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Discussion Starter #1
First off, thank you to whoever gave me advice on dealing with Rochelle. She is no longer the skittish cat she first came home as. She has the most wonderful, sweet (yet, demanding like a princess) personality, and it's amazing to see what she has become. Thank you!

On to the story. And let me say that not too long ago, this wouldn't have been possible with how she was.

I just got the girls switched over to a raw diet. Tonight I decided to serve a small heart with each girls homemade chicken chunks dinner. Both Samantha and Alice were fine with their food, and inhaled it.

Rochelle is a little bit behind the others, and can't handle larger chunks like they can. I have to cut her food up a little finer. So, I did just that, with both the homemade chicken chunks and the heart.

My girls let me sit with them on the kitchen floor during meals...I like to watch them eat, and Rochelle needs me to referee a naughty Alice away from her plate. :p Rochelle was still eating while the other girls were cleaning up (and trying to sneak back in the kitchen for a sneak at her dish, hehe). She ate all the meat pieces that were an acceptable size for her.

Then, she sat back and pawed at the pieces that were too big, and looked at me. I got the hint, and cut them up smaller. She again ate the pieces she thought were acceptable...then pawed at the ones that she thought were too big...again. This happened about five times before she was fine with the sizes of her meat.

I thought it was so cute that she kept asking me to do something about it. And now I know exactly how big to cut her food, because she told me herself! Yay for learning experiences! :crazy

The End!
 

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That is absolutely adorable :) I could totally see the gorgeous Rochelle in my mind doing this. What a testimony to your bond, you two are creating your own "language" of communicating and understanding!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah, I thought it was cute too. ;) It took no less than 30 minutes for herto finish dinner last night, but now I know just how to prepare her food.

Nicole - Thank you, what a sweet thing to say. :) It means a lot to me, since it's been over a half a year getting to this point with her. I'm grateful for every time she shows she trusts me, no matter how big or small!
 

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This is a lesson for us all. I think if we listen, we'll find that they're talking. Just like we are trying for them to understand us, they're all the time trying to communicate with us too. It's a question of being willing to listen, and being open to understand from their point of view. I still have a lot to learn regarding listening, really listening to my cats. Because they don't speak our language, they talk to us with their bodies - eyes, paws, head - and their different sounds. Learning to listen to my cats reminds me of the children's efforts in the movie ET.

The best part is that the more they see that we genuinely want to listen and understand them, the more they communicate to us.
 

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What a great story! and a wonderful tribute to you to for your patience and perseverance with Rochelle.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Straysmommy - I agree completely. :) In my case with Rochelle, we did have some communication errors in the past...she rarely ever talked or made any indication she ever wanted anything because she was so scared (all she did was hide), and I tried to change things that probably didn't need changing. But now that she's finally come out of her shell, I'm able to figure out what she needs by her gestures or meows. It takes time, sometimes, but we're patient with each other, and we figure it out together eventually.

ami - Thank you! Your words always make me smile. :)

And I wanted to report, that this morning, I made sure to chop up her food into the right size for her, and she actually rubbed up against me when she was finished eating. She's never done that before! I am not ashamed to say I teared up a little. I just love her. :heart
 

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Yay! I've always said our cats are smart and can communicate with us if we would only take the time to stop and listen to them. I've found even my ferals and former ferals will try to communicate with me and I feel that helps us later down the road with furthering their socialization.
Good job w/ Rochelle!
 

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Awwww...that's so nice to hear that she rubbed up against you! Maybe she was saying "mommy, thanks for caring enough to pay attention to what I'm saying."

Yes, I have several stories with my colony strays where they were trying to communicate something to me and I just didn't know at the beginning to listen to them with an open mind, so I missed their messages completely and so missed good opportunities to become closer to them.

One success story: There's one cat that keeps the neighborhood awake at night. It's been so for at least 2 years. Lately I really listened to her - her body gestures told me that she doesn't like to be petted or her head stroked or anything, but she adores rubbing against my legs (going back and forth as in a trance) till she's had enough. That's her preferred version of petting. So now I do just that - make sure she has comfortable access to my fleece-covered legs, and just stay put till she's had enough. Maybe it's a coincidence, but in the last few days since I started, there's been no noise from downstairs at any hour! I think this rubbing must be very important to her, because she gives it preference over eating, however hungry she may be!

I've found with my strays that I have to listen to each individually, as they each have their way of communicating with me, and their preferences as to how to relate between us. There are no generic recipes. But I find this is one of the fun challenges of relating to cats...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Straysmommy - Aww, that girl sounds so sweet! I love that cats (and animals in general) are so forgiving. Even those of us that love animals, screw up and do wrong by them, without even realizing. But they forgive and continue to work towards making us understand, whether thats learning to "meow" or rubbing on us, or whatever. I believe those relationships are truly special...one that you've both worked towards and both embrace.

Thanks Rachel. :) I most definitely agree with you.
 
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