“What’s Your Story?”

This morning, I was relaxing in my easy chair upstairs, drinking my coffee and trying to collect myself for the day when Serena (now renamed Cheyenne) jumped on my lap!

At first she growled at me but I just kept breathing, after all, she had gotten up on her own accord. When I kept my breathing even and deep, she settled on my lap!

This is the first contact we have had since she arrived over a week ago. I have discovered that after removing all the mats which she had, she will shrink away from being touched on her back, just duck down quickly and walk away. No elevator butt for this girl, she growls if you try. She does like to be rubbed on the chin and the ears, so as we sat there bonding and I was rubbing her, I was wondering what her story was all about?

Who tossed this beautiful girl away like she was rubbish, and why was the first kitty rescuer so desperate to “get rid” of this dilute calico?

We enjoyed about a 15 minute bonding time when suddenly she growled, leaped off my lap and vanished back into the closet.

Oh well, it was sweet, sweet, sweet while it lasted. I don’t know what her story is, but her new chapters of her life begin for her now.


I Get So Angry

When I receive these cats who have lived through horrors unimaginable. It is hard to fathom how ANYONE can get into hurting, tormenting, torturing these lovely felines to the point where they look at all humans in their world with distrust and aggression.

I couldn’t step in between that aggression that she carried, no matter what I did. Going from passive to aggressive in the blink of an eye with no warning was downright scary. If my grandkids had been here, it could have escalated into something pretty nasty.

But to have her live on the very edge of that terror? What drove her there? What demons nipped at her heels created by someone in her past that abused her to that state? I just want to find that person and press them against the wall until they can’t get their breath, then throw them in a deep hole and leave them to find their own way out. So what does that say about MY dark side? That I could actually do harm to someone who is abusing a cat. It makes me no better than they are in that respect.

She was such a pretty girl- would have been easy to place had she not been damaged goods.

Years ago, I got between a man who was beating his german shepherd with a chain. I stepped right into it and found strength I didn’t know I had and managed to get the terrified dog away from him. We kept Kenai for years and after working with her for a few months, she turned out to be a loving pet and an incredible protector of me. I was at a gas station getting gas and was outside the car. A man was harassing me (He was drunk) He went to grab for me, and she had been sitting quietly in the back seat but when he grabbed me, she lunged through the open window and stood between us. She saved me that day, just as I saved her long ago. I just wish- oh how I wish that I could save them all.

Admitting Defeat

The reality of rescuing abused cats and kittens is that some of them are broken to the point of no repair.

This morning, Brooklyn launched another of her attacks out of thin air. No one was around her (but me) I was on the computer and she was sleeping when suddenly she woke up and glared at me. I caught her glare thought “Uh Oh” and pushed myself away from the keyboard. She launched at me, claws outstretched making horrible yowls and screams- I threw my bathrobe over my head, she landed on my head, scrambled down my back and went on to try and attack Mike.

I took off my robe, threw it around her, grabbed her up and put her in a carrier. I then called my vet and he has agreed to put her down.

I hate that I had to do this. I can protect myself, but my husband is vulnerable at this stage of his disease and she was a danger to us and to my cats. Sometimes, what they suffer before they come to a place of peace can’t be reached, bridged or fixed. It is unfair to ask a cat to live with this type of torment coursing through their body. To have one so aggressive one minute and so passive the next speaks to neurological damage or genetic defects and makes me wonder if they were beating her with sticks not her carrier?

Brooklyn I am sorry I couldn’t get between you and the terror and offer you a place where you could grow old and be loved. At least, you had dignity in the end- something not afforded to you in the beginning of your life. I just hope when the vet gives you that peace, you don’t take a piece of him with you. Sometimes these cats are so broken, there is nothing in this world that will fix them.


She is back in the house now, coming in on the heals of Brook when I opened the door earlier. She is quite docile at the moment, curling up near me as I tap out my feelings about her on this keyboard. I have found, much to my surprise that I can pick her up without a problem. She will also now enter the carrier freely as long as food is provided and I have been carrying her from room to room just to let her see that carriers don’t really eat kitty.

I suspect something neurological going on with her. This might be controlled with medication, but I hate medicating (doping) kitties. It never turns out very well.

For now, she will be inside and if she goes into Psycho Kitty Mode again, I guess I will just deal with the episode when or if it comes, but I suspect it will.

Escape Artist

This morning when I opened the door to the enclosure, a calico streaked outside! I inspected the cage and found a weak point in the wire but how she fit into such a tiny space is beyond me.

She is outside now, and was laying on the steps of the porch when I walked up to her, she was as calm as toast. Her trigger is on a hairs point and she is unpredictable. I have decided to just let her be for now and hope she doesn’t decide to rip up the outside kitties if she gets spooked again. Maybe the trigger is just being indoors and has little to do with the carrier? Whose to know? I wish I could crawl into her head and see for myself what is terrorizing her.

Not many cats intimidate me

But Brooklyn has started to. This morning, for whatever reason she launched into a full-frontal attack on three cats sleeping below her on the sofa. I was sitting there reading and got some of the brunt of the attack. After she finished with the three unfortunate kitties, she launched herself on the dog and on Sierra who was drinking water. I have no idea what trigger got pushed, she had been living peacefully among general population for a number of days.

I managed to get her into the bathroom bribing her with food, but getting her into that dreaded carrier was another story. By the time I was finished, I was shaking so badly I had to sit down for about 20 minutes to regroup.

I can’t even begin to imagine the terror that must go through her mind when she sees this carrier but she becomes a tiger with all tooth and claw.

I have her in the outside introduction cage, it has three levels so she isn’t cramped and I can fully stand up in it. I will just have to work on her slowly and try and find a home for her where she doesn’t have any pets to deal with. I feel so sorry for her and I could kill whoever made this lovely girl this way. Abuse, neglect, lack of socialization with other cats all play into why she is this way. My heart aches for her, but at least she is safe. I had about five cats ready to rip her up for attacking them.

It’s Hailing? In April?

Holy Smokes this weather is unreal. Glad we aren’t traveling on the holiday weekend, suspect there might be some nasty surprises in store for those who are.

Last night, I couldn’t sleep. I kept hearing the semi-feral kittens upstairs ramming the door trying to get out. So sad, if they were outside, they would be fighting to stay alive. They would be joining with other cats, finding food, hunting for prey and finding a safe place to hide out. So this morning, I decided to take them out to the barn and let them go. Sometimes, some of the cats and kittens just can’t adapt to captivity no matter how “safe” we deem them to be.

They immediately both took off scampered up the ramp to the loft and got lost among the stray hay bales. Later, when I was walking the pasture, I noticed they both were eating from the feral feeders near the barn.

When you work with traumatized kitties for a long time, there are signs they give out when they aren’t keen on being in kitty alcatraz. I rarely saw them when I went into the room and when I spent the night with them, they never came out of hiding. Just the sight of another human would set their ears flat back and their tails would tuck and eyes dilate. Not good signs and stressing them out, keeping them in a large room which is really just a large, luxurious cage just shut their systems down. So they are outside and will have food, shelter, fresh water daily all the mice they can catch and the other barn cats for company. Sometimes, even when you want to win- you can’t. It was important for them to eat and feel comfortable and now they are in their element. They have taken up residence under the hay barn. I know now that they are living on their terms, they will warm up to me over time without feeling forced into it.

“Hello Kitty…”

Meet Serena,

She arrived last night quite late. Her owners were renters and they were being evicted, so when they left, they left her behind. What in the world is wrong with people?

She is an older, dilute calico (strange how all these calicos are showing up suddenly) Last year the predominant color was black!

I call her Serena hoping the Serene will rub off on her as she really likes to growl. She is a matted mess but her trust meter is broken right now- undoubtedly wondering why her owners would dare to leave her behind. So, it will probably be the weekend before I can really get my hands on her and get her mat-free-

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Quietly regarding me with large, green soulful eyes, Brooklyn stares me down at the doorway to the kitchen. Her cries are plaintive, she looks longingly at the other cats gathered around the food trays and cries again. Her meaning is clear; “I am a cat, I am not meant to be alone, let me out.” So while the others are occupied with eating, I slip back the bolt and open it a crack. If I am misreading her message, I want to be clear to her, this is her decision to join the crew, not mine. I step back.

She steps boldly into the kitchen and heads for the nearest food tray. Although she has eaten already, she ducks her head and gobbles the wet food. No one pays her any mind, which is part of my plan. I always introduce new cats and kittens during feeding time. This is how they come together in the wild, during feeding time. Where the Alphas feed first and the more submissive ones wait their turn. But here, there is plenty for all and she just blends into the carpet of colored cat fur and is lost among the masses.

The more time I spend with her, the more I understand her terror. She does not fear other cats, she fears humans. I know that fear well. I recognize the fight and courage she holds within that drives her on to her goal, to be part of a group and not singled out for punishment. For her, there is safety in numbers. She is a determined kitty, my Brooklyn holding inside all the terrors of the past. I walk carefully around her afraid to set off triggers.

Only when she approaches me am I allowed to touch her. The pets have to be brief. Lingering to long with her can cause problems. She acts really chill, but there is a warning just underneath that coolness.

Her attraction to me was immediate as if she sensed we were kindred spirits. She wears her scars inside, mine are hidden by well-placed shirts and jeans. The marks run haphazardly across my stomach and my back, making days of being at the beach in a two-piece, also a thing of the past. They are a freeway of harsh reminders when the clothes are removed and I stand in front of my mirror in the mornings.

The marks can be covered up cosmetically. Years ago, my best friend Jeri suggested I get tattoos. I declined. These marks remind me of a life long ago, when a young, naive woman ran off with a man, she was “certain” would love her forever. But forevers exist only in fairy tales and sometimes fairy tales turn into nightmares.

As I watch Brooklyn navigate through the clowder, skirting the ones she knows instinctively to be the Alphas and hissing to all the others, her message is being sent. “No one is going to mess with me ever again.” I know just how she feels.