Updated May 24, 2018.
Eleven years ago I embarked on a wild kitten rescue. Two of my cats found, a tiny black and white kitten tangled up in some brambles. I was alerted to this by lots of growls and pitiful meowing whilst I was getting ready for bed.
Dressed in pyjamas I went into the garden and peered into the underbrush. I saw a bedraggled little kitten spitting and snarling. It was clearly injured, as there was blood on its mouth and nose. I grabbed my tabbies and put them indoors. My husband handed me a pouch of cat food and I went back outside to hunt for the frightened feline.
When I returned to the spot, she was gone, but I could hear her meowing and followed the noise. After nearly an hour searching through thorns and ferns, I saw a movement in the bushes and crept up. I reached down ready to grab the kitten, but it swiped me and I withdrew my arm, which had a large slash across it. Off it went again forcing its way through the dense shrubbery, looking for cover.
I realised that I was making things worse, so I decided to call to it like a mother cat would. Crawling on my hands and knees, I began to impersonate the sound an anxious queen would make when searching for her offspring.
“Prrt meow? Prrt meow?”
The kitten answered straight away. Result! So I continued to call and made my way to the summerhouse at the back of the garden.
I gave a brief, “Oh! Hi, John, Barbara,” to my neighbours, quickly explained what I was doing before they called the police, and then I went inside the summerhouse.
I sat down and in the darkness continued to call. Within a few minutes the tired, hungry and frightened kitten, emerged at the doorway. I called again and it came in. I opened a foil pouch and put the food on the floor.
The kitten slowly walked over to it and began to eat. When it finished, it was so exhausted that it lay down and closed its eyes.
I lunged forward and grabbed it.
For something so weak and small, that cat could struggle. It writhed and clawed and bit, but despite my mauling, I was determined to get the kitten indoors. I ran into the house straight to the front room, closed the door and let the cat leap from my clutches. It hid under the settee. My husband came in with more food and water.
When I opened the door the next day, I noticed that all the food had been eaten. I saw a small bulge underneath the throw on the couch and went over to it. I touched the shape and stroked it. The kitten began to purr.
The next day the snarling beast from the bushes emerged and we were able to see the extent of its injuries. Part of its lip was missing and clotted with blood. Over the next few days we gained its trust and were able to handle it and discover that ‘it’ was a ‘she’ and roughly four weeks old.
Despite falling from a tree and injuring her back, having recurring fits and ear infections, she remains a bit of a beast. She is top cat and keeps her minions in order by throwing herself on them and kicking and biting them, earning her the nickname of ‘Tasmanian Devil’.
But she is such a character, with her passion for custard and her love of the other cats, that we forgive her aggression, as we know it is really a sign of affection.
She enriches our lives with her courage and strong will. And despite her violent outbursts and shrieking instead of meowing, we love her very much, especially Calypso, who follows her around like a shadow.