About six months ago I decided that it was time to welcome a new cat into my life, as my previous cat had died a year before. Although I was still heartbroken over Ninja's death I really missed having a cat.
I live in South Africa where we have no shortage of stray cats, since many of the people where I live don't see the need to neuter or spay their feline friends. I adopted a very scared and very mean little ginger kitten and named him Lord Fluffington.
About a week after I brought him home, a family friend phoned me up and asked if I would like a Siamese kitten. My mom always says when it comes to animals, my heart is like one of our local taxis ... there is always room for one more.
I asked her a bit about about the kitten and found out that it was in fact a seven-month-old youngster who had spent his whole life in a cage. The woman who bred him was going through a divorce and in the process had stopped taking care of her cats. I couldn't say no.
The next day she brought him over in a pet carrier and told me they had had great difficulty catching him. I put the little guy in the spare bedroom and opened up the carrier - all I saw was a white blur of fur as he ran for the bed. He stayed under the bed for the first two days.
No one could get near him. He was terrified of each and every single thing we did. I told our family friend that I wasn't sure if we would be able to tame him as he was completely wild. She said that the breeder told her that if we didn't want him we should just open the door and let him run off, as she didn't want him back.
I wondered how anybody could care so little about such a beautiful creature.
I began to spend a lot of time in the room, reading out loud to him so he could get used to my voice. After about a week he began to come out while I was in the room. He would sit on the dresser and watch me with wary eyes or peer at me from under the desk.
He loved to lie in the closet on the linen, and after a while I could touch him while he was in the closet. The first time I touched him I was shocked to find that he was a bag of bones under his long fur. He was so thin you could feel every bone in his body.
The first time he purred when I stroked his fur (which was after about two weeks) I started to cry. It was so special.
He finally began to accept me, but whenever anyone else came into the room he would run for the nearest hiding spot. One day I couldn't find him anywhere in the room. He wasn't in any of his usual hiding spots. I looked under the bed, behind the curtains, in the closet. I looked everywhere. I began to worry that he had somehow gotten out and was somewhere scared and alone.
In the end I found him curled up in one of the desk drawers. I had no idea how he got in there because it had been closed. That's how he got his name. We named him Houdini.
Houdini became more and more comfortable and began to play and to curl up on my lap. Now he roams the whole house and can be quite naughty if he wants to be. I think he is making up for all the time he lost while he was in the cage.
He loves stealing my elastic hair bands and playing with them - he also loves to chew holes in any paper he finds lying around, even if it's a really important document. Recently he discovered that the piano makes a sound when he runs over the keys!
He loves playing with Lord Fluffington and they spend hours chasing each other or lounging in the sun together. Houdini is a loving and playful boy who has brought so much joy into my life. Finding this miracle cat curled up next to me when I wake up every morning makes me think just how lucky I am to have him in my life.
Reply from Caroline:
Thank you Elsa for your lovely story about Houdini, and Lord Fluffington too. You must have worked very hard with both of them to get them to the point where they accept you and each other so happily.
They're clearly very lucky little cats to have found you! It can be tough working with cats which haven't had the best start in life but it's so rewarding when they do settle and become the happy, loving creatures they were always meant to be.