Skip navigation

no spam, unsubscribe anytime.
Skip navigation

"I've caught another cat," announces my friend who sets a live-trap for possums raiding his chook pen.

''Domestic or feral?"

"Looks pretty wild to me."

"Female or male?"

"Male, probably -- it's pretty big."

I sigh. "Bring it over, then."

When they show up, I see a huge, scruffy black-and-white cat crouched against the wire mesh, its green eyes wide with the unfocused terror I'd seen a year before with Phantom, my first feral cat, trapped by the same friend in the same place. After five weeks of hiding in a dark corner of the roomy enclosure I'd built, she'd gradually become a trusting, playful, affectionate companion.

But she'd been five months old at most. This big tom looked five years, probably more. What were the chances I could earn his trust?

But what choice did I have, except to try? Taking him to the tiny local SPCA was a virtual death sentence. Staffed by volunteers at one cat-lover's home, it had neither space, time, or resources to tame a wild adult cat unlikely to be adopted..

We put it in "Phantom's Palace." I brought food twice daily, speaking gently to the shadow in the darkest corner, cleaning the litterbox, and leaving. After five weeks, he started emerging, inch by inch, to take meat from my hand. Then I tentatively scratched his chin as he ate, eliciting a tiny purr. During five more weeks of incremental progress, he accepted stroking, then holding; then he learned to play and vocalise.

When he trusted enough to enter a carrier, I had him neutered. The vet discovered he had no teeth, due to FIV! With much care, he became a strong, shiny, robustly healthy cat, occupying my home office with a catdoor to his own deck enclosure complete with tree. He loves to play, "talks" constantly, and basks in affection from me and all who visit.

Now an endless source of love and delight, Photon ("a small particle of fast-moving light") is a constant reminder never to give up on any animal. Love and patience truly can conquer almost anything!

Lethea Erz
Golden Bay, New Zealand

Read other stories!

Spoil Your Pet

Help Animals In Need

Subscribe to RescueBox! Every month you'll receive a box of premium products your pet will adore. Your subscription funds a donation of 2 vaccinations and 5 pounds of food to shelter pets in need each month!

Get 10% off your first order! Use promo code GGRB10CENT at checkout.

Choose Your Pet:


The Animal Rescue Site Home Page

The Animal Rescue Site was founded to provide food and care for rescued animals in shelters. With a simple, daily click of the purple "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button at The Animal Rescue Site, visitors help provide food and care for rescued animals. Visitors pay nothing. Food and care is paid for by the site's sponsors and distributed by charity partners of The Animal Rescue Site. Visitors can help more by shopping in The Animal Rescue Site store. With each item purchased, shoppers funds food and care for rescued animals in need. The store offers a wide array of items to show your support, as well as fair-traded and handcrafted items from around the world.

Share this page and help fund food & care: