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When we moved into our new house in 2005, we discovered a family of feral kitties. The mother was friendly and may have been dumped (out here in the countryside it's rather common; we adopted several of our kitties and a dog who had been dumped), but the two babies were born in our woods. They would let us near enough to feed them but not to touch them. Over the next couple of years both kittens had kittens of their own. (We caught and spayed the mom, but couldn't get the kittens.) We fed them and built little box houses for them. Sadly, one by one the colony disappeared; there are lots of predators in our woods. Finally it was just Tiffy and her baby Toby. When Toby disappeared in October 2007 we caught Tiffy in a humane trap. She was really frightened so we had to be careful of our hands when we picked up the trap to take her to the vet. At the vet's office, Tiffy bit one of the vet tech interns and almost took her finger off. (Our vet took it in stride and said it was good experience for her to learn how to handle scared animals!) Of course everyone at the office had a prophylactic rabies shot but the law requires a ten-day quarantine in lieu of a necropsy. When we finally got Tiffy home, she hid except when she'd run out and eat or use the litter box. She knew us but was scared of being in the house. After three months of being a ghost (we just left her alone and let her acclimate), one evening as we watched TV she jumped up on my lap and started licking my arms from the elbows to my fingertips. After that I could pick her up and pet her, but it was another seven months until she let my husband near her. Now she sleeps with us and loves to roll over on her back for tummy rubs. I think she's very happy we trapped her, and we are too!

JP
Oconee, SC

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