Feral roads diverge

Feral roads diverge

10896197923_353ebfc17c_zWe do a great deal of wrestling at Tabby’s Place — with ideas, that is, not with alligators or each other.

But perhaps it would be easier to grapple with alligators than some of the conundrums around here.

Blanche luxuriates.
Blanche luxuriates.

Do people change? Can even the most despicable doers of dastardly deeds be redeemed?

How about cats? Can ferals go friendly, and can anger-balls become babycakes?

The short answers would be: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

The long answers, however, would be: Slowly, and with difficulty. Yes, at great cost. Sometimes. If they so choose.

In other words, it depends.

It depends on the soul. It depends on the cat. It depends on the sort of story that’s being lived out. And in our bravest moments, we have to admit that we don’t know all the places a story will go along the road to where it’s going.

All these questions come due in the face of a great grey mystery. Call it the tale of two ferals: Sneaky and Blanche.

The ladies have much in common. They are both TNR alumni. They hail from the same rambling feral colony. Their rich, Russian Blue-y fur suggests some shared DNA.

Sneaky itches and agitates.
Sneaky itches and agitates.

And they both acted so sugar-sweet when we trapped them that TNR became TNTP: Trap…Neuter…Tabby’s Place.

There they part company.

Blanche, righteous and elegant, settled right into Suite C like a feline Maggie Smith. She knows she’s past her youth, but she’s equally sure that this is her prime. These are the good old days. Blanche has never been more sure of her beauty or life’s loveliness. There’s nothing feral about our dowager countess.

Sneaky, a sleek young thing with a Cat Fancy face and her whole life ahead, would seem set to be on top of the world. We loved her instantly upon arrival and haven’t ceased loving her. It would be easy to roll the whole world up in her paw if only she wished.

But Sneaky doesn’t seem to know what she wants.

No, that’s not entirely true. Sneaky wants human beings not to exist. Sneaky wants to break the chains of love. Sneaky would rather sing “In the Ghetto” at Carnegie Hall every night for the rest of her life than have to live in Tabby’s Place one more day.

She’s now one of our sponsorable cats for the Special Need of “extremeshyness,” and Tabby’s Place’s own special ops team is socializing her with all their might. But we can’t help but feel that Sneaky’s chosen to change…back.

Blanche's pointed advice to Sneaky.
Blanche's pointed advice to Sneaky.

While Blanche went from feral to friendly, Sneaky went from feral to friendly to feral. Now we’re all hand-wringy about what’s next. Are we doing right by her to keep her here? Is there reasonable hope of socializing Sneaky to the point where the life we want for her — indoor, adored — is a life she can love?

I don’t know the answer. But I can guarantee you that all our wrestlings wriggle up from a well of love so deep we can’t help but hope and pray that Sneaky will sense it sooner than later.

Now where are those alligators?

5 thoughts on “Feral roads diverge

  1. Angela,

    What is TP’s policy with regard to the “R” part of TNR? I know last year that you had a similar kitty that got adopted to a farm. But has there been any thought to releasing them back to the “wild” life they have known? They likely grew up in the wild and can deal with it, and at least she would not be breeding more feral cats.

    1. Hi Elliott,

      Much as we wish there was a simple and straightforward policy, this is one of those case-by-case conundrums. We do our best to evaluate the cats for friendliness. While the overwhelming majority of our TNR kitties are, indeed, “R’d”, those who seem exceptionally friendly (as both Blanche and Sneaky did) stay with us, as do any cats with serious medical issues.


  2. Sneaky will come around! I can’t help but think that she would never do well outside again, now that she has been safe and warm and fed inside – even if she does not look for a lap or a belly rub yet! I always trust that Tabby’s Place will do what is best.

  3. I tend to agree with Flicka. She’s surely begun to adapt to the comforts of Tabby’s Place even though she’s refusing to be a warm and fuzzy little feline doll. I rescued a feral once, and had her for nearly 20 years. Bizkit/Tiny spent the first few months under a bed or the couch, BUT when she found a way of escape (a partially opened window) she took it … only to run up to me when I went looking … and follow me inside. She was never a cuddle bug like my (later pets) Dolly and Molly, but we had a real respect for each other’s independence, while bonding into a sweet affection. During her last years, she would take walks with me and never bolt. My current cat, Greta, was a rescue with a chip (and NOT the kind you knock off a shoulder). The folks had no use for her and said the finder could do whatever they wanted with her, as she was a “mean cat”. Mean? There’s not a mean bone in her body! It took her a while to learn that a hand lifted up to pat her wasn’t a threat, so we think we know who was mean. All this to say that history combined with patience and gentle care can do wonders. I believe in Tabby’s Place!

  4. DITTO to Flicka and Greta! This little love needs to be accepted on her own terms. I have watched her and I believe she knows she has been saved and will come around in her own time. I, too, have rescued abused cats that took years to be comfortable in my home – but they knew they were then loved and safe, and it was well worth the wait — for both of us!

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