-called “feral” outdoor cats were once someone’s pet who just need a chance to find a new family? Probably many of them. Ebony could be the poster child (or cat) for the phenomenon. I’m so happy that she has put her days as an outdoor “feral” behind her.
Oh, and by the way. There is now another cat that comes for breakfast in my yard. I call her Lady (although maybe “she’s” a “he”). Sometimes she waits for me in the morning, sometimes she comes when called, and sometimes she doesn’t show up. She is starting to look a little less bedraggled. I guess she’s next!!