The Journey of Links

BeckyThis blog is the first in a series that we will be writing about how to socialize and help an unsocial or frightened cat. Written by Becky Tegze the Pets Alive Cat Manager. Becky has years of experience in socializing and assisting feral, semi feral, or frightened felines.

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Buckle up folks. This will be a journey full of bumps in the road, road blocks, pot holes, detours, ez-pass lanes and a few wrong turns. Come along with us, as we work to heal a cat named Links – both physically and emotionally. Links is what some refer to as a “broken” cat. A victim of animal hoarding.

In many cases the physical body is easier to heal then the emotional scars left behind on an animal rescued from a hoarding situation. Links was rescued along with 50 other cats from such a situation (to read about the rescue you can click here).

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At the time of rescue Links was suffering from a horrible eye injury. So our first priority was his physical well-being. He went to the vet, had eye surgery and is recovering nicely. Now that his medical needs were being seen to, the long hard road of “fixing” our “broken” Links is ready to begin.

Tuesday morning I woke up knowing the real work on healing Links was about to begin. How will we “fix” Links? How can we help him to understand, we aren’t the enemy?

The first thing I notice about Links when I got in was that he was tense and trying hard to make himself as small as possible. He is a fairly large boy so this is not an easy task. Cat people know this as the old cat trick “if I can’t see you, you can’t see me”. Sorry Links, I see you there, there is no escaping me, I want to be your friend.

So as I clean and care for Links I talk softly and I reassure him that the worst is behind him. I tell him that he will never be cold or hungry again. I want so much to pick him up, and hold him, and just let him feel love, probably for the first time in his life – but I know my hugging or holding him or even just petting him would be too much for Links. Just me being in the room talking to him is terribly frightening for him. Sadly he sees me as the boogieman. Something to fear.

links3I will not be deterred. I pretend to ignore him, never really looking at him, just talking to him, even though he doesn’t understand a word I’m saying – and if he does he must think I’m a little crazy. “What is with this crazy lady? She is saying everything she does and why does she think stinky cat poop is so cute! – someone please come and save me.” So I spend the day in and out of his room “ignoring” him as much as I can, while telling him about my day and all the cute stinky cat poop I have come across in my normal day to day routine.

Now it is Thursday – and PROGRESS!!!! Links hissed at me today! Happy Thursday everyone! Links hissed at me. Really this is progress – I’m not joking! It means he is actually acknowledging me being in the room with him. I’m not the crazy cat lady I swear – stop laughing Kerry!

Seriously though Links hissing at me is a step forward for him, he has realized hiding isn’t going to make me go away so now he is trying another approach – the HISS. He is starting to show a reaction and I’ll take any type of reaction (over frozen in fear) when I am in the room. So hiss away Links, I’ve got tough skin, I can take it. I still want to be your friend. I can hiss too …but I won’t. I’ll just keep talking about how cute stinky cat poop can be.

Stay tuned for what happens next in the Journey of Links from a “Broken” cat to a “Fixed” cat. I have a lot of tricks up my sleeve – baby food, catnip, and the big guns – TUNA. Links doesn’t know it now… but we WILL be friends.

Filed in Animal Rescue by kerry on Mar 14, 2013.  There are 8 Comments

8 Responses to “The Journey of Links”

  1. christie Says:

    I love this blog post! Yay Links and yay Becky!!

    Keep up the fabulous work! :)

  2. Mary Lou Says:

    Great blog Becky. You are amazing with all these kitties. They are so lucky that you have come into their lives. You have so much patience and understanding!! I am sure, Links, like many before him, will become an adoptable, loving kitty with you working with him.

  3. Terri Mihok Says:

    How touching…brought tears to my eyes. Not only
    are you awesome with the kitties you’re an
    awesome writer as well!!

  4. Mary Says:

    Thanks for helping the animals!

    Congratulations on getting the HISS…..step by step….

    Mary

  5. Autumn Eckley Says:

    ow, the poor kitty! good work though! i hope you get more HISSes in the future!

  6. Pets Alive Blog » Links, Continued: Socks, Baby Food and a BIG SURPRISE! Says:

    […] The Journey of Links […]

  7. Joyce Says:

    fantaastic work.

    Great post. Keep it coming.

  8. Liz Peterson Says:

    Hi Becky,
    I love your Blog. I have talked like a blithering idiot about anything and everything that comes into my mind while socializing ferals. Every step an amazing journey into trust. I think of socializing ferals as an amazing zen practice. You have to really be patient and feel into their energy to know when you can push just a little. It’s very gratifying when you see the tiniest of breakthroughs.
    Thanks for what you do.

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