Monday, August 07, 2006

Bam Bam, the Fearful Feral

Bam Bam came to Rikki's Refuge in October of 2005.Bam Bam was a very young little boy. Bam Bam was very sick. Bam Bam had a horrible eye infection, and a terrible respiratory infection. Bam Bam was very scared of people.Bam Bam had never known a human to be nice to him. And now he would spend the next six months in a cage, being treated for his illnesses and injuries. This meant having his painful eye touched, getting poked with needles, having wounds scrubbed out, being held down and force-fed when he was too sick to eat. All this treatment, of course, made him feel much more comfortable about the human species.

By the time he was ready to be released to a cat house, he knew for certain, humans were evil. He was all healed, except for scar tissue over his left eye, leaving him partially blind. We thought he would be thrilled to roam in the 2000 square-foot freedom of his very own feral cat house. But instead, he cowered in the corner in terror. Too frightened to even come out and eat. After a few days, we felt too sorry for him, and brought him into the 9th Life Retirement, Assisted Living and Psychiatric Center. He felt much more comfortable back in his usual surroundings.

Finally he began to play. A group of other young ferals moved in, including Cola, a little feral girl, who was dispensed from a Coca-Cola machine one-day. They became good buddies. They romped and played. Soon Cola and her friends were ready to go out to a feral cat run. We thought Bam Bam would be happy to go with them. But again, poor Bam Bam was terrified. He huddled in the corner, refusing to eat. Soon he was back in the 9th Life Retirement, Assisted Living and Psychiatric Center.

But all the young ones were out playing and having fun, and the old folks didn’t much appreciate Bam Bam. One day Bam Bam decided if he didn't have young cats play with, he would play with humans, and he skittered out from underneath the couch and jumped on human ankles as they walked through his room. Soon you couldn't walk by, without Bam Bam clinging onto your ankles. It didn't take much longer before he let us pet him. And now he's become a very precious, but still frightened, little boy.

Sometimes in his racing about, he'll slide between our feet and into the next room. He stands perfectly still, looking first in one direction and then the next, absolutely terrified of the monsters that may await in the unknown. He is completely petrified, until we pick him up and take him back to his room. Then he goes back to being happy Bam Bam.

We keep trying, and we will keep trying, to acclimate him to a feral cat house, because we think he would be happier with lots of young friends, and 100 foot runway to race and charge, and big climbing toys to reach new heights. But every time he tries out a cat house, he feigns absolute terror, refuses to eat, and gets returned to the 9th Life Retirement, Assisted Living and Psychiatric Center. I'm not sure if he belongs in the Assisted Living for the Mentally Handicapped Section or the Psychiatric Center, but he sure isn’t a feral cat!

He still has some of the usual skittish feral attitudes, like the terror of being lifted off his feet.But he’d make a wonderful pet for somebody willing to give him the patience, love, and understanding that he deserves. Do you have another kitty or two friend for Bam Bam, and the love in your heart to welcome him in?