10 Things


Fidy Says
19th January 2017

10 Things

posted in Cat Stories |

Poppy’s not the first cat I’ve tried to bring in from the cold, (apologies to Deric Longden) 20+ years ago there was Jackson and more recently Leonard. I was successful both times with these boys and they each lived out their remaining years in love and comfort.

They had both been stray tom cats, so you’d think that Poppy, being only semi-feral, would be an easier proposition. Sadly no-one had told Poppy this.

So here, in no particular order, are the 10 things you need to succeed.

1. A good supply of ‘Dreamies’ cat treats. (Other brands are also available)

2. If you’re doing it in winter, 2 anoraks a scarf and a thick jumper are essential.

3. Lots of spare time. All cats are different, some are braver than others. Poppy is very timid. You need lots of time to allow them to explore at their own pace, but with supervision.

4. You also need lots of patience. Poppy loves being made a fuss of, but in the early days seemed to forget between visits, so each new day I had to remind her.

5. A degree in cat psychology is helpful. Peter does the theory, whilst I do the practical.

6. The ability to talk calmly for hours about absolutely nothing, so your voice becomes familiar. After a few weeks I could read Poppy the ingredients from a cornflakes packet and she’d purr loudly.

7. The physical and mental stamina to kneel down a lot, sit on the floor a lot, then get up a lot. To endlessly, and pointlessly, open and close doors over and over again. Cats have a mental ball of string when they’re exploring new places and always need to have their escape route covered, before belaying the next bit.

8. Be prepared for the unexpected. When Poppy first came into the house she fell hopelessly in love with our staircase, which you can see here in a photo from 2014. It’s been decorated since then, but you get the idea. She particularly loved it’s spindles!!

9. Never give up hope. On one particular occasion we’d had a bad day, I’d upset her by trying to pick her up (too soon) and I thought she’d never speak to me again. Then, after tea as I was washing up, she appeared with her front paws on the kitchen window sill shouting to come in. How could she do that, she’s so small?

Well, outside the kitchen window we have a sort of ‘Mary Poppins’ roof-scape of old chimney pots. You can see them here in the summer full of pelargoniums. She’d jumped on to the tallest one in the corner so she could attract my attention.

10. Finally you need commitment and unconditional love. If you adopt a fully grown animal, in any circumstances, you never know what you will get. They will no doubt be well set in their ways and you can’t send them back if you suddenly discover you don’t like them anymore.

We were lucky with Jackson and Leonard who were both lovely boys, and I think Poppy will turn into a lovely girl.

Yes, she’s very timid, but she knows what she likes and what she doesn’t. If you over step the mark she lets you know, not with hissing or spitting, but with a low growl that comes from deep within her tiny body.

If she looked up at you and said “push off” she couldn’t make her feelings more plain. Indeed I’ve seen the local feral tom cat ‘Macbeth’ (so called because he looks like he comes from Scotland, eats porridge and drinks Irn Bru) keep a very respectful distance when she tells him to go away.

Poppy comes indoors now, sleeps for hours on the sofa and spends the nights in the closed porch, (that picture was taken before the improvements) where she has her own snug little basket complete with en suite and coffee making facilities.

We’re still learning about each other and we still get it wrong sometimes, but overall progress is good, and more importantly Poppy is safe, warm and happy.

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