Friday, August 17, 2007

Catch Cat as Catch Can...

Stacie over at Here Storkey Storkey asked if people had any "talking to animals" stories. Here's mine...

My grandmother had a farm and had LOTS of "barn cats". They were terribly skittish and wouldn't come near humans. One time when I was visiting she asked me to take the scraps out to the cats. I wanted soooo badly to pet them. I think it is because they seemed so wild and free and beautiful.

I took the pan out and set it on the stairs - nowhere near the cats. I went over to the hill that separated the barnyard from the farmhouse yard/lawn, I just sat there and watched the cats. I kept a friendly posture, made eye contact in short flirt-like moves. I didn't move or force my attention on them as I knew they wouldn't like being stared at.

I sat there for quite a while, and every few minutes one of the cats would wander just a few feet closer. They kept an eye on me, watching for signs of hostility or threat.

Soon the cats were within mere feet of me. They were so interested in what I was and why I was sitting there. I could feel their sense of unease, but I tried to project friendliness and calmness. I was sure they could tell that I was different and ment them no harm.

Eventually one of the smaller cats came close enough for a smell of my hand. Then it skittered away again. After what seemed like forever another cat, seeing that the first one had not been harmed, decided he wanted a smell too. He however decided not to run and instead sat down about a foot from me - just out of reach.

Eventually about 7 or 8 cats were circling me within a few feet. Sniffing. Searching. They seemed to me to be wondering if I was a large cat looking for a home. The air seemed to have changed. Everyone seemed to feel less scared, more sure that I was OK.

At last, one of the momma cats strode near and nuzzled me. I was so elated. I felt a calm and a peacefulness like never before. I was accepted, if only for a moment. One nuzzle lead to another and eventually every cat, save one, had had a stroke or two from my hand. I sooo yearned for that one little kitty to accept me, but I could tell it probably never would. It was more of a loaner.

Just as success was acheived my uncle came onto the porch. He yelled back into the house for my grandmother to come quick. Everyone thought something was wrong and dashed to the porch. I'll never forget My grandmother's exact words, yelled across the yard, "You can't pet those cats! Why, they won't let you!" and my mother's reply makes me almost as proud tonight as they did almost 25 years ago, "Well, maybe you can't, but obviously Dawn can. She has always had a special way with animals."

I don't know if I ever thought my mother saw anything truly special or different in me before that day. I felt so surprised and very proud. I wanted the world to know that I had petted the unpettable cats. I am the cat whisperer.


Natalie said...

:D That is an awesome story! At work I make an effort with the feral cats and several of them now let me pet them, even pick them up. It can be a bit of a shock to people that I can do that with these certain cats!

Stacie said...

That is wonderful! I love that sweet.

The cat whisperer indeed!

Furrow said...

That's a great story. There is a special art to getting a skittish cat to approach. I'm pretty good at it, myself. It requires patience and a calm half-attention. Come to think of it, it's a good way to get into a meditative state.