Taming a feral cat
The Lessons I have learned from my cat Big Boy
by Lee Miller
Big Boy the feral cat and how he came into our lives to teach me about fear -
A feral cat is a domestic cat that was born to a cat without a home with human contact. They are usually very fearful of humans.
Big Boy is the largest cat I have ever seen and he is pure white. To my knowledge Big Boy was a feral cat when we first saw him. Our new kitten, Pepper, who we had just taken in as a starving stray cat went into heat and Big Boy appeared and was around here day and night for about a week. Big Boy must have fallen in love with Pepper during that time because even after we had Pepper fixed Big Boy would be here ever day spending time to be with Pepper.
Big Boy was really afraid of people and would run when we showed ourselves. He seemed to be doing really well on his own but he didn't have a collar on. Then one day he showed up with a blue collar on. We saw him daily for about a week wearing this blue collar then he disappeared for about two weeks.
The next time we saw Big Boy he had lost most of his weight and looked to be starving. The blue collar that we had seen on him for the one week was missing. Where had he been, what had happened to him, who put the collar on him, why is it missing? So many questions and no answers. If only we could talk with animals to find out what had happened to them.
At that point he was so hungry that he would sneak in the window we keep open for our cat's to come in and out of during the day. He would get a bite to eat then when he heard us he would run like a monster was after him and shoot out of the window. Big Boy was so afraid of people that it was sad because we could see that he was so very gentle with all of our cats. Big Boy got along with all of our cats and that was amazing because some of them didn't even get along with any other cat in the family. He would even rub up to Callie our temperamental fatty calico that we have had the longest, she is about seven years old and doesn't get along with any other cat, in fact she barely tolerates Charlene and me.
We decided to see if we could tame Big Boy. Well, we soon found out that that taming him wasn't going to be easy. We continued trying to get him to come to us for over a month. He was not enticed with any kind of food or delicacy. He was still scrawny and hungry and was still coming in the window when we weren't in that part of the house.
We live in a rural area so we start getting all of our cat's in about two hours before dark and close the window to keep them inside over night. This is so we can keep them safe from coyotes, owls and the predators that are all around looking for a good meal.
One day I came in the door that is by the open window the cats use to come and go and Big Boy couldn't get out without running past me and he was to afraid to do this. So I gently closed the window and then put the blinds down so that he wouldn't injure himself trying to get out the window. Well that was the end of the blinds as he destroyed them trying to get through to the outside, but at least he didn't injure himself running into the glass. I was worried that he would hit it so hard that he would break it and cut himself.
Now Big Boy was trapped inside the house, so I left that area and let him explore for a safe place to hide. Later I found him under our bed tucked inside a corner of the headboard. A safe place for him. We could not coax him out of this place.
Big Boy would come out when we were in the other end of the house in what we call the big room. This is the addition where we spend most of our time. He rarely came out from his hiding place and when he did it would be to eat and go right back to his various hiding places in the house.
We would try to pet him but he would run away to other hiding places he had found in the house. At night he would roam the house whining and crying like he had done outside before we captured him. We could not get near him for months although we would force him to go to the big room area so we could let the other cats out during the day. We were hoping that if he were forced to be in the area of the house where we were he would get used to us, but he mostly stayed hidden. What amazed us is that he never once pottied anywhere except in a litter box that we kept near his hiding places. His hiding went on for months. We kept trying to get close and pet him and he would run like the devil was after him.
He did get to where he would lay in the window ledge behind my desk where he was partially hidden. He loved laying here because he could see outside and the other cats there and all of nature. We could tell that he so wanted to be outside but we knew that if we let him outside before we tamed him he would never get tame. This had gone on for about four months and it was getting very wearing on trying to be nice to him and tame him.
It was getting discouraging and I was considering letting him go outside like he so wanted to do. Although I knew that he wouldn't survive long outside as we are in a very rural area with coyotes, owls, bobcats and even bears are seen here. With him being a solid white cat he would stand out in nature like a target that say's here's your next meal.
One day I was about ready to let Big Boy go outside since we couldn't tame him. I saw him laying in his favorite window looking so peaceful I decided to try one more time to pet him. As I reached over the desk slowly moving with just my hand moving towards him he looked up and started snarling with his huge teeth bared and his right paw waving in front of his face it was very scary.
I said to myself it's now or never as I slowly moved my hand above his snarling face and over his head, slowly I moved trying to stay away from his waving paw with the claws showing, slowing I came down on the top of his head and made some gentle strokes from his eyebrows back to behind his ears. I did this very slowly and gently and all the while Big Boy was snarling, hissing and waving his paw in the air. I stroked and petted him for at least five minutes and he never quit making sounds and gestures like he was going to rip me to shreds. When I quit petting him he jumped behind the desk and ran off to his closest hiding place.
I was so excited about petting Big Boy that I ran to tell Charlene of my success in petting him. She was amazed that I had petted him when he was making so much scary noise about it, but I told her that I know that he is really a gentle soul and didn't want to hurt me, he was just wanting to protect himself.
I was so excited to tell Charlene about my big win I was wanting her to pet him but she wasn't sure she wanted to pet him with him snarling and all of that. Later that day I saw Big Boy back in the window so I went and got Charlene because I wanted to show her that petting him was possible. As I was showing her how I slowly moved towards him he again started snarling and acting vicious, it was really scary but I slowly continued to move towards his head and when I touched him and gently started petting him he kept snarling but somewhat less than before so I petted him for awhile so the she could see that it was possible.
After I quit petting him we talked about it and she wasn't convinced that it was a wise thing to do because she didn't want to be all scratched up by him. Later that evening I finally convinced her to give it a try. As Charlene slowly started moving towards Big Boy he started viciously snarling at her. I gently and quietly urged her to keep going that it would be alright. Charlene trusts me and she kept going and got to pet Big Boy for the first time. She was thrilled to have done it and while she was petting him he had gotten where he was snarling even less. She was so excited about finally getting to pet Big Boy.
Big Boy still would not let us get near him. The only place where we could get close to him was when he was on the window sill and we had to reach across the huge desk which made it uncomfortable for us to pet him, but I guess it gave him a feeling of protection from us.
For a month the only place we could pet him was when he was on the window sill. Then one day I was able to catch hold of him on the floor by the bed and give him a good petting and by now he was loving it but he was still afraid of us. Then one day I got tired of bending over or kneeling on the floor to pet him and I just reached down and grabbed him up and placed him on the bed and started petting him. He was really startled at first and then he was really loving it.
After that we would snatch him up and pet him on the bed. It got to where he really loved being on the bed and was spending time there with the other cat's. We still didn't feel it was the right time to let Big Boy go outside as we were still having to somewhat capture him to give him his petting which he loved. Then one evening I finally taught him to jump on the bed after days of him being on the floor and my patting the bed and urging him to come up onto the bed, he wouldn't so after patting the bed for awhile I would snatch him up and put him on the bed and pat the bed a time or two and then start petting him. Then one day when I patted the bed he jumped up and got his loving's on the bed. What a thrill for me to have made this progress.
I felt that my education as a 'cat whisperer' was making great progress. This was my third feral cat to tame and he had taken the most work because the other two feral cats had been tamed as younger cats. I had used my intuition and psychic skills at every step of working with Big Boy and I had gained so much knowledge in loving him and showing him this love and Big Boy learning how to love back.
Every night Big Boy would go howling through the house doing this off and on every night. It sounded like he was in pain. This was the same thing that he would do outside at night before I got him inside the house. I told Charlene that if we got him fixed he would quit this and become even more tame. That week we took him in to the vet and had Big Boy neutered and he also got his shots. That night was the first night that he didn't howl at night and he has not done it since then. Something had been causing him pain in his testicles and I had psychically detected this.
What really surprised us is that the second night after his being fixed sometime during the night he got on the bed and curled up between us right at our knees just below where our cat Bandit sleeps. He has slept there every night since. Now Big Boy freely roams the house and is so kind and gentle with all of our other cats. Even when they try to pick a fight or just intimidate him he doesn't get rough with them he will just gently move back and let them have the right of way. He is so loving and gentle that finally each of our cats have grown to love him and they give each other love. It is beautiful to watch so much love in a family and kindness to each other. I have learned from Big Boy how to be kind and gentle to others and I see what I will get back in life.
Just two weeks after Big Boy was fixed we planned a day where it would be pleasant outside, it was January. Monday was to be sixty degrees so we sat up our lawn chairs in front yard by the orchard the night before so we would be able to just go outside, have our coffee and watch the cats. We had our coffee ready to go. At seven a.m. every morning we let the other cat's outside for the day. We leave the window open for them to come and go in and out of the house whenever they want to.
I had been preparing Big Boy for this day because about two hours before sundown each day we start calling out kitty's in and I wanted Big Boy to know how I would call him in, so as I would pet him each day I would pet him in him favorite place from his eyebrows back over his forehead in the same place as the first time I petted him and I would sing him his calling home song - kitty, kitty big boy, kitty, kitty big boy over and over I would sing him his song.
That morning was Big Boys first time being in the living room when I opened the window and let the other cats outside for the day. He watched them go outside and then he boldly jumped up to the window and went outside. This was the window that he had come in and out of when he was starving.
Charlene was already sitting in her chair outside and greeted the cats as they came out. Big Boy came out and was greeted by Charlene and then went about exploring the yard he knew so well from watching it from the inside window ledges. I brought out Charlene's coffee and we sat and watched the cats as they did their kitty things running up trees and looking for mice and moles in the orchard. Big Boy stayed right with them, sometimes going off and doing his own exploring.
Charlene and I would get up occasionally and walk through the orchard and discuss the trees I wanted to put in and the cat's would soon be everywhere around us doing their own thing but close by. Then we would walk around to where Charlene would tell me what plants she wanted to put in different places and how they would look. Charlene is very good at describing how she want's her flowers to look and how it will make the land so much more beautiful. We will discuss the land we will have to clear of brush to get her beautiful variety of flowering plants and bushes in and the cat's will follow us around as we talk often rubbing up against us and talking in there own pretty little voices.
Charlene knows each cat by it's voice even when she can't see it and I always understand what each cat is saying and I will often repeat what they say to me to her. I seem to understand what animals are saying and thinking so I would tell Charlene what they were saying.
Now Charlene has developed this skill of knowing what the cats and other animals are saying or wanting and we both talk back to the animals.
Learning to communicate with your animals is a learned skill. I will write about this more in another article.
On Big Boys first day out we had lunch inside and spent the rest of the afternoon inside. At three o'clock it was time to get the cat's in and we were concerned about Big Boy, but we had seen him off and on all day so we was hoping that he was close by and hadn't gone off. After all he was a feral cat before we had kept him inside for the past six months.
So we went outside and started calling kitty, kitty's time to come home, kitty, kitty Bandit, kitty, kitty big boy, kitty kitty Callie, kitty, kitty, kitty kitty. All of a sudden Big Boy comes running up through the orchard and into the house and soon all of our precious kitty's were safely inside.
Four cats including Big Boy lounging on the bed and loving on each other, the other two were scattered about on their favorite resting spots. It was such a great feeling to have them all safely inside and loving on each other.
Even grumpy Cally and territorial Little Kitty will let Big Boy love on them and they will love him back. I have never seen this before with them and Callie has even started coming up to us for loving and petting which she didn't do before. Big Boy is teaching them the benefits of having a gentle non possessive nature always being loving and not possessive. Our guy kitty's and Big Boy will hang out in a loving pile licking on each other and having a great time.
What I have learned from bringing Big Boy into our lives is that fear will sometimes keep us from the life that we should be enjoying.
Big Boy was so fearful when he first came into our home that he couldn't enjoy all of the loving that was there for him to have from us and from his new kitty friends.
I have not been the type of person that allows fear to stop me from doing things in life, but now that I have seen that letting go of one's fears as quickly as possible can bring immediate joys that we can't even see or maybe not ever imaging is possible.
Big Boy could have been enjoying this amazing life he is enjoying now so much quicker if he hadn't have been so fearful.
I am going to see what kind of life I can enjoy by letting go of any fear that I recognize in my life.
This is going to be an amazing part of my life that I am going to have such a great time learning about. Life is good for me right now, but what can't I see or imagine that is going to be coming into my life as I make a transition to no fear's at all in my life.
When we are calling our kitty's in the evening as soon as I call Big Boy's name he will immediately stop what he is doing and come running to me. I will pick him up and carry him inside and put him on the bed and give him a good petting for coming so fast. Then I go to get the other cat's. Pepper is always the last to come in because she is a teaser. Pepper will come up close to me then when I reach down to pick her up she will run away. She will do this over and over. So I have learned to get her last and if she is outside for awhile without the others when I call she will come running and jump into my arms.
How to communicate with your pets
I will write an article on how to communicate with your pets so that others can enjoy the ability to listen and understand what your pets have to say to you. If you would like to be notified when this article is written just email me.
Training Tiger the feral cat
Tiger is a feral cat that I am now working with. You can read his story by clicking here... Tiger the feral cat.
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