Adopting a feral cat is a lot like adopting a child. When they first come home, they need to be kept in a small kennel inside the actual building (in our case it was our shed) they will be living in. They are fed in the kennel and a small litter box is placed inside it as well. After the first week, we were able to let our ferals roam inside the shed but still needed to keep them locked inside. Alright, maybe it’s not exactly like adopting a child.
These strict rules are put in place to allow the cats to become familiar with the sights, sounds and smells of their new home. They need this time to make their surroundings their own so it becomes a beacon for them when they begin to travel and explore their new kingdom. It was tough to see them in the small kennel and to know how frightened they were. After all, they were trapped, taken to a vet, given shots, fixed, and a small part of their ear was cut off! That’s a lot to take in for a little furry babe. Then they traveled a distance to our house where they were kept inside not knowing what was happening. I knew I had to abide by these rules for their wellbeing but it made me so sad for them.
The third week we were able to unlock the pet doors in the shed and let them travel freely. That’s when the real nail biting began. Once Grady, Cloe and Maisie knew they were free to go only one came back home. He was a large cat so I assumed it was Grady, the father of the group. I was happy he remained but devastated knowing that two were gone forever. Yes, that was how I looked at it. They didn’t come home that first night, ergo, they were gone forever.
I had to stay strong and be persistent. I called for my babies every morning and night when it was feeding time. They never came. I tried to stay optimistic but it got harder as the days wore on. One morning I went out to feed my lonely stray and there was a second one waiting for food. My heart leapt! My girl came home! She came home and now I don’t have to worry about her leaving and not finding her way back. Oh happy day!!!
My hope returned for my third fur baby. If her family was at the shed then surely she would come back, right? I kept the feeding schedule routine and called for her every time. The only thing left to do was wait…