Tiger came to live in the woods immediately adjacent to our property. Since Tiger was a full feral I was never able to gain his trust enough to gentle him, or touch him in any way. I could never coax him to come near the house for food either. He would come just close enough to let me know he wanted a meal, but as I carried food to the designated feeding area at the edge of the woods he would walk next to me while keeping a good 3 to 4 feet between us, all the while hissing and growling at me. He would not approach the food I put down until he was sure I was really going to walk away.
Tiger must have also had a bad experience with a cat trap in the past, as I was never able to coax him near a trap with food or anything else.
I had heard that cats may sometimes bring a gift to their caregiver in the form of a prized “catch of the day”. However, Tiger had a habit that I wasn’t sure how to take. His habit earned him the name “NurseMaid”.
He frequently brought LIVE kittens to the property. He literally carried them by the scruff of the neck and dropped them off near the feeding area and would then keep an eye on them from a distance. I can’t begin to tell you how many hikes through the woods I took in search of abandoned kittens.
The kittens Tiger brought couldn’t be approached either without them scrambling as fast as they could for cover in the woods, or without Tiger running to snatch them up to carry them to safety if he felt they were threatened. At one time, Tiger was living with at least two kittens in the edge of the woods, and he did his best to provide the nurture that they needed.
Unfortunately, during this time we had a very bad thunderstorm and Tiger and those kittens disappeared. He returned about a week later, but the kittens didn’t. At least not for a very, very long time.
Tiger continued to visit frequently over the next year or two and two more cats joined the “semi-feral” colony that was developing near our place. But things suddenly changed in the cats’ little “colony kingdom” and Tiger would soon never be seen again. This, however, is another story to be told in SnagglePuss’ upcoming note.
For now, the above is a picture of Tiger providing nurturing care to one of the kittens he brought. To give you a preview into upcoming notes, this image is of a kitten (TacoMama) nursing who disappeared during the thunderstorm only to return a long time later with two kittens of her own. She is still with us today. The other kitten that disappeared (Buffy) also showed back up a long time later and is also still with us. She became an indoor kitty due to an injured belly and also a difficult spay procedure.