Volya's Home page

Volya - originally intended as a diminutive of the Russian word Volshebstvo (Magic), though Volya is a Russian word in its own right, which means 'will', or 'liberty, freedom.' Considering this moggy's background, that seems appropriate. Volya Portrait
Volya - feral Volya - seen here sometime in the spring or summer of 2000, when he was perhaps a year old, was born and grew up a feral. We believe that he is a brother, from a different litter, of Boo and The Wench, which makes him an uncle to Saki and Vodka. He was friendlier than most of the wild cats, and always endearing, thanks to his tabby face, and an infirmity: He limped, favoring his left front. Obviously, he'd been injured at some time before he became a regular in my driveway.
Volya's bad day: April 13, 2001 found Volya in my trap. Here, he is still in the trap, shortly after having arrived home from his first visit to the vet. He is still groggy from the anaesthesia. At this time he was fixed, innoculated, and a nasty injury to his left front leg stitched up. This injury was recent... only a few days old... and was not the cause of his limp, which he'd had for as long as I had known him. Volya in trap
Volya hiding I wasn't sure this one could be tamed. He seemed very wild. I had tamed a few ferals and rescued strays before, but they had all been kittens. Conventional wisdom says that adult ferals can not be tamed or socialized. Volya was tough, but I've since had tougher. My 'taming' room is my home office. It's vital to keep a new cat isolated from the other cats in the house, and since I spend a lot of time in my office, I think it gives the tamee a good opportunity to get used to my presence. And since it's a mess, there are plenty of places for a shy or frightened animal to hide and feel comfortable.
Volya used just about all of those hiding places. He also stood at the windows a lot (when I was not present) and cried, which is always heartbreaking to hear. Volya still hiding
Volya comes out of his shell After about two and a half weeks I was seriously considering that I may need to release him, since he was responding so much more slowly than my earlier kittens. I went looking for advise, and the denizens of rec.pets.cats.rescue strongly encouraged me to persevere. In the weeks that followed, Volya began to emerge from his hiding places.
The next step was to gradually allow him to begin meeting the other cats. His first meeting with Boo was actually a reacquaintance; they had played together as ferals, before Boo was rescued the previous fall, and both seemed to remember the other. Here volya spends some time in the august presence of Minstrel, who looks quite at ease. Volya, on the other hand, seems less than comfortable... Volya and Minstrel
Volya's BB Progress after that was steady. I began to leave the office door open after about six weeks, and after about eight weeks, Volya was living in the house at large. After observing him closely, it became apparent that his infirmity actually involves his entire left side. Both front and hind legs are lame, and he is missing his lower left fang, suggesting that he at some time received a fairly severe trauma to his left side. I also found that there was a hard object embedded in the loose flesh under his lower jaw. This is the brass BB that the vet removed from Volya's jaw in 2004. Was being shot the source of his infirmities? Are there more projectiles embedded in him anywhere? One day we hope to have him full-body x-rayed, to find out.
Volya has since turned out to be an excellent house cat. True, he is skittish, doesn't like to be picked up, and is an absolute terror when it's time to take him to the vet. But on his own terms he is a playful and affectionate moggy. He has filled out nicely and is now about 14 pounds. Volya relaxing
Sleeping tiger I'm very proud of what I've been able to accomplish with Volya. Today, November 14, 2004, is three and half years since his rescue, and Volya is now about five and half years old. It is safe to assume that he, like all of the the rescues, would be dead by now, had he remained feral. The average life-span of a feral cat is two to two and a half years. At age two, Volya was reaching the edge of that envelope. It's possible that the injury to his leg, which was cleaned and stitched up on the day of his rescue, might have soon killed him. Instead, he's fat and happy, and one of the coolest cats I know. Looking at this picture, its hard to believe that this cat was once wild.