The Cali cat's story

(It's a long one, and this is the abbreviated version!)

The Cali cat's story begins about the middle to end of September 2018 when she was born into a small feral cat colony in the neighborhood. She was captured in January of 2019, spayed, vaccinated, ear-tipped, & released as part of a TNR effort. That effort was apparently successful as we have seen no new litters of kittens since that time.

A few of Cali's family are still around including at least 1 sister & her momma. Cali was & is the smallest of the bunch, very petite & very picked on except by momma cat. She basically lived in terror. To this day we don't know exactly where she lived over the next 3 years or so, just that she would regularly show up for food & just as regularly be chased away.

At some point I became the one to regularly feed Cali her can of food once a day, taking the opportunity to befriend her. If you were lucky, you could give her a scratch down the back while she was eating. She didn't like it, but she would tolerate it, or swat you away if she wasn't tolerant! She never used claws.

Cali 8-10-2021
Cali watching me leave for work, August 10th 2021.

Somewhere along the way we decided to adopt Cali. We have a unique situation with an inner, completely enclosed courtyard. What better place to trap a cat & continue befriending her? It began with feeding her inside the courtyard with the door open, further & further inside over time.

Cali 3-27-2022
Cali just inside the courtyard door, March 27th 2022.

Then one day the wind caught the courtyard door & closed it! Truly accidental. We hadn't decided when to trap her until that moment, then decided it was a sign, that it was time. That was May 9th of 2022.

Three long patient months later we had a major breakthrough with Cali. For the first time ever she asked for human touch. Not just a little. A LOT. And she loved it. It was like a switch had been flipped inside her. That was August 8th of 2022.

The next step was to get Cali into the house. Again, a long patient process. That happened October 18th of 2022. We wanted to make sure she was permanently inside before it got really cold outside.

Fast forward to the end of March 2023.

One of the things that happened with Cali was that she began to play. We had not been able to interest her in the usual cat play like other cats. With Cali, it was another switch-flipping moment. And what we've seen from her over the last few months has been truly incredible. It's like she now has the safety & freedom to live without fear & play like a kitten should be playing.

Cali 10-26-2022
Cali with one of her toys, October 26th 2022.

Cali & Sosie

Sosie is our last old soul. She'll be 18 in about 3 months, & she has ruled the roost since December of 2020 when we lost Salem. At first there were few encounters between them. Cali mostly spent her time in 1 bedroom. But as she has adopted us & her new home, she has been venturing into the rest of the house more & more.

Sosie does not like having a new cat in the house. She lets Cali know by hissing, growling, occasionally trying to chase her, but with Sosie's advanced age, she can't do much. Cali runs unless these encounters happen in cramped quarters. In that case Cali stands her ground. There have been no fights. Sosie is too old, & Cali is really a gentle soul. She doesn't want to fight. She would rather just get along. We're hoping that with some more time, Sosie will come around. This whole thing is still rather new, for all of us!

Cali 2-28-2023
Cali all comfy on the bed, February 28th, 2023.

Update a year later, March 31st, 2024.

Cali has made great strides. She still has a way to go, having been a stray, but we're patient. On the one hand, she has become much more comfortable with the house, she loves to be pet, brushed, & she loves to play with her multitude of toys. On the other hand she still does not like to be picked up or held. Yet. The pic below shows several little foam soccer balls. These things bounce quite well, & Cali is quite the acrobat running & jumping to catch them. They are her current favorite toys to chase.

The relationship between Cali & Sosie has not changed much. Sosie still doesn't like having Cali in her domain. She still makes little aggressive movements toward Cali, but Cali finds it very easy to avoid Sosie just by jumping up on something. Sosie, being about 3 months away from turning 19, just doesn't have the strength to do much more, she can't jump to follow Cali. She is showing her age. Supervised "visits" between the two can still happen. As long as one of us is there to put the brakes on Sosie, they can get quite close physically, especially if the brush is involved since they both love it.

Cali 3-29-2024
Cali with several of her toys, March 29, 2024.

Cali 4-28-2024
Cali with a BUNCH of her toys, April 28, 2024.

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