3 weeks ago a little kitten started meowing his head off out in my parking lot. He was screeching like mad, but people just went by. I peered under cars, in the shed, around the car port, into the woods, until finally I found the kitten, a little bit of a shadow, with that big voice. He wouldn't let me near him, although he was obviously crying for help and food.
A neighbor stopped to offer some wet food. Great idea! Another one brought a flashlight. Someone crouched down near him and cooed softly, "She's great with animals," her boyfriend said. And she was. A huge, bald man came thundering up offering to help. I thanked him sincerely but didn't think a giant would be a help just then...even a gentle giant. I met more of my neighbors in 30 minutes than I had in 3 years. Most of them brought something and then went on with their busy lives, which was fine. Me and the good-with-animals lady stayed with the screecher another hour, until we finally found a place it considered safe enough to eat. We couldn't get much of a look at it, or closer than a few yards.
I looked around for other kittens..there should have been at least two others. And where's the mom? This kitten is TINY. Probably just weaned a week ago. There was no one else with it though. That's sad.
Something about it's brave desperate cries stayed with me and I'd find myself out there at 2 a.m. to bring it food, say hi, spend a few minutes socializing. Sometimes the good-with-animals lady would be out, too. And another woman whose job was closed for the week because the river flooded. She started feeding the kitten every night. I'd go out to see who exactly was eating the food...raccoon, dog, adult stray cat or kitten? How many kittens? How much food? I sat there I donno how many hours, while the kitten, who by now had lost its voice, hid nearby in the brush, behind a fence.
One day I was getting desperate myself. It was showing signs of fleas and mites, it was too thin, too young, all alone, and there are other night creatures who will dispatch a little kitten, never mind people who don't like them, and cars. If you wait too long also, the kitten won't get adopted. Few people will adopt anything but a young kitten. Especially a feral, or wild acting and unfriendly one. So I bought some gourmet kitten food, and a toy. A stick with feathers on the end.
For four days I played with the kitten, by putting the toy stick through the fence. He...he's a boy...was crazy about it! For the first time he leaped around, ran, hopped, jabbed...he'd even crawl up the fence a bit to get to it. We played three times a day for a couple of days. Then suddenly, he looked at me, popped right under the fence and came dashing up to me. Like, "TA DAH! I'm out. I'm here!" I couldn't believe it.
But patience is a virtue. I knew he had to trust me a little bit more. I played with him until he threw himself over my shoe to chase the toy, until he forgot himself and chased it up my arm, until he rolled on his back and let me tickle his belly with the feathers. For two more days. I hated having to leave him out at night. What with July 4th coming, too. Fireworks, sparklers, more dangers. So I went to play with him five times the next day. He is super light on his feet, quick as lightning and mom had taught him the basics of crouch and pounce, though he would have learned later what to do with food once you've pounced on it.
Good-with-animals said he was coming into sight when she called him, and eating everyday, but she still couldn't touch him.
So I kept playing with him. Then he suddenly did another brave thing. He came rushing after the toy, but veered. "Ta dah! I'm in your lap! I'm curling up against you!" He went right from playing around near me, to placing himself completely in my trust. I thought of a line from the book The Little Prince, "You are forever responsible for what you have tamed."
Much as I hated to risk breaking that trust, I took my chance and grabbed him. I brought him into the first home he'd been in, maybe ever, maybe in 3 weeks. He had a fit, thrashing around, squealing, trying to jump down. But he didn't scratch or bite.
Right now he's got a room to himself. I have other cats who are let's say, utterly disgusted I have invaded their home with this, this, monstrosity. I remind them that they too were homeless monsters I brought in and tamed. But they deny it.
He's been inside 2 days. He purrs, he chases his toys, he runs to the door to greet me, he's already making giant leaps up onto furniture, and he likes sitting on my shoulder. He's using the litter box, and his little blue baby eyes are already turning green. "Ta Dah!" He's a house cat. Safe.