Take a walk on the wild side

Tanya Rowe of Chudleigh with one of her tamed feral cats Tiger Lily

Take a walk on the wild side

JULY 2016 | Chere Kenyon

MOST PEOPLE think that dogs have personality and cats are aloof creatures worshipped by ancient Egyptians.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, cats can be surprising, interesting and adorable animals.

It can be difficult to earn the trust of cats who have once been wild, dumped or abused.

But once you do, they reward you with their amazing personalities and loyalty.

On Australia Day 2012, my mom spotted a striped wild kitten running around her garden. She thought she was going crazy when this kitty seemed to disappear and reappear somewhere else entirely.

She was relieved and surprised when two identical twins eventually popped out of the bushes.

My sister Tayna and I managed to catch them but they were wild little spitfires.

We named them Aussie and Tommy.  Aussie became mine, and Tanya took Tommy.

Our method of training was simple. Every time we were sitting in the lounge we would hold a kitten on our lap and stroke them.

Initially, Aussie was a biter so I would hold him in a towel. Eventually he stopped biting as he learned to trust me. Gradually, he would allow me to stroke him on his legs and tummy as he slept on my lap, which has now become his favourite sleeping place.

Aussie and Tommy have such big personalities and we have now trained them to be indoor cats.

However, they still love to be outside at times so they have outdoor houses where they can enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

We’ve also taught Aussie and Tommy to walk on a harness and lead. Initially both didn’t like it. I’m sure Aussie believed his back legs were paralysed when we first put it on.

We found their love of being outside was the best training ground and they quickly got used to the harness when they realised that they could move around and explore the great outdoors.

Don’t imagine that you can ‘walk’ a cat though. It is more a case of following your cat around, so it takes some patience.

Since rescuing Tommy and Aussie, my sister Tanya Rowe, has also rescued five other cats.

All have their own sad tale, including one that we picked up limp and almost dead and one that had been abused and now has a physical disability.

So if you want to adopt a cat, please consider getting a rescue.

It may take longer to bond with them, but they’ll reward you amply for your time, love and patience.

Be sure to also get your cat de-sexed as that is the best line of defence to protect other animals.

Mike Moores