The Betterly household is officially a house of cats. It hasn’t always been like that because truth be told I would adore a dog, but cats adopt us. Oli aka Princess Feral Kitty is a Maine Coon that came to us as a kitten found in our wood pile. Her actual name is Oliver because we thought she was a he. She would walk back and forth at the far end of the property and go in and out of our barn. I always called to her and prayed she’d come and let us love her. I don’t believe in outdoor pets because they don’t get the love, shelter and attention they need, never the less, we fed and watered her regularly.
2 years ago last June my darling Thomas, a Basset-Beagle mix passed away and broke my heart. We went on vacation and when we came home found 2 baby kittens in the barn. Right away we knew Oliver was an Oli. We waited and waited and we didn’t see her so we brought them in and raised them with bottles. It was an adventure to be sure and with the help of my readers and family these two kittens thrived. I would still see Oli walking the back of the property and sometimes stopping to “meow” as if to say “you took my children”. I felt guilty and again wished she would come and let us love her.
When the kittens were 4 weeks old my husband heard meowing in my dad’s barn (my parents live next door). When he went to investigate he found Oli huddling under the car and 3 more kittens the same age as the ones we had. They were darling and beautiful so all together 5 kittens survived, an Orange, Black, Cream and 2 Calicos.
We brought them in and the cream colored one had pine pitch stuck to his nose. He had some type of infection and a hole in his neck. He was also about the 1/3rd of size of the others. We took him to the vet who wasn’t sure he’d live, but with lots of loving care he did.
These kittens were well loved but we knew two things: we couldn’t keep them all and they needed, along with mama to be fixed. Our Humane Society has a program that will spay and neuter all the kittens at no charge if you fix the mother cat. We had never really been successful at capturing Oli and on the occasions that we did we were afraid of her. But catch her we did and hauled all of them in. I was a bit amused with the idea of them trying to get Oli out of the cage.
This happened to be my Birthday and I prayed to God He would gift me with that cat. That he would help us help Oli and tame her. After their procedures were done the vet assistant called me and said, “Joie, Oli is a really really nice cat but she’s scared. If you want to tame her leave her in the cage and expose her to the human touch.” Since it was winter we had already decided to keep her inside until she was fully healed, and I thought I would try hard to make this beautiful girl into a house cat.
Over the few months from the birth of the kittens and after the learning curve I went through, we were were amazed. Oli was drugged when we brought them home and I pulled her out of the cage and laid her in my lap. I pet her, talked to her and tried to soothe her. She was so beautiful. She had been through so much, and out of fear wasn’t letting anyone help her life get better.
We kept one of the Calico cats and the Cream colored cat naming them Izzy & Vanilla. We KNEW Vanilla was going to require special attention because he was the runt and “special” and didn’t want to give him to someone that might not be prepared to care for him. After a few days Oli stopped hissing from her cage. We were no longer afraid to put the food and water in her cage, and she even let us change her litter box. We also learned how much she loved her babies and observed her trying to feed Vanilla her cat food even through the bars of her cage.
Today (2 1/2 years later), Oli is still a little skiddish but she is a doll. She is our princess and loved beyond words. I brought home what is now referred to the Princess Pillow. I specifically told her to stay off it as I plopped it on the couch, and she promptly climbed on top meowing. She sleeps on “her” pillow every day. She’s extremely boisterous and you never have to wonder what she’s thinking. While I would like to refer to her as the Taming of the Shrew, truth be told she taught us how to treat her. She is now living her happily ever after with 2 of her babies that she dotes on.