Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mysterious Weasel-Cat

On Halloween we rescued a young, tortoiseshell feral cat that Nutmeg caught in the woods. We have been slowly domesticating her.

At first she was terrified and cringed in the corner of the large pet crate we put her in, but after a month of yummy cat food, warm, safe shelter, antibiotics to get rid of her respiratory infection, and plenty of handling she was starting to act almost like a normal housecat. While I was working she would jump up onto my lap and purr, or attack the cursor on my computer screen. She wrestled around with our big orange, fuzzy cat and learned how to play, batting a toy mouse around the room. In the morning when she wanted breakfast she would rub against my hand, purring. But she was still extremely skittish, and if there was any commotion or a new person entered the rooom, she would race back to the corner under my desk, slinking low to the ground like a weasel, which is what we have been calling her.

I say "was" because several days ago she went missing. I had begun leaving her crate door open so she could go in and out at will to explore a bit if she dared, and one morning she was nowhere to be found. She did not come for food all day. We searched for her everywhere, every cupboard and closet and nook and cranny, upstairs and down and in the basement. I waited quietly in each room, hoping to hear a rustle that gave her away.

We couldn't imagine how she could possibly have gotten outside--or that she would want to--but after three days with no sign of her, I feared she must have either somehow gotten out or must be injured or trapped somewhere in our house and we might not find her in time. It has been totally baffling and worrisome.

Then last night in the middle of the night Sara heard a scampering on the stairs and realized it was Weasel. She ran down and caught her and closed her in the office with food and water and her crate.

A bit later, Sara got up again to check on her and when she opened the door, Weasel shot out and disappeared into the dark house. She had eaten, drunk water and used her litter box, but did not respond to Sara's calling. We have searched for her all over again today and simply cannot figure out where she is hiding. So much for domestication.

When (if) we find her again, I guess we will have to confine her and start all over again taming her. I hope we can get her to relax--it seems pretty pointless and a bit creepy to have a cat living in your house that you never see.


Bella Love said...

Ya' know, maybe she can hear mice some where, I know we have them in the garage since its warmer there. She might be hunting and that is why she hasn't been around to eat. Now, killing mice isn't a bad thing, but it puts a slight damper on you trying to domesticate her. Our cats would disappear to hunt and come back a few days later. Older farm homes tend to have lots of nooks and crannies for a kitty to hide and hunt in too. She will come around I'm sure. Get a cat nip plant and let her be drawn to it, lol. Just a thought.

gz said...

Don't forget that you don't own a cat, the cat owns you, and you do things with her on her terms :-)

katiegirl said...

My cat, Chilli, was only 8 weeks when we got her, but her mom was a stray. Chilli loves us, but hates other people. We didn't see her at all over Thanksgiving when company was at our house. We also had a cat when we were little that my mom bottle fed from the time she was only a few weeks old. She was the same way. Cats that were strays/feral are usually always on the shy side.

I'm sure she's grateful to have such a nice home now!