Thank you so much. She really has become a special cat to me. She is the reason I joined CF, because she had just been diagnosed with Hepatic Lipidosis (fatty liver) and I needed support as I tried to save her at home. CF really pulled us through and it changed our relationship. She went from being a stand-off-ish former feral to my snuggle buddy who now sleeps with me every night and/or nap, either on my head (yeah, ON my head) or snuggled right up against my belly/chest, under the covers with her head sticking out next to mine or tucked under my chin.
...and you are right...I do not have very many pics of her. She is NOT a very patient camera subject, and I was thinking just this evening that I would need to take some better pics of her.
That kitten was "Tabby". She was the friendliest of the litter and the first one to come around to being socialized and she led the way for the others. After I'd had them (Tabby, TonyHawk, Tess and TiggerThreeToes) for a few weeks I was able to trap another litter of three (Daisy, Diego and Dagger) to socialize for the adoption center at PetsMart.
They are, clockwise from gray/white kitten @ 9 o'clock:
Daisy, Diego, Dagger, Tigger, Tess, TonyHawk (named for the 'hawk' shape on his back) and Tabby.
I marvel at this cat; Malibu. If you only knew how feral she was, prowling around me in the back property, slinking, growling and hissing...and now she sleeps on my head or against my chest. Rubs her nose on mine and stretches her feet out to me when I pet her. I am amazed at the change in her.
And I marvel at Pretty, too. Pretty jumped up onto the TV bed (spare room double-duties as a lounging TV room) next to my husband, allowed him to pet her and walked on top of my husband tonight. Further startling us, she sat on his belly, facing him, and purred and rubbed her head on his hand as he pet and massaged her.
Pretty was my most challenging feral to tame. It took 14 months between TNR and her letting me faintly touch her fur! Here is a timeline. I was boggled when I saw it all written down and chronicled that way.
Four years of work and the results:
12/2004 ~ TNR.
02/2006 ~ first touch of fur.
2006 ~ worked on touching and petting.
2006/2007 winter ~ lifting and being on my lap as I sat on the concrete or knelt.
mid 2007 ~ working on coming into the house and staying inside longer and longer. The TV freaked her out. Also worked on being picked up and held.
2008 ~ coming inside, able to stay overnight and use the litterbox. Sometimes staying in during the day, too. At first she would only go through the door if I held the door, never my husband. By the end of the year she would enter/exit for him, but wasn't very comfortable around him. If she jumped onto the couch or bed and noticed she was near him she would immediately jump down.
2009 ~ We lost Dusty (her companion) at the very beginning of 2009 and Pretty has stayed inside almost completely. She hasn't been outside in about 6wks, so I think she can now be considered an 'inside' cat. Husband worked with her and she now lets him give her treats and pet her. For her to walk all over him tonight was one of the last barriers to come down.
Patience and persistance has paid off.
That it is! Slick-as-snot when wet and will clump pounds onto your shoes! When it is wet/rainy here I use my rubber boots to trek back/forth to the barn. It dries hard, but cumble-y. It seems to be a mix of fine clay and grainy sands, it makes great 'dust bowls' for kitties and the horse to roll and have a good 'dusting' or a scratch.