The Wench was born in the spring of 2000 to a feral I had been feeding
since the previous year, who I called Eartha Kitten. She was the shyest
of the three kittens. While her brother and sister would come to the
evening feedings by themselves, or in the company of other ferals, like
Volya, she would come only with her mother,
and only rarely then. After the sister, Koshka, was killed by a car in
the street, and the brother was rescued (to be transmogrified into
Boo),we began to see more of the mother and
littlest daughter, until some point during the subsequent winter, after
which Eartha hasn't been seen since. The kitten kept coming on her own,
and by springtime was obviously pregnant.
Plans to trap her before the birth of the kittens were derailed by
circumstances, and I never saw any sign of that first litter. By early
summer though she was pregnant again, and again it was
not possible to rescue her before giving birth. I began to see the
kittens around the neighborhood, made some attempts to capture some of
them, and on October 7, 2001, managed to bag the entire family. Here
they all are, in the holding cage in the garage.
The little white-faced kitten, also seen here, was given the working
name Tequila. 'Working' names, of course, were just something to call
them (more specific than 'That One,' or 'The Other One') until they
were adopted out. Tequila (the only girl of the four) was adopted out,
as was her brother Whiskey. Her other brothers,
Saki and Vodka, for some reason turned out
to be unadoptable, and bedevil our existence to this very day.
The Wench was fixed, and then after a few weeks, by which time it
was obvious that the kittens were weaned, was released back to the
outside. It was a hard decision, but one dictated by the priority of
socializing the kittens. The mother could not be socialized while
she was mothering, and while she was protecting them, neither could
the kittens. We continued to feed her, however, and early in
September 2002 April finally persuaded me to
put the trap back out and bring her in once again. This is pretty much
how she spent the entire next 15 months. Hiding.
This was by far the longest socializing process I've experienced.
Though she gradually came to hide less and less and recognized and came
to expect that humans bring good things to eat, she would not willingly
be touched or allow people to get closer than a few feet. Until about
December 2003. Then the Stockholm Syndrome finally kicked in, and
kicked in with a vengeance. She has been a total pest ever since.
This is my desk... and possibly one reason I don't get more
accomplished. I mean, how is a person supposed to concentrate with
that staring at you?
So, ever since The Wench has been a very affectionate cat. She doesn't
like to be picked up or held, but she loves to be touched and petted.
She's not a house cat though, but an office cat. She doesn't get along
with some of the boy cats around the house, particularly her
two sons (Saki and
Vodka, in case you'd forgotten). One of them put this nice notch
in her right ear, though neither will admit to it. The squared-off
left ear is, I'm afraid, my doing. Rather, the vet's, but at my
direction. 'Tipping' is a valuable tool when managing feral cats
outside. It allows you (and other feeders/rescuers) to know that an
animal has already been spayed or neutered.
Living in my office aint all bad. There are some wonderfully kitty
friendly places in a home office, the warm top of a 17" monitor
probably being the most toasty. This one has this nice little lamp
on top as well, which is great for the occasional face toast, something
Vodka enjoys as well. A screen door closes
the room from the rest of the house (yes, we have screen doors
inside the house), which makes a great climbing toy. I'll have to
get some pictures of that some time. Lately The Wench (or Missus, as April prefers) has been showing interest and
willingness to explore out into the house when the door is open. The
final deterrent is the animosity of the other cats, notably her two
boys, but there are signs that that is finally subsiding. Perhaps some