Our first pet was a cute black-and-white kitten on which I took pity and put some milk. I am still blamed for this act of kindness for the simple reason that we have fourth generation litter of the same cat currently ruling the roost in our house ! We had a variety of kittens – multi-coloured, fluffy-tailed, long-haired (cute furballs :-)…) – some born right in the household (usually a designated maternity dabba) and some born-somewhere-else-but-left
Recently, we have had our cat bring her litter of four kittens to our house. Small, furry, damn cute, fun to watch, but difficult to pet :-|! Any human presence was welcomed by terrible snarls and spitting! But oh, they seemed so very adorable that I was determined to 'win their affections'.
Initially, I used to make myself scarce during their feeding time so that they could eat in peace without any unwelcome human intervention. But with my resolution in place, I started baiting them with food from a safe distance. Oh, they remained watchful… so much that the slightest movement I made sent them scurrying back. Gradually, after the initial days of wariness, they got used to my presence, enough to come close to me for food. And one fine day, they started eating right from my hand! That prompted me to reach out to stroke their soft pelts. After initial (loud) hisses of rejection, slowly, but surely they got used to being touched and petted. They are still wild, still easily frightened by any small noise or movement. But it is heartening to see them come bounding to me, mewing plaintively and rubbing themselves against my legs!
When this particular 'experiment' took nearly two months, the most surprised individual was yours truly! Simply because I never considered myself a paragon of patience! On the contrary, I sometimes sorely felt the lack of it (especially while waiting for company to eat!).
Ah well..... the wild can sometimes be tamed with (tons of?) patience. But the absolutely free.....well......they are a different lot altogether !