I know you remember Angel. She’s the white cat who was thrown out when the owners died and the contents of the house were being sold. There are several posts that tell her story. Here they are in chronological order.
The most important thing about Angel’s story is that even though she was completely un-touchable (and I feel certain – abused), I knew beyond a doubt that she was meant to be here with me. Too many crazy coincidences lined up to land her at Winnie’s Wish. But once here, because of whatever trauma she’d been through, she was not just un-touchable . . . she was dangerous. She charged and clawed and bit and growled. There was absolutely NO touching this cat. She also HATED other cats and all people.
We ended up converting one of the dog runs in my kennel into a kitty apartment for Angel. I figured that as long as she was safe and content (and she did seem to become quite content in her new digs), she could live out here life here – out of the elements and away from danger. Everything about her survival and the ordeal we went through to get her could easily be classified in the “miracle” category.
And so Angel’s new (safe) life began. To feed and clean her area, I could drop a safety door down and block her away from me while I worked. Then pull the slider back up and fasten in place when I was safely back out of the run. Angel had her food, water, litter box, climber, beds, and an entire outdoor dog run to go outside into the fresh air and sunshine. I was happy for her but not for me. I can’t begin to explain how badly I wanted to get my hands on this cat. I would talk to her every day and try to convince her that I was good. I wanted to touch her. I wanted to pet her. I could hardly stand not being able to have any physical contact with this beautiful girl.
Every day when I dropped the slider and stepped into her run, she would jump up on one of her shelves and hiss me away. Every day I would stand – eye level with her shelf – and talk to her. Sometimes I would put my hand against the chain link and she would immediately lash out. But I would keep my hand there and keep talking to her in a gentle loving manner. At first, she would try to hit my hand with her claws and she would hiss and growl. Gradually, she seemed more annoyed than aggressive. She would try to attack, and when she couldn’t get to me, she would jump down from her shelf and saunter away. One day, when I put my hand against the chain link and started talking to her, she hissed, growled and then SNIFFED my hand. My heart started racing and I just kept sweet-talking her. She turned away from me but didn’t jump off her shelf. She just sat there with her back to me. I continued to talk and then I slowly moved away. The next day the same thing happened. I don’t know how many days this went on. But after several of these encounters, one morning as Angel sniffed my hand, I pulled some bravery out and poked one finger in. I touched the side of her face. She whirled to bite but I was able to pull my finger right back out. The next day I tried again.
I won’t go into the baby steps, one at a time, here on the blog. But let me just say that over a long period of time, I started being able to put my fingers through and touch Angel more and more. Some days she would immediately try to bite me, but I noticed that some days she WANTED me to touch her. Of course, this only made me want to grab her up and love all over her even more. But we continued with our baby steps for weeks. Then one day, I reached through the chain link and she leaned into the chain link and pressed against my hand. Tears immediately filled my eyes. I rubbed her with one finger and she continued to let me. Then she promptly hissed and tried to bite me and jumped down from her perch.
When we left for vacation in mid-May, I was worried that we would lose our progress over the ten days I would be gone. The first thing I did when I cleaned her run that first day back was to try reaching through to touch her. She leaned in. I was ecstatic.
From there, things moved quickly. I was really (I mean REALLY) worried about trying the logical next step. At some point I would need to try to step into her run with her while the slider was up. I decided I would pull the slider and hurriedly get on my knees in her run with her bowl of canned food ready. She loves her canned food, so I hoped she wouldn’t come out fighting. We had some very strained moments. She didn’t know what to do and I was definitely “stiff” when she came bounding through her little door. She stopped, and in that second I wondered if I was about to be attacked and what would I do if I had to get out and she raced out with me. How would I get her back in? But there I was – in her space – and she just stared at me. I hurriedly put her food dish in front of her and she hissed at me and proceeded to eat her meal.
I’m going to let the videos tell you the rest of the story. I still can’t pick Angel up. And she still hates all cats and all other people. But I’m petting this beautiful girl now. And we have a relationship. I told all of you when I named her Angel that I wanted that to be an omen for things to come. I wanted, someday, to be able to touch this cat. And now we’re there. I’m touching an Angel.
Have a great weekend.