by Kim Harloff
(Oneonta, New York)
Tarzan when he was about a year old and roaming for hand-outs.
I rescued this little creature from a house that burned down back in November 2012 in our neighborhood. He was just a kitten about a year and a half old when I captured him which was no easy feat because he is feral. I fact.
I named him Tarzan because he was living in the wild in an overgrown and trashed backyard; spending the harsh winter in a dirty fiberglass car top carrier, and liked to chase squirrels up poplar trees. This was his kingdom, his only world, before I began domesticating him.
After patiently luring him into my car, I drove home and sat in the cold car for an hour until I gained his trust and, wearing thick leather gloves, grabbed him and squeezed him into a cage (he screamed and viciously bit me several times).
The first few days were awful! He chewed up the vacuum cleaner hose; which he liked to curl up in until I made him a security shelter out of a cardboard box, ran around the house knocking over lamps and breaking the blinds while trying to escape, stinking up the house twice daily using the litter box in the bathroom, which he seemed to have no trouble adapting to, constantly hissed and growled, attacking my feet whenever I walked by, and severely biting my hand which I had to put in a splint for nine weeks.
One day he made a break and bolted out the kitchen window. And he would have made a clean getaway had only the window been open.
Since then, he has calmed down pretty much and is bonding with my black thirteen-year-old female cat. I had him neutered and given a rabies shot and they both now peacefully (most of the time) occupy my bed which has an electric mattress cover.
He still bites, but in a playful way, not as a defense, and he will jump about three feet into the air in an attempt to grab my hand while I play with him. I also discovered that he loves catnip and rolls around in it while purring and stoned out of his skull.
After a long day at work and I come home, he gets all excited; bursting into several rapid sprints from room to room and anticipating what I have brought him for dinner.
Now, if I can only keep him from jumping up on my computer desk and knocking everything off of it as he stretches out (about 32" or about .9m long now and weighing about 14 pounds or 6.5 kilos).
According to the ASPCA, the average lifespan of a feral cat is about 4.7 years ... this lucky guy will live much longer.
He is not my first feral cat with Maine Coon features, he is my second. My first, Nero, died three-and-a-half years ago from nasal cancer. See: Dawn of Spring
According to the ASPCA: On the average, 13,000 feral creatures are euthanized daily ... make that 12,999 for this day.