Sunshine and Juice were taken out of a feral cat colony as kittens. They were initially horrified, started to come around in my house, then moved to the cathouse. Sunshine did fine; Juice did not. As they went about their lives in the cathouse, I worried about the degree to which Juice was reverting back to feral ways. In addition, I had another cat in the cathouse who was NOT making the adjustment - Isis. Her story is tomorrow, but she is a big part of the story of the orange boys as well.
When I heard from M that she would be willing to adopt Sunshine AND JUICE, I knew Sunshine would do fine. He was sweet and loving and an all-around well-adjusted cat. But Juice . . . I decided I would move Sunshine and Juice to a cage in my office. I would see them much more this way. They could be freed into the space of the office during the day and put up in their cattery cage at night. Maybe I could bring Juice around a little before M came for them. As I was readying the office for this pair, I thought I might as well bring Isis to the office, too. She was terrified of ALL of the adult cats in the cathouse. She got along well with the kittens, but she had a special bond with Juice. They were fearful and feral together.
As October moved along, Sunshine became my best friend. But a nice surprise occurred as well. Juice and Isis started to come around a little, too. I stayed in contact with M, but her life was quite busy and she said it might be a few weeks before things settled down enough to bring the orange boys into her world. She said if anyone else came along who wanted to adopt them (together) to let them go. If not, she would be in touch when she could.
By November Sunshine was a bigger lover to me than most of my own cats. He rolled around on the desk making it impossible to do paperwork. He head-bumped me and rubbed his face on mine and even gave me tiny little nose kisses. I knew he would be a joy in M’s life. The other wonderful thing that was happening was that Juice had started coming TO ME for attention. He would run over and arch WAY up to be petted. He purred when I was in the room. Isis was doing the same thing. They were quite a trio, and all three seemed to be quite happy living in my office.
By mid-November M wasn’t sure at what point she would be able to get the boys. I was fearful that she might not end up adopting them. What would I do? I knew Juice and Isis would revert back to their previous selves if forced back to the cathouse. But these three couldn’t continue to live in my office forever. It had become a real pain as my kennel business came and went. I was keeping paying clients out of my office so the incoming and outgoing dogs wouldn’t scare the office kitties. People were filling out intake forms and writing checks standing at the counter in the main part of the kennel. NOT convenient.
As I mentioned before, M’s company downsized and she lost her job. She went back to college and November was the month she began to prepare for end-of-the-semester project deadlines and finals to come mid-December. She explained that right after the semester ended, she would be out of town for a week and then we were to the week before Christmas. She would be in touch after that. I tried to remain hopeful, but I was worried nonetheless.
You know the rest of the story. M DID come last Friday to pick up the boys. But what happened in my office on that day nearly turned the entire affair on its head. M sat in the floor and played with the three office kitties with the stringy toy from Andrea’s toy package. We talked, they played, and Juice even tapped M on the knee at one point. And then . . .
I picked Juice up to put him into M’s crate/carrier. He went completely stark-raving mad. He became a wildcat like I’d never witnessed before. He scratched, he growled, he ran straight up one of the walls, he beat himself against everything in that office. When he finally made it into one of the cages in the office, M and I tried to catch our breath. We were both bleeding. M had a scratch on her thumb. Sunshine and Isis were crouched into corners hiding and panting. I had no idea what to do. I turned to M and said - I completely understand if you would like to walk out the door and drive away. She said - Let’s try again. I reached for Juice, scruffed him this time, and tried to gently place him in the carrier. We almost had a repeat performance. I was about to lose my grip, so I put him back in his cage. I decided to try Sunshine, but now he was terrified and would NOT go into a carrier. I talked so softly and tried so hard to handle him gently. I did get Sunshine into his travel crate, but I still had no idea what to do about Juice. On the third try I was able to get him in. Sunshine was howling from inside his crate; Juice had become so quiet and still that I thought he might be going into shock.
I was horrified.
M was a trooper. She said she still wanted to try. We talked about the possibilities. She is going to give them a chance. If they don’t adjust, I will take them back - that is the Winnie’s Wish policy and the only thing I would ever want to see happen with my Winnie’s Wishers. However . . . I got an email from M last night. She is working with them and seems determined to give this the time it needs. I’m SO thankful. Keep your fingers crossed. I’ll keep you posted.