One June morning, as I was sitting in the kitchen drinking my coffee, I looked out into the back yard and saw, curled up on the roof of my garden shed, a tiny silver kitten. She was sleeping in the sun curled up in a tiny little ball.
I hurried to fill a bowl with tuna and opened the door to the back yard. Before I got the door opened the kitten had disappeared. I called “Kitty, kitty, kitty,” put the bowl of tuna on the roof of the shed and went back inside. I didn’t see the kitten come back that day but that night the bowl of food was empty, so I refilled it.
This was to be the pattern for the next month. I would occasionally see the kitten curled up in the sun on the shed roof but the minute she heard the back door open she would disappear. Every morning and every night I would fill a bowl with food and put it on the roof of the shed and the food would always get eaten.
I eventually began putting the food on the ground next to the shed and that food, too, would disappear. Every few days I would move the food bowl further away from the shed and closer to the house. Each time I put out fresh food I would call, “Kitty, kitty, kitty.” One day, as I was calling, I saw the most beautiful little kitten face peering at me over the top of the wood fence.
As the weeks went by, the kitten became more comfortable in my back yard and I would see her sleeping in the flower beds, playing in the azalea bush or chasing bugs across the grass. But she was still completely wild. If she so much as saw me watching her from a window she would disappear.
As she grew older she began catching birds. Normally, I would have been upset with a cat for catching birds, especially since I was giving her plenty of food to eat. But this little kitten had been all alone for so long – she could not have been more than 5 or 6 weeks old when she first showed up – that I could only be proud of how she was learning to fend for herself. And the birds soon learned to steer clear of her.
As autumn progressed and the nights got colder, I worried more about that little kitten. She had progressed to taking her meals on the patio and I would often see her sleeping on a patio chair. So, I put a small plastic pet cage out by her food dishes and filled it with towels for her to curl up in. The first night she claimed that cage as her own and after that I would often see her curled up in it, even during the day.
I decided that I needed to put more effort into getting the kitten into the house because it was beginning to get very cold at night. So, each night when she curled up in her little bed, I would open the door just enough to get my arm through it and hold out a piece of chicken or tuna or turkey for her. After a few days she was actually taking the food out of my hand!
I continued holding out special treats through the door for the kitten I had named, Daisy, and I also started holding out things for her to play with – bits of yarn and little stuffed mice. Daisy would come to play with the yarn and toys and sometimes she would grab my hand and wrestle with it. Her little body was the softest thing I had ever touched. But if I tried to fold my fingers around her she would be off like a shot. Still, she was getting more and more comfortable around me.
On the day the first winter storm of the year blew in I decided it was time for drastic action. Daisy was curled up in her little bed on the porch with the cold north wind howling through the vent holes. I took a towel out to the porch and quickly threw it over the opening in the cage, pulled it tight and rushed into the house with the cage, kitten and all.
Six years later, Daisy still lives with me. She is still pretty wild and I am rarely able to touch her. But she is happy and has made fast friends with the other cats in the house. In fact, Gibson is her special friend and she loves to cuddle up with him in the big chair in the living room.
She still likes to get special treats and she has a definite sense of time. Every night at 9:00pm Daisy starts talking to me. If I am moving around the house, she will cry a couple of times to get my attention and then start walking toward the kitchen, looking back at me as she goes. If I am sitting in the living room, she will stand in the kitchen doorway and talk to me. This is my cue to come give Daisy her kitty treats. When I bend down to put a few treats on the floor for her, Daisy will rub her whiskers against my hand and purr for me. On very special nights, she lets me pick her up and hold her for a little while as she purrs and coos.