Meet Tarzan

by Kim Harloff
(Oneonta, New York)

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.

ginger and white cat sitting on grassTarzan when he was about a year old and roaming for hand-outs
bungalow house after a fire with people standingA frantic dog kept in the basement also managed to survive

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.

ginger and white cat peeking out from cardboard boxTarzan in his house
red and white cat playing with vacuum cleaner hoseTarzan's first playtoy, my vacuum cleaner hose. NOTE: Those wild eyes!

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.

He 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.

He 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.

I also found a Tarzan!!!
by: paula
I also found a Tarzan, he came around with snow on the ground, didn't want anything to do, with coming inside, he had been feral a long time.

Finally, after lots of cold, snowy days and night, I kept moving the food bowl closer to the door, then at last, I moved it inside.

He had made friends with our Midnight - they had been running and playing, one outside, Midnight on the inside, they became 'bud"s, so, finally got our boy, inside, then the action began.

He raced around the house, so scared, then headed to the window in the bedroom, tore up the window screen, he was a mess, it took, quite awhile to calm him down.

We named our Maine Coon, boy, Thunder, now he is happy, safe, and loved, so, happy to have this boy, he is an addition, to our family, Twilight, Midnight, Poppy, Shadow, and Thunder, wow, is he huge, and so, so cute

Bless you 4 saving Tarzan!
by: Rob T.
My mother-in-law was working as a security guard at a place that had changed owners and they were going poison all the loose cats that had been dumped there over the years.

So she brought one home and he was very wild. He got behind a wall by the bath tub. Being a cat lover, I started taking him food and laying in the little cubby hole access.

After 5 days, he let me start petting him & I was able to get ahold him and brought him down to my room with my 4 kids. After a few fights bites & scratches he calmed down.

Now 2 years later you would never know he was born out in the wild other then he eats like a pig but he is one the most loving kids we got!

He is our 5th rescue and has learned from one his brothers to start talking. My biggest shock was him saying feed me after I was feeding the 2 dogs.

I asked him what he wanted & feed me came out clear as day shocking both my wife & I he is one special guy that lives a inside life forever!

He's beautiful
by: Jodie
Oh, he is lucky to have found his patient human to share life with. My Mazy, see "left in a woodpile" is so like that.

Running and jumping high in the air. Someones these creatures come to us for a reason I think...perhaps there is a bit of Nero's spirit in Tarzan. Love his name..coonies are "jungle wild" aren't they!

by: Sylvia
Kim you are a very special person! What an inspiration you are! I wish I had your courage.

I have a feral that I feed daily, about three years now, but he wont come too close to me. He come for his meals and he will even hollow at the back door for me to feed. He has gotten so big and beautiful.

I would love for him to come in and eat so the other cats wont take his food from him. I would love to take him to the vet, but I cant get near him.

If I move I know I will take him with me because no one else will feed him. I hope I can throw a blanket over his head to get him in a cage. That's the only way the Vet will treat him and you cant blame them. :)

by: Kierra
Kim ... you are amazing! And Tarzan will live a long and beautiful life thanks to you!

Good Job m Oh brave One
by: Elaine Clark
You are a very special person !!! And he is a very lucky cat.

I take care of some feral cats and have built them shelters with heated pads and heated water bowls in their food shelter. My daughter and I have domesticated some feral kittens that were born under our shed.

We enticed them in the house with toys and food, then we provided them with their own rooms for a week or tow so that they could get used to us and our other cats.

We would go in the room and just sit on the bed with toys dangling to get them form under the bed. Also we brought socks in with the scents of the other cats and rubbed that on them.

The other cats would put their paws under the door and they would play. We were lucky to provide a few homes for these kittens.

My daughter took one. My big black cat that is feral now is terrified of people and wont come any where near us , he has been in my yard for 4 years now.

When I catch feral cats I use a cage with food in it and then I take them to be neutered and have all of their shots.

I usually don't have too much trouble catching them. Where I live it is illegal to catch feral cats. if the county catches them they kill them.

Good Job !!! I am so proud of you !!! It makes ,me feel so good to know that there are some people out there who really care for the kitties...

by: Sarah C.
An amazing and inspiring story! Your patience is incredibly, I consider myself a great cat lover but even I dont know if I would have the strength to deal with this! You are a great person!

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