My Little Pony: Protect and Serve
Chapter 6: Alleycat (Filler Chapter)
Cats. Cats are wonderful pets. Then again, there are stray cats and feral cats. A feral cat means it has never been socialized. Like the Pony Police Forces, we will often work with animal groups that do TNR or 'Trap-Neuter-Return' programs to help keep the feral population healthy. Some pony cat owners say you can't tame a feral. I accept the challenge.
It began one day after the evening shift. Officer Gabby had found a place of her own, and no longer lives with Officer Gilda. Suddenly, I overheard the metallic sound of a trash bin. There she was jumping up onto a chainlink fence. A tortoiseshell cat, a big one, more than 5kg. Her eyes met mine, and she disappeared into the dark in the blink of an eye
I made a stop at a local pet store to get some food. In my mind as I was paying for the canned food, I decided to name the cat 'Gigi'. It was the morning of my shift, I saw her again, and made a light clicking noise with my tongue behind my beak. Gigi stared at me as I kneeled down, and opened the can. As I stepped back, Gigi bolted away in a flash.
'This is going to be tough' I thought
"C'mon, Captain, that cat won't budge," said Gilda
"You never know, things take time," said Gabby
"This cat will not be so easily tamed overnight, I can tell you that much," I said, and went to the station to begin the shift. After doing some patrol work with Officer Gabby, I noticed that the can of food I left Gigi was empty. I'm going to need a different approach to capture, and hopefully tame this 'ghost' of a feral. It takes time. It's not impossible.
One thing I have large amounts of is patience. I came back in the afternoon with a fresh new can of food for her. Gigi looked at me, and hissed. I took one quiet step forward, and she would take ten steps back, and hiss, "I'm not giving up, mein schatz," I said quietly to the cat. Gigi had that look on her face, and eyes to say: 'you're not catching me'.
Months passed, and Gigi was getting comfortable enough to eat with me around her. Gabby is right. It does take time. As soon as Gigi sees one of the other officers like Galena, she will run away and she is fast. I decided to fly, and find just where this cat is living. I found that she is living in King Grover Park under a bush not too far from the playground
'Time for the next phase' I thought to myself,
I borrowed a cat trap from the local TNR program, a soft blanket from home, and another can of food from the store. Officer Gabby was more than happy to help, "Here kitty-kitty-kitty," she called out cutely to Gigi only to get a hiss, and bared her teeth from behind a bush in the back parking lot of the station, "oh...this is one spicy kitty," said Gabby.
During my shift at the office, I would look out the window once and while. Hours went by, still nothing happened. That was until I heard a very slight 'clank' noise coming from outside. I went outside right as I heard the noise. A feral cat means that a cat has returned to it's wild instincts, and this is no exception. Gigi was pawing, hissing, and spitting.
"Well hello," I said to the cat only to get a hiss, and have her pawing at me, "now that's not very nice," I said in a motherly tone and Gigi hissed and growled at me. I moved the blanket over the cage. One part of the task is over, and now an even bigger step is underway. Thankfully, it seems Gigi has the TNR 'ear tip'. I don't have to worry about kittens.
"It's not impossible, but it will take time," I said to myself
Gigi hissed at me. I am not intimidated, "I am sorry you feel that way"
I took her home after the evening shift, and gave her a spare room. I brought in a cage, some blankets, and made sure there was nowhere to hide in the room. Her ears were swept back and still she hissed at me as I let her into the caged area. I made sure she had some room to move about. I looked at her in the eyes to tell her I'm here to help her.
"I am not giving up on you," I said to her as I placed down a litter box filled with litter for her to use. Days turned to weeks, and weeks turned to months. Each day, Gigi made more progress. It started with using a soft sponge at the end of a stick to get to touch her. I started with the back very slowly. To my surprise, Gigi seemed to take this very well
In the beginning, I made her a shelter in the cage area out of a cardboard box from when I first moved to the house. It took patience and months of hard work, but it seemed to have paid off. Gigi's ears are no longer set back when I went up to feed her. She did not hiss at me, or bare her teeth. She would blink her eyes when she stared at me. Amazing
"You trust me?" I asked, Gigi looked back and blinked
I was slow to approach and gentle with my touch, and used the back of my paw to pet her. My ears were welcomed to a sound I thought I would never hear from her. Gigi began to purr. After that, she started coming out of the cage and out of her comfort zone to approach me, especially when it was feeding time. She has also started sleeping in my bed.
"You are a good girl," I said softly to her, and scratched her chin and gave her a side-to-sider pet on the head. I did it. I tamed a feral cat. In the morning before the workday, I would hear her meow and see her leap up onto the kitchen counter for her food. It took months, and my patience with Gigi paid off. Now it was time for a new stage. A check-up