Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cat Whisperer

We recently got two new foster kittens, older than the ones we usually get and therefore on the road to being feral.  The first couple of days were filled with hissing, fluffing up into big, terrifying kitties and uncontrollable shaking.  Did I mention the hissing?  Because that was pretty much constant.  Walked into the room.  Hiss.  Looked at them.  Hiss.  Shifted because my butt was asleep.  Hiss.  Came up to me and sniffed me.  Hiss.  They're best trick was a sort of syncopated hissing, one after the other.  And if I laughed at that?  Hiss.

Socializing kittens that have a deep fear of scary-bad people can be a slow and tedious process.  Lots of sitting around, pretending to be an inanimate object until they feel comfortable enough to approach you.  Gentle movements.  Occasionally petting and picking up.  And getting hissed at.  A lot.  And feeling like a monster because they seem to enjoy being scratched behind the ears but they're still shaking hard enough to sometimes knock themselves over.

Now, I can't say that my job is hard.  Sometimes gross, sometimes frustrating and sometimes heartbreaking?  Yes.  But not exactly difficult.  But sitting around doing my best impersonation of furniture is boring. Though being able to watch TV on my laptop has made it bearable.  I love living in the future.  So, one night after the hissing died down and they felt comfortable enough for some exploring I pulled out the sock currently on the needles.  And wouldn't you know, it was like magic.  Apparently I might still be scary-bad if I tried to touch them but I had wooly string and that made me kind of ok.

By the time I was ready to take a break (meaning my legs were totally numb from sitting relatively still on the floor) they were like this:

Yeah, that's the little black one sleeping on me.  The tabby dozed off shortly after the awkward webcam picture.  But not before hissing.

After deciding that maybe I wasn't so bad things have progressed quickly.  Now they're downright snuggly.  Sleeping on my legs under a blanket is way better than the nest box.  Where before we couldn't get them out of the next box.  They're still a little stand-offish with the Boyfriend- if given the choice between laps they'll default to mine.  I think he's considering taking up knitting to win them over.  Or at least holding a WIP in his lap and waggling the needles.



  1. We have feral kittens from the neighbouring barns on a regular basis - our dog has a tendancy to find them and bring them home by the scruff - where they instantly disappear under the sideboard for a few days, emerging only to (you guessed it) hiss at us. Although they tend to do a nice line in spitting at the dog too.

  2. I love that your dog brings home kittens, that is too funny. One of our own cats likes to play mom to our fosters- carrying them around and giving them a good licking- but he hasn't added to the collection.