Halloween Cat

We have a little cat at work by the name of Halloween. We just call her Hallie, since she’s rather a timid little soul and Halloween is rather a big scary name for such a small and shy little soul. She’s a very pretty little cat. An orange and black tortoiseshell. Her feet and lower legs are black and she has big gold (usually frightened) eyes. We carry feed out to her in front of the shed, and she sneaks out, carefully watching for the slightest sign of danger. No one has never been able to lay hands on her.

She came from a cat rescue place a few years ago. They place feral cats on farms. We got Hallie and Smokey at the same time. Smokey eventually became quite tame, but Hallie never has. We lost poor Smokey last year to some sort of illness or infection. The vet never quite figured out what was wrong. But he was likely quite an old cat. He was at least happy and friendly for the last couple of years, after a lifetime of junkyard cathood.

There is something of a rat problem under the old barn floor. Dusty (the young cat) has been catching and eating so many rats that he is getting enormous, and has started eating rats and throwing them back up for me to tidy up. Nothing nicer than finding processed rat on the barn floor first thing in the morning let me tell you.

Anyway, the boss got completely freaked out by all the rats scurrying around (they are getting very bold!) and decided he had to poison them. I, of course, got freaked out about the risk of one of the cats eating a poisoned rat and demanded that we find a way to lock both cats up until the massacre was completely over and cleaned up.

So Linda procured a live trap (meant for raccoons) and we managed to catch Hallie in it the first night. I found her the next morning, completely traumatized by her imprisonment, and took her upstairs to the little apartment over the barn. Locked her into a bedroom with a litter pan, food, and water. Dusty got the living room (since he’s big, rude, and territorial and not at all nice to Hallie).

This morning when I went up to give her some breakfast I decided to try to touch her. She was crammed into a little hidey-hole on a shelf. It seemed likely that she would take a swipe at me in self defense, so I pulled my sleeve down over my hand to try to touch her. She was too timid to even resist though. Just cringed back. I rubbed her a couple of times and then reached with my bare hand. She froze for a second and then rubbed the side of her face tentatively against my fingers. Then I rubbed her ears. She started to purr. I scratched the side of her neck and she leaned against me. Pretty soon she was purring madly and rubbing hard against my hand. She actually fell off the shelf in her enthusiasm.

Once down on the floor though, she cowered again. I think the sight of me looming over her was too much. So I left her to eat her breakfast. When I went back this evening to feed her some dinner, she was much more confident. I was able to reach right out to her, on the floor, and scratch her ears. I sat down on the floor with her and she twined around me, purring madly. She went right around me, leaning on my back, came back around and put her front paws on my leg. Eventually I picked her up and cuddled her a little bit. She could only stand a few minutes of that, but she enjoyed it. Purring the whole time.

It’s incredible to see a cat that has been so feral suddenly turn around so abruptly. I wonder where she came from and if she maybe had some human contact early in her life?

6 Replies to “Halloween Cat”

  1. She sounds much like my feral cats. I took in 3 ferals, trapped/spayed/placed here. Grace was very, very shy, and afraid of the world. It took her about a year. They all like to be pet and rubbed on, but only if they initiate the contact, they are not interested in the human having the idea first. Grace still is a little jumpy, but she rubs on me, and follows me around. The barn cats take shifts, Misty waits on the deck for me at feeding time, and she escorts me to the chicken coop. From there, she drops off to wherever it is that she goes, and Gracie picks me up from there and escorts me to the barn. And then they reverse on the way back into the house, where Misty sleeps on the deck waiting for the next shift. Daisy just maraudes the neighborhood, harassing everybody she possibly can and creating as much havoc as possible. I swear the cat plays “chicken” in the street.

    1. They sound like sweethearts Michelle. Dusty and Smokey both learned to love humans too. But Hallie just seems to have changed so abruptly it seems odd. Literally overnight. We trapped her, put her in the apartment, and the very NEXT morning she suddenly let me rub her ears. After something like five YEARS of being feral at this farm (and who knows how long in her previous life). Amazing.

  2. It really is amazing, that little cat was so afraid of us when she first arrived that I only ever laid eyes on her a few times the first year we had her. My theory is that she has been watching all the stuff that horrible Dusty gets away with and wants in on the action.

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