Taming the feral

by Madeline Laughs
little mama full view

photo credit: Chris Shultz

Raising a litter of feral kittens has taught me a few things about people. I think in some respects, we all have a little bit of feral in us, even if we don’t want to admit it.

I might let you touch me, even though I am terrified of being hurt by you. Even if you show me nothing but love, I’m still going to be wary because there will always be something you do that scares me and makes me want to hide.  

You don’t know me and I don’t trust you, but if it means I get to eat and have a nice warm place to sleep, then I’ll tolerate you. I might even purr a little and sit in your lap, but the minute you leave the room, I’m going to pretend you don’t exist and that I don’t need you.”

When you caretake a sentient being that has always been wild, you learn to accept them as they are. You make as many advances as they will allow and you let them be when they withdraw. You wait for them to come to you because unless they come freely, they will never trust you.

The truth is that they don’t need us. They never have. They may not live as long, or have our definition of a quality life, but they do not need us, or our interference.

We are the ones who want to tame the wild and control the feral.

little mama on a fence

photo credit: Chris Shultz

We are the ones that want all of them to fit snugly into our idea of who and what they should be. And we are the ones that suffer the most when they remain who they are and refuse to conform. Our disappointment is far more poignant than the life they choose for themselves.

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About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
This entry was posted in All kinds of Advice and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Taming the feral

  1. Lenore says:

    Yes, I always will remain a little bit feral.

    Like

  2. seabbaticals says:

    But I want to cuddle!

    Like

  3. Very touching; for those of us who love animals, it is hard to imagine that they are better off in their own way, on their own. And yet, who’s to say that keeping them declawed and penned up inside and “safe” is a better life?

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    • whine-wine-whatever says:

      To my mind, removing their claws is never, ever acceptable. It’s extremely painful, it’s unnatural, it leaves them completely defenseless, and if you’re merely protecting your precious belongings and material objects from being damaged by kitty claws, you should probably get a pet rock.

      As far as keeping them penned up inside, I’m fortunate that my cat has an indoor/outdoor life. I think house cats, generally, have been so finely bred to domesticity that they relish human companionship and actually initiate affection.

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      • I agree Whine-wine-whatever and Liga. Removing their claws is never acceptable. Look at your finger and imagine having the end of every finger removed right at the first crease/joint. That is declawing and that is the portion of digit they snip off. It’s horrifying and some cats never fully recover from the surgery or the trauma of having it.

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  4. whine-wine-whatever says:

    You write: “…we are the ones that suffer the most when they remain who they are and refuse to conform. Our disappointment is far more poignant than the life they choose for themselves.”

    Oh, man. How fitting to re-read this now, after more than 2 years. I didn’t spot the lesson the first time around. Sometimes, it takes something more akin to a sledgehammer, because I don’t want to see the lesson. You picked a perfect time to re-post this. MWAH! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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