When I Was Stupid

Okay, so here’s what happened.

Three weeks ago Marin Humane asked me to foster a couple feral kittens. Naturally, I said yes to Trinity and Sturgill. You can foster domestic kittens all you want, I don’t blame you. Domestic kittens are like baby Pandas. What’s not to love?

But until you’ve fostered a feral kitten, you don’t know what you’re missing and I kinda feel sorry for you. You’re losing out on the personal reward of knowing you taught a little creature to tolerate humans enough to actually enjoy being with us. Then one day, lo and behold, your foster jumps onto your lap, tucks her little head against your stomach and starts to purr for the very first time. And you did that!

Now don’t get me wrong; helping a feral kitten avoid living a feral life is sometimes challenging. (I have the accompanying scars to prove it.) In my newbie days I was bitten through the knuckle of my index finger. To this day it’s still swollen. I’ve been scratched, swatted, hissed and growled at innumerable times. But that was back when I was stupid.

News flash: I’ve learned most of what I know about ferals from the cats themselves. And now that these two make fosters number 215 and 216, bad stuff rarely happens anymore. Except for the hissing. And maybe an occasional swat. Okay, so I’m still learning.

Hey, want to know the 2 secrets to success? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway. #1: GO SLOW and #2: BE PATIENT. Normally I’m neither, but that’s something else the kittens taught me.

So anyway, to get to the point, Sturgill went to his new adoptive home on Friday. I’m thrilled he’s going to be an indoor cat, including all the perks it entails…being warm, comfortable, loved and well-fed. (Emphasis on love.) He’ll probably have his own bed and maybe a cat tree. Life will be good for Sturgill, rescued from bushes at a McDonald’s drive-thru in Vallejo.

sturgil 2

Then there’s Trinity, the true subject of this posting. Trinity was trapped up north with her brother Lassen (hence the names). When we don’t receive them before 3-months-old, it’s difficult to socialize them to us and they often aren’t adoptable. I got this slightly cross-eyed beauty at about 4-months-old. She so wants to be part of the action with me and my cats but fear holds her back.

Trinity 3

Trinity is still too afraid of toys to play with them so she watches the others play. I’ve had her as long as Sturgill, but those two were like salt and pepper. Total opposites. The closest I can get to petting Trinity is when I’m feeding her. When she’s immersed in chicken fillets with gravy, she tolerates a head scratch for precisely 2.5 seconds. Sometimes it’s 3 if I’m lucky. But I’m rarely lucky.

Trinity, however, loves my latest failed foster, Dash.

dash in tree

You see, I keep the “failures” who are not domestic enough to pass evaluations for adoption but are too domestic to do well living as a feral. (Hence, Savannah, Jack, Oliver and Dash – all eventually domesticated.)

At home, Dash is head of the entertainment committee. He pet sits the ferals when I’m gone and never tires of playing with them. They watch how he and I interact, teaching them I’m someone they can trust. Sadly, my gut is telling me Trinity may be one of those in-between cats we call tweeners. Besides, her coloring makes her an easy target for predators.

You know, back when I was stupid I would have kept Trinity. But I’m no longer stupid. Or am I? I think you know the answer to that.


Meet my failed foster #5


10 thoughts on “When I Was Stupid

  1. I have a domestic cat that you can’t approach without arousing suspicion. I had to figure out how to give him insulin. The solution turned out to be what you mentioned–give him the shot while he is eating a treat. The underlying psychology is that he was the one who approached the treat.

    • Hand feeding their favorite canned food (when they let you get that close) is always a great way to win entrance into their hearts and also be able to eventually touch them. Small victories!

  2. I love this story, Janet. It made me smile. Those kitties are SO lucky to live with you. I ended up with six cats in a similar way. Doing rescue in rural Napa County and having a barn was a bad combination.

  3. Janet, you are a truly special person!! Thank you for giving so many cats a second chance and rescuing cats all over the Bay Area and beyond!😘🐱

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