This is my article published in the Sol Times Newspaper this week. I really only want tame cats for re-homing.
I wrote last week about how important it is for people to tell us about the cats they are feeding early, particularly the tame ones who are easily re-homable, and even more importantly about the abandoned vulnerable ones. We need to put sterilisation and re-homing plans in place urgently before the Summer.
Of course I know that lots of feral kittens will still be born, and that is why ‘taming’ is vital too. Please don’t just feed your feral kittens, do spend time with them, and try to get them used to human contact early. This is their best chance of becoming re-homable. The German organisation that finds homes for our cats, doesn’t want nervous, ferals, so please do not ask me to try to help a hissing, spitting cat, or one that hates to be touched.
I have re-homed feral kittens in the past, but they have tended to be beautiful siamese ones, or ‘special’ cases for another reason. It is no fun being bitten or scratched every time you take a kitten to the vet for injections, and even worse having to keep effectively trapping it. There are also so many lovely tame ones, that we really should be focusing on them. My standard policy for 2011 is therefore that I won’t take a kitten for re-homing until it actually enjoys being stroked. Getting it to this stage is your job.
In addition please don’t deceive yourselves that a cat or kitten is tame when it isn’t. Wild cats will wrap themselves round your legs, and allow themselves to be touched at feeding time, but food is all they actually want; they will often become totally feral when trapped. Some are not aggressive, but will go virtually rigid when you try to stroke them, and will not meet your eye. I have some semi-feral kittens, including Salma pictured, in foster care now, but I believe they will in time become friendly cats, because they give me ‘the sign’.
They still hide, but when tempted out by treats they LIKE to be stroked, lifting up their heads for chin tickles, at times rolling over, AND purring. I think this will be my golden rule for 2011. I will try to re-home your semi-ferals if after a little time, there is ‘the sign’. I need purring!