Ishmael was trapped at about 16 weeks old. He’d been fending for himself in a rough area where he was a target for the neighborhood kids and survival was a full time job. He was sick, weak and hungry and most likely would have not lasted much longer. At 16 weeks old Ish was at the point where he was considered feral and by rescue standards at the point where he was an extremely iffy prospect for successful socialization.
My good friend took him into her already crowded group of survivors and nursed him back to health. Ishmael's medical care (complete blood panel, testing, neutering) was all very generously funded by Palo Alto Humane Society. He quickly regained his strength and became one of 12 rescued kittens at various stages on their road to socialization. Ishmael abdicated. He sat on the sidelines and watched. He didn’t bond with any of the other furry residents, and to say he was shy would be an understatement. This is the time in Ish’s journey where he graced me by entering my world.
When I opened the carrier he hissed at me. He pressed himself into a back corner as tightly as he could manage and when I took him out he hissed, growled and dug his claws into the blanket lining the bottom of the carrier. He was frightened and angry, but never physically fought me. I isolated Ish in the bathroom for a few days then moved his carrier (his safe place) into the bedroom slightly expanding his world. For the first week or so when I took him from his safe place and held him, he just laid in my lap and growled then escaped to his carrier at the first opportunity. We repeated this process every morning and two or three times in the evening. As the days passed he moved closer to the carrier door each time I came to get him, but only left the carrier under his own power to eat and use the litter box when I wasn’t around.
As it turned out “Ish” is extremely curious, playful and loving. Ish is now my best friend and definitely has more personality than any of the five cats that have shared my home with over the years. He greets me at the door when I come home from work and lies on my lap or beside me when I watch television or read. On occasion he brings me one of his toys to share and always sits on the bathroom vanity while I prepare for the day. At night he sleeps at the foot of the bed wrapped around my feet.
The true victory is demonstrated in the way Ish greets visitors. When someone comes to visit he no longer retreats to the bedroom. He knows this is his home too and most times he goes to the door with me to greet our visitors. As soon as they sit down he moves close to inspect them and all that they carry and accepts attention as if he has known them forever.
The purpose of my humble efforts here is to give you a snapshot of a kitten that had not fate and very caring rescue folks intervened would have most certainly ended up dubbed unadoptable and slated for euthanasia at a local shelter. In my limited experience Ish could be the poster kitten for the rescue community’s efforts.
It will be extremely difficult to give Ish up when he finds the right family to adopt. As painful as it will be for us to part ways when that time comes, I know there are many more kittens that need a helping paw to find their permanent home. If my friend needs some assistance in the future I will be more than happy to lend a hand again in the future. Ish has returned more to me in love and affection than I could have ever imagined.
Interested in adopting Ish? Find out more about this special kitty on IBOK’s website.