by Madeline Laughs
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.
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.