Pussums the Adopted Cat
How a Wild Kitten Became Our Tame Cat
This is the story of how our little feral kitten came to live with us, after being abandoned in the wilderness behind our home.
First Contact With Our Feral Cat
Our first contact was when we heard a little kitten miaowing pitifully in the garden - probably crying for her mummy, we thought.
She was very timid kitten and wouldn't come near us when we reached out to her.
I put out a saucer of milk for her, thinking she might be hungry, and stood back.
She lapped it up greedily and ran off. Within a few hours we saw her again, this time perched quite high up on the roof of our shed, mewing continuously and looking very distressed.
Is This Your Cat?
No, of course I know it isn't your cat, because one day in August 2008 she chose us as her adoptive parents. And although I advertised the fact with notices pinned to several trees in our local streets, no-one called to claim her.
This is the Advertisement I Stuck on Trees and Lamp Posts Near Our House
A Possible Solution to the Mystery of Where Our Little Kitten Came From
Months later, we heard from a local man that he had seen a woman turn out a basket full of kittens onto a vacant plot of land near the road where we live. We never found out who she was, or whether that included our little kitten. but we assumed it did, and that solved the mystery, although it is still surprising that she survived, given that we do have urban foxes around our area.
Tempting Her Indoors With a Dish of Food
The Beginning of the End - Pussums Stays with us
My partner is quite a softy and he nipped down to the shops without saying anything, returning with a tin of cat food. I fed her outside, as she was unenthusiastic about coming anywhere near us and we were unenthusiastic about bringing a possibly flea-ridden wild cat into the house.
I found a box which I lined with a cosy piece of towelling and left it in the shed for her to sleep in. She seemed happy with that, as it was enclosed, dark and snuggly so she felt relatively safe.
That was the beginning of the end:
The following day I tempted her with a dish of food to eat just inside the back door, and stroked her for a second whilst she was hungrily gobbling up her food and unaware of anything else.
Losing her Fear
The next day she was eating in the place where we still feed her. I stroked her for a bit longer before she rushed under the kitcfhen table to hide.
Fortunately, because it was summer, we were able to keep the back door open quite a bit, so that she didn't feel like a prisoner, but we always put her out at night to sleep in her cardboard box, as she was clearly an outdoor cat.
Gradually she got used to being with us, and within a week she was quite happy for us to handle her, but still very nervous and apt to run off. The neighbours told me they were also feeding her, and all the neighbours in our row of houses knew her - we all talked about her. However,we were the only ones without a cat already, and that was probably the deciding factor for our independent cat.to live with us rather than anyone else
Naming the Cat - Choosing a Name
We started calling her Pussums
We started off calling her Pussums, or Pussy, not giving her a proper name because we thought her true owner might soon claim her afrer seeing the advertisements I had pinned up on various trees.
After the first week, when she started spending more time with us, she was so adorable that we began to think about keeping her.......and thinking about names.
We hit upon Pushkin, close to Pussums and the name of someone we both admired, So that became her official name but., despite sneers and laughter from all who know us, we continue to call her Pussums.
When You Get a Cat You Need Equipment - You're Going to Need a Lot of Equipment
Just starting with the minimum basics you'll need to get within the first few days:
- Cat litter tray
- Cat litter
- Any washable container for water
- Any washable container for food
- Cat food
- Soft sleeping mat or blanket
Cat Hygiene for Pussums
Litter Tray and Bag of Litter
As a safety measure, in case our little visitor stayed the night, I bought a small cat litter tray and a bag of litter. I put it in the bathroom and showed her how to sit in it and move the litter about (No, I didn't sit in it myself),
Once or twice at that time she did stay in the house overnight, but she never, ever used the cat litter tray and, amazingly, never had an accident - she was completely house-trained, and only wanted to go to the toilet out of doors, usually in the open land behind our garden, where she seems to have been living rough. I kept the litter tray for nearly a year, but eventually turned it into a seed tray, and I gave away the only bag of litter I ever purchased, unused.
We never found out whether she had been trained by her mother or by humans. We were just grateful!
Why Don't You Adopt a Cat Too?
I can recommend it!
According to research, they can alleviate loneliness, generate feelings of calm and well-being, and stroking a cat can even reduce blood pressure.
More Requirements When you Adopt a Cat
The Expense Alone in Adopting a Cat is Almost Prohibitive, So Think Carefully Whether You Can Afford it Before You Take it on
How to care for cats, and what you need to buy - the following items are essential, to keep the cat healthy -
- A Flea Collar or Flea Drops (from vet or general stores)
- Injections for Worms or Worm Drops (injection from vet or drops from general stores)
- Cat Flu Injections
- A Carrying Basket (to take the cat to the vet)
- An Individual Food Bowl
- A Water Bowl
- Cat Toys (kittens love to play)
- Cat Scratching Post (to stop it scratching your furniture)
It is very important to take the cat to a vet to get injections for cat flu, which is a killer, and as all cats get fleas and worms, you need to control these with medication or injections from the vet. It is cheaper to buy these from various places, but they are not so strong as the Vet's prescription drugs for cats.
The vet will also examine the cat to ensure there are no other problems such as ear or mouth infections, and may suggest spaying or neutering. This is no place for a moral discussion about the pro's and cons of these processes.
You might find that getting pet insurance policy will give you peace of mind - it's a gamble whether it actually saves you money in the long run - you can't foresee how the health of your cat will develop
Worms and Flea Control for Cats
You need to make sure your cat is de-wormed and that fleas are eradicated.
Make sure you buy something age-appropriate.
Our vet recommended it because our cat was constantly scratching. Needs to be applied regularly, on a monthly basis. Sometimes cats need something stronger than this, and you might then need to get a vet's prescription
Helping You to Understand Your Cat - Two YouTube Videos About Cat Behaviour and Communicating With Your Cat
The first video is a short showing of a somewhat anxious feral cat being encouraged to socialize.
The second is a short description of cat behaviour.
NB: cows' milk is bad for cats - don't give it to them!
Contrary to popular belief, cats find it very indigestible and it can make them sick or give them diaorrhea
You can buy special milk for cats but normally just give them clean water - this is adequate for their nutritional needs
That Cat Struck Gold When She Moved in to Our House!
© 2010 Diana Grant