Around October of last year yet another stray kitty showed up in the neighbourhood. This cat was very skittish and I only knew of her presence because she showed up on the wildlife camera.
Then, she started showing up during the day, helping herself to the two ferals’ leftovers from their daily feeding. Unlike my two previous cat rescues, I couldn’t get near her. I asked all around the compound but nobody knew who she belonged to. She was so wild that I couldn’t just scoop her up and take her to the no-kill animal shelter, so I just started feeding her during the day alongside the other two TNR ferals that showed up at my house.
Another resident had seen the calico and made contact with me about her. After reaching out to Felines & Friends, I agreed to socialise her and foster her while the neighbour/local artist Claire Libin would provide food for her and cover any vet bills for shots, etc., provided I could trap her. A local animal rescue organization informed me I could move her into their adoption pool once she was socialized.
So, I trapped her and brought her inside and put her in an enclosed space so I could do an assessment on her. She was a little wild, but her aggression was more from fear and was defensive-based rather than a straight-up feral.
I got her a rabies shot from a local vet, who agreed with my assessment that she was only semi-feral after probably being either abused or out on her own for a while (she was already five years old), and then took her to Espanola Valley Humane Society’s veterinary clinic, who spayed her for free (though I gave them a small donation, courtesy of her financial foster mom).
She was doing really good with me. I worked with her for a few hours after I got off work, sitting on the floor and interacting with her. She passed all the tests: she eventually let me pet her, she didn’t evidence any food aggression, she was litter trained, she began to interact with toys and she would come up to me when I came into the room. I named her Asuna from Sword Art Online, but I was trying not to get attached so I mainly just called her “Dumb S**t”, truthfully. Or Little B***h. Forgive my language. 🙂
She was doing so well that I lined up a home for her with an experienced cat owner who loved calicoes. Circumstances arose that made it difficult for this person to take her at that time. But they were still open to adopting her down the road.
This put me at an impasse with her socialization process. It was overdue for her to “graduate” into a bigger room that could be closed off, except I didn’t have another room in my small place.
I reached out to this individual who also had experience working with ferals. This person offered to complete the calico’s socialization process, since she would eventually be able to move her into a larger room she could close off. It was a tough call, because we’d have to start over. This person did all the right things, but it didn’t go very well, to say the least. She had definitely been abused at some point in the past.
At this point, I felt that she wasn’t going to be able to adopt her out. I took over the costs of her food and maintenance. I got her settled back into the enclosed space for about a week or so, so she could calm down and readjust. The issues the calico had evidenced at the other foster’s house did not reoccur. I got my place ready to unleash the cat unto my entire house and hoped for the best.
It went well for a couple of weeks. Then she peed outside the box on a piece of furniture. I had the piece of furniture treated and cleaned thoroughly. I added another litter box. Even got scoopable litter to replace the Yesterday’s News she formerly didn’t have an issue with. Finally, after consulting with the community outreach hotline from the local shelter, we determined her behavior was not a litter box issue, but a behavioral one from her inability to adapt to life indoors (there were other behavioral signs that pointed to this.). So, I let her outdoors, even though I’m not an advocate for indoor/outdoor cats. I was able to lure her in at night, so I covered the piece of furniture with plastic bags and pee pads. She would still pee on the piece of furniture if I didn’t let her out fast enough in the morning. I would leave the door open so she could come in and out, and she would come in, pee on the offending piece of furniture, and run back outside.
Then, I realized that Spring was arriving. I have severe allergies to, well, everything Springtime, and letting her in and out wouldn’t be a possibility, as the house would have to be sealed up during the day. We have coyotes and bears and Godzilla-sized raccoons so I hated to keep her outside all the time. So I chose to keep her in totally and just kept the protective pads and the plastic bags on the piece of furniture. She settled down a lot more after her brief stint as an indoor/outdoor cat, actually, so she must have not found it to her liking as much as she once did. But she kept peeing outside the box. I cleaned and re-treating the furniture with an enzyme cleaner on a routine basis just in case. I tried Feliway and that didn’t work. I even tried spraying the furniture with diluted orange oil that the financial foster dropped off that she heard worked. It didn’t work.
Finally I bought a different kind of scoopable litter (World’s Best) and it luckily worked. I got the lavender-scented one that probably smells like my all-natural furniture spray. It’s been several months now, and no marking issues. I got her some interactive motorized toys from Chewy.com. And I crossed the final Point of No Return and renamed her the ultimately cute(r) name Moon Pie aka Moon Kitty.
She’s still a dumb kitty, though. Just look at how stupid she is.