Let me start from the beginning….One crisp day in September 2010, my husband was in our garage and heard a tiny meow. He called for me to come there and we tore through everything trying to find out where this little cry was coming from. Way in the far back corner, beside an old metal filing cabinet, there was a pile of leaves and a little plastic bag with a calico kitten huddled up on it. The kitten looked to be about 3 or 4 months old and very thin. As soon as it saw my husband it took off running out of the garage. We talked about where this little creature could have possibly come from and what to do. The following day, I set out some kitten food for it. We didn’t see the kitten for at least another month but the food was always missing. Toward the middle of October, I am in the garden clipping back plants and packing leaves around them when through the corner of my eye, I could see the kitten. It was on the opposite side of our pond watching my every move. I didn’t make any moves to scare it but just kept working and talking softly to it. I would see that kitten several more times in my yard before it really started to become cold.
We continued to feed the kitten daily and keep fresh water out there for it. Our garage is detached from our house and when it rains or is very wet outside the floor of our garage gets standing water on it. I had to make sure the food was off the ground. I placed a rug on a pallet I found and kept the food and water on it. My husband had taken one of the seats out of his van in the summer when we were buying flowers for our yard, and put it in the garage. I brought out a quilt and old down comforter and made a bed on the van seat for the kitten. We used a large rock and propped up the door with it so it wouldn’t shut completely. This would keep the wind and snow off the kitten. Every day, I would go out there first thing in the morning to check on it. At first the kitten would see me coming and hide behind things in the garage until I went back into the house. Then it would come out and eat. We started out with dry food which quickly became dry and moist food too. One day in the middle of the cold winter, it didn’t run anymore. It stayed tucked into the bed and just watched as I put fresh food and water down for her. That was the day I started calling the kitten Callie.
Spring arrived slowly. The days became a bit warmer. I started leaving the garage door open so Callie could bask in the sunshine. Callie was becoming more trusting of me around. I was told that 99% of calico kittens are female. I didn’t believe that at first until I went out on the web and researched it. My husband and I spoke about having Callie fixed when it warmed up. The days grew warmer and Callie looked fatter. I was chalking it up to eating well. No, my little kitten Callie was going to be a mom! Now what? We were not prepared for this.
It was April 10th and my husband was in the garage. We hadn’t seen much of Callie for a couple of days now, a quick glimpse now and then. We figured she must be giving birth somewhere, but where?? All of a sudden we heard a tiny meow. Randy called for me to come quick. We looked and looked and finally found where the sound was coming from, up in the rafters! I told him that he needed to get a ladder and look up in the recycling bin. He told me that either she would frighten him and he would fall off the ladder or he would frighten her, neither happened. He found Callie in the bin and she just looked at him as if to say, “now you know my secret.” We left everything as is for a day. The following day, my Corgi would not leave the garage entrance to come in the house. My husband went to see what the problem was. To our dismay, we found the recycling bin had fallen from the ceiling rafters to the cement floor. We picked up four kittens. Two black and white ones, a solid grey one and an orange and white.
We took the binand I placed a quilt in it and repositioned it on his workbench. We coaxed Callie to go back to her babies, which she did. Thanks to my corgi for finding the helpless babies. A couple of days went by. We checked on her and the babies each day and made sure Callie was fed well. On day three, to my surprise there was one more kitten, a solid black one. Somehow, I missed it on the floor. Callie must have brought it back to the recycling bin.
Weeks went by and the kittens grew. Each day we would wait for Callie to leave the garage and Randy and I would hold the kittens. This kept them from being feral like Callie. They loved human contact. I especially was fond of the orange and white kitten. I kept telling my husband that was “my kitten” and he would tell me no, because we already had four Persians. I started to think of a name for the kitten, Morris or Garfield seemed very suitable. One night I dreamed the kitten spoke back to me telling me that his name was not Morris and not Garfield but rather “Delaney.” Delaney it was.
He actually would respond to us calling him by that name. They grew cuter and busier each day. We used a large dog corral and made a big pen for them. We put the recycling bin with the side now cut out in there for them to sleep in. This kept them safe and happy for a few more weeks. They would run to us when they knew they were being fed. Callie was tolerant and not much more. There were days and I got a few good swipes from her. The kittens were seven weeks old now and ready to go to their new homes.
This is quicker than a domestic cat would be ready but we were told that if we waited; they would become less likely to be tame. My husband agreed that we could keep Delaney. My friend Darcia took the black one and named him, “Little Bear”. Rene Jr. took a black and white male kitten and named him Morgan. Sonja took the female black and white kitten and named her Gracie. The little grey one found a home with Amy and is called Ashes. The kittens now all had happy endings, but what about Callie….
Earlier in the spring, when the kittens were small, I was at Hood’s Hardware talking to Patti who is also a big cat lover. She told me about P.A.W.S. She gave me a contact person, Terra. It was now time to call Terra and see what could be done for Callie. I wanted to let Callie stay in our garage for as long as she wanted but didn’t want to have her populate the neighborhood. Tera came over for a visit and met Callie. She arranged for a humane trap to be dropped off and instructed us on trapping Callie. Well, that is easier said than done! The first attempt we trapped a huge raccoon! My husband was up at midnight taking it to the wildlife area to release it. Needless to say, Callie sat there and watched all this action and had no interest in going near that trap! Another week went by. We spoke to Valerie and thought my husband might have to glove up and just grab her and put her into the trap. I tried one last time to trap Callie, this time with chicken. She loved chicken and that was the trick. We had her in the trap…..
Early the next morning, Valerie was there to pick her up along with a van full of others. We had her spayed, Feline Leukemia tested, Feline Leukemia vaccinated along with rabies, and distemper and some flea treatment. We felt we needed to give her the best chance we could if she was going to make it outside. The following day, Callie was dropped back in our garage in the trap. It was a very hot day and I came home at lunch and released her. She ran back to the corner of the garage where we first found her as a kitten. I was so afraid she would not make it. She seemed as if she were in pain and lethargic. It was a long afternoon at work. That evening, I called and called her. I made some chicken and she came up on our deck to find me. She ate the chicken and made the deck her new home! Day after day, Callie stayed on the deck. She would sit at our little table and watch in the house. She would interact with Delaney through the door. She made friends with our dogs. I bought her a little tent for dogs that I put a towel in and she stayed in that when it would rain. This went on for about 3 weeks. Callie decided she wanted to touch me. She would rub against my legs when I went outside to feed her. If I tried to reach to pet her, she would swat at me and hiss. I would sit quietly with her in the evenings and let her do it her way. She would sit next to me and just enjoy the evening. I wouldn’t say a word. Once in a while she would rub against my side or back and sit back down. I told my husband that one day I would be able to pet her. That day came quicker than I imagined. I would extend my hand against my leg and pet her without her knowing. Once she realized I was touching her she didn’t know how to react. She would nip my hand sometimes and do a lot of jumping. A few days of that and she found she really liked humans. She would run to be petted. One afternoon, we came home from an outing, and I must have been thinking about something else, I reached down and swooped her up. That is when I realized that I was holding my wild kitty. She went limp and loved being held. Now when I went outside, she would climb into my lap and want petted and held.
I was out in the yard one evening and it started to pour rain. I ran up the deck and into the family room and much to my surprise, so did Callie! I thought, “now what do I do.” Callie was not afraid of my dogs and had lots of contact with them. That was not a problem. Delaney ran over to his mom and they greeted each other and started playing. Two of my Persians came out to investigate. Persians are very sweet and trusting. Callie took one look at them and swiped and hissed. They took off. I called Randy and told him to hurry home that Callie was in the family room and I needed to get her back outside. It was easy. She just went back out when we asked. Callie kept winning more and more of our hearts. We decided to “invite” her in this time to play with Delaney and put the others away. We did this on several occasions. We started reintroducing the others to her. Everyone seemed to be acceptant except my first Persian, Milo. He would run under the bed. One swipe was enough for him.
It is now the end of July. My sweet Callie is part of our home permanently. She started off in our basement and has moved upstairs into my husband’s Archery room. We keep her in there only when we are not home and at night. Milo has accepted her, not quite playing together yet but he sits and watches her. The other cat’s share her food and play in her room. With a lot of patience and love, Callie is a huge success story. She no longer has to live outside in the cold and drink from puddles and wonder where she would find food to living in a furever home where she is loved and happy. I put Callie’s picture in the Wyandotte Street Art Fair at the P.A.W.S tent for the cutest animal and she won second place. That is the story of Callie going from rags to riches.
Verne Marie Felty