Building Bridges with Hattie.
For those of you just coming into this story, Hattie is a semi-feral cat whom I've been feeding for over 8 years and who lives in my back yard. She sleeps under an enclosed porch that has no basement and eats at a feeding station in my back yard.
Hattie has no interest in living indoors. She doesn't even want to visit the indoors of my house. She loves her life.
That said, she also wants to be considered as part of my family.
A few days ago, because I decided to offer food to another feral cat (Purrley) who is new in the neighborhood, and for a few other related reasons, Hattie took off for parts unknown. "When You Don't Talk to the Animals."
Hattie showed up yesterday in the early afternoon. I was looking out the back window when she arrived, walking very slowly. She choose a comfortable spot of ground, curled up and went to sleep. I went out and tried to speak with her, but she was too tired to talk. She barely had the energy to listen as I welcomed her home.
I offered her food and fresh water, but Hattie was uninterested in either. She slept all afternoon, only arising once or twice to move out of the sun and into shady spots. She would immediately curl up again and go back to sleep.
This morning, I offered Hattie a good breakfast of the newer cat food that she now prefers. She let me pet her when I brought out her meal. That's the only time of day I can touch her at all or even get within 10 feet of her, and she won't let me pet her every day. That's OK. When she's relaxed and feels safe, I get to rub her head and check her rips to determine whether or not she needs me to increase her calories.
This morning I asked Hattie if I could feed Purrley. He hasn't shown up for last two mornings, but I still need to get her buy in. She said, "yes." She didn't sound enthusiastic.
I reminded her that we first met when I was feeding some kittens who had been dumped and whom I first saw eating bird seed until my feeder. She remembered that, but didn't comment.
It takes a long time to rebuild trust. I'm determined to do the best I can.
We'll keep talking and perhaps Purrley will return. If he does, I can't imagine not feeding him. But Hattie has to agree to this. She's not a mean cat. She's very gentle and kind. She just wants me to accept her as part of the family. I feel I've done that now. I hope she can feel the difference in me.