Monday, November 21, 2016

My Mysterious Barn Cat

One miserably frigid February morning a few years back, I opened the door to the shed where I keep hay and out streaked a ball of black lightening. I looked into the nearby brush afterward and saw two green topaz eyes checking me out! Oh, no! A stray kitten. When feeding and chores were done, I put out a bowl of dry cat food that I acquired from my aunt's house next door. The food was gone in the afternoon when I returned and Jack (as in Black Jack) and I began our slow dance towards friendship. At first, the only thing I ever saw was those striking green eyes looking out from the bushes as I put the cat food down. Then one day, Jack began his habit of eating lustily from his bowl as I did my other chores. It was then time for twig training! What do I mean by that? Each day, I would take a twig and touch Jack gently with it. Most of the time he would rush away but eventually he got used to it. Now a try for the sweet spot!
All cats have glands on the sides their cheeks that when rubbed produce phermones (feel good hormones). Momma cats rub and lick their babies on the cheeks to help create loving associations. I began taking my twig and rubbing those little black cheeks of Jack's. At first Jack was not happy and ran away but eventually he got it! The pheromones created when I rubbed Jack's cheeks worked to create a bond between us. Now I was able to pet Jack with my hands and slowly began getting him used to being handled and picked up (important because I wanted to take hime to the vet and have him neutered!). It has been a few years now and Jack is still a fast friend. He is the first to greet me at the farm with his talkative meows and enjoys keeping the rat population at bay while I am away. Sometimes an accidental friendship can prove the test of time as it has with Jack and I.

Jack, my little black panther with the kind heart

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