Shyanne. It just around Christmas time that Shy’s mama brought her to our porch to warm up and get fed. She was the only kitten to survive this winter litter, and to this day we aren’t quite sure how she did. Her mother (the missing-in-action “MamaCat”) spent a lot of time that cold December here at our house, warming up, sleeping by the fire or on our bed, and eating a LOT. We wondered at the time if she had lost all of her kittens. Then one morning we woke up to find her out on the covered porch with this little one.
Shy has called this place her home base ever since. She had one beautiful litter of kittens before we could get our hands on her to have her spayed and vetted. (Our own Peeta and Katniss, and their siblings Mork and Mindy, adopted out to a lovely local couple). She remained very shy of people almost all of this time, though she would condescend to let us feed her and very occasionally, to pet her. She comes when called (for dinner, usually), and will come in the house, but only for a little while, and really prefers if we’d leave her exit route wide open. When she was very small, she used to come in the house with her mother, to eat and warm up and play a little. Having no other playmates, I spent time with her, playing with toys, and teaching her to play gently with our soft human hands. She seemed to be warming up to us. But then her mother disappeared on one of her long jaunts - probably having gone back into heat again. And when she inevitably returned, she would push Shy away, often violently. Eventually Mama returned with her newest litter of kittens, which included our sweet Fuzzy. Shy began to learn how to play with other cats, and almost behaved like a kitten again, it was lovely to watch! (Fuzzy remains here with us, since he and Shy became so close. One kitten vanished, and two were adopted out to a horse farm as pampered barn kittens.) It was only last December, after a year of knowing us and being cared for by us, that we learned where her sweet son Peeta got his famous, super-loud purr. His mama finally let me approach her while she lays in the heated bed we provided for her. I was able to pet her and cuddle her, rub her belly, and her paws... and she purred like a motorboat! If you love a feral cat, don’t lose heart if they don’t warm up to you at first. This wild child took a full year to settle and become friendly enough to pet without getting tagged by her claws, or having her freak out and back off. She had an odd beginning, and she may never make a house cat - though one never knows! - but she is a loving, gentle girl who just wants to be safe and fed and comfortable. We love her. To this day, Shy hates to be cornered, and always needs to know her exit route is clear. We believe that there were other kittens in her litter (Mama had a large belly when pregnant, and multiple teats while nursing, at first. Those eventually dwindled down to one.) We believe that baby Shy witnessed something terrible happening to her litter-mates. Likely a predator raiding their nest. We don’t know how she escaped the same fate. But this is just one of the many risks that feral cats live with. This cycle needs to stop. They need our help to make it stop.