|Posted on October 7, 2014 at 6:00 AM|
It amazes me that the cats at the shelter can still amaze me after all these years. I thought I'd experienced pretty much all the different aspects of cat behaviour, but oh how wrong I was.
This is the story of Chubby and Fluffel. They had spent their lives before arriving at the shelter locked away in a room with an ever growing number of other cats none of which were desexed. Males and females running together, fighting and breeding and kittens growing up and mating with their siblings and parents etc etc. The room was also filled with screeching parrots, from which there was no peace.
Fluffel was heavilly pregnant on arrival and although nervous began building her little nest in which to have the kittens within the first 24 hours. Chubby on the other hand was like a ballistic missile, literally bouncing off the walls and crashing into anything in his way. He finally retreated into the cat tunnel where he remained stoically for about 2 weeks.
Within 48 hours Fluffel gave birth to 4 kittens, 3 pure white and 1 grey and white. Because Chubby was so destructive and in his panic could easily harm the kittens,it was decided to send Fluffel and her new borns to one of my most experienced kitten foster carers. I say "one of" because all my foster carers are "the best" at what they do.
As the weeks progressed Fluffel made herself at home at the foster carers, but her kittens who were raised along side 3 others of the same age that Fluffel accepted as her own grew to be all but wild. The other kittens were normal, friendly little tykes who loved to play and romp and interact with whoever wanted to give them a pat and cuddle. Fluffel herself loved attention and cuddles. Her kittens were not deaf as first thought, but they did displace signs both physical and mental of severe interbreeding.
While all this was unfolding I was gradually getting Chubby to trust me and relax, to the point were after about 2 months he would come to me for pats and he even began to accept pats from visitors to the shelter so long as I was there. He did however continue to present one big problem. Although he accepted the dogs he would go absolutely crazy if another cat, either male, female or kitten, ventured anywhere near his cattery. And believe me he meant business. I decided finally that he was calm enough to go to the vet and get all his vet work completed in the hope that it would help to allieviate the problem with other cats. While he was under they did the dental check that I get done on all the shelter cats and found that he needed a couple of teeth removed. I dared to hope that maybe toothache accounted for at least some of his aggession. Unfortunately as it turned out nothing changed. I hated keeping him separated but there was little I could do about it. I considered sending him out to foster care but all my carers had other cats and I'd need someone very experienced to avoid him backsliding in the trust department or worse still getting out and disappearing. He'd never survive on the streets. He may win a fight or two but he had no idea how to feed himself and blind panic would take over.
The foster carer with the kittens got the others adopted out and Fluffel had all her vet work completed and it was decided that we'd transfer her and her kittens back to the shelter in the hope that them seeing more people on a regular basis would help them settle. By this time they were about 3-4 months old and wouldn't even go to the foster carer who raised them. Maybe seeing how all the other cats responded to people would help, we hoped.
So I ended up with dear Fluffel being her normal loving self. Her 4 kittens darting around like tiny jet fired misiles and Chubby in another cattery on the other side of the shelter behaving like a demented mountain lion.
Now Fluffel and the kittens had been sent to foster when the kittens were only 24 hours old. At that stage Chubby and Fluffel hadn't even seen each other since arrival at the shelter because he was securely tucked up in his cat tunnel the whole time flatly refusing to venture out. Chubby would viciously attack any cat or kitten that went anywhere near him. Yes I knew all this. But I've never been a big fan of logic. It tends to make life difficult in rescue. What I did believe was that if there was ever going to be a chance, remote as it may be, that Chubby would accept another cat it should be Fluffel. But what about the kittens? He'd never met them, how would he react to them?
With a certain amount of self doubt I loaded Chubby into his cat carrier, even I wasn't silly enough to try and introduce them in his cattery, and transported him across the shelter grounds, amid hissing, spitting and cat yowls to Fluffels cattery.
I put the carrier down on the floor in the cattery, held my breath and opened the door, ready to spring into action and get myself shredded if needed. Chubby walked straight out of the carrier, Fluffel abandoned her spot on top of the scratching post and dashed over to greet him. Just as she began to check him out he spotted the kittens. Fluffel positioned herself between him and her babies and licked his face and made a fuss of him and I could literally watch the tension drain away from him. She then moved sideways and the kittens who ran away from any other new cat that was introduced into their cattery raced over and literally swamped him with their enthusiasm.
The kittens are now totally relaxed in the cattery with their Mum and Dad and demand lots of attention whenever I go in there. The proud Dad is now happy to have the other cats all around his new cattery and proudly shows off his offspring who have started playing with other cats through the mesh. Fluffel? Well Fluffel is Fluffel, the maternal figure holding this little family together
Anyone want to adopt 6 crazy cats?????
Categories: ANIMAL ADVENTURES