May I ?
I remember seeing Momo’s beautiful face for quite a while on the website of our local animal shelter.
A fabulous Calico and Tortoiseshell cat, gorgeous fur with a light brown line directly down her head, absolutely stunning. As a passionate rescuer and already ‘proudly’ owned by three cats, I immediately felt drawn to her. It was a gloomy November day in 2011 when I made my way to the shelter for one more addition to our already mad cat household. I was so eager I didn’t even notice the rolling eyes of my other residents. I received a surprisingly euphoric welcome when I arrived and today I know why.
The staff only mentioned casually that this particular cat was in need of a ‘bit more TLC’ than others,
but it should be fine, no worries at all. So I neither wondered why there were three of them returning, one with a towel in their hand, when they passed me the basket with the very scared pet. Mesmerised by this exceptional animal I drove off with her to meet my daughter who I had planned to surprise.
Face to Face
At home we put Momo's basket on a chair, opened the door a slight bit and gave her some privacy. Cowered in the deepest corner of her carrier it looked like Momo had no intention of changing the grumpy expression on her face in the near future. She just sat and stared. We were just about to close the front door, when Momo suddenly moved. More darted. The glint of her target in her eyes and as fast as her paws could carry her she shot out of the door. Snapped out of the first shock we spent quite a time outside calling her, making the typical kitty noises to lure her in but with no success. We were devastated and could not believe what had just happened. It was about three weeks later, when Momo had seemingly changed her mind. She was back, well at least as far as the tree next to our house,
staring at us with her beautiful eyes. Thrilled about her comeback we returned to the gentle calling.
Result? None. So we made our way into the house hoping she would follow us from a safe distance. Nothing. All we could do really was feed her and make sure she was taken care of, which we did.
It took another six months until Momo had developed enough courage to come into the house permanently. No touching yet but a big step for her.
Weeks went by and then we noticed her belly growing. An unexpected surprise in form of four fuzzy ginger kittens was upon us! Not only had our house become a wonderful havoc with four furballs jumping around the house, but I had never seen a more patient mother when the little ones played with her tail or crawled all over her. To her familiar annoyed facial expression she now seemed to constantly roll her eyes and wait for the one moment we all wait for. The Kids moving out and getting a life of their own.
Until then ... Family time.
They moved out. All to good homes but the next challenge was already around the corner. Getting her to the vet to get her spayed. And that without her allowing us to touch her. After a lot of investigating on the internet my daughter and I came up with a plan. With a few treats in the carrier we placed its front on a couple of books so if Momo’s love for treats would take over she hopefully would slide in.
In our imagination it was the perfect plan. Reality? Be assured it took more than one attempt to make this ingenious project work. Eventually fresh salmon did the trick. With a shocked yowl she slid into the basket and we quickly shut the door. We could not believe our luck, even though we were terribly guilt ridden. One can only imagine the panic and fear Momo suffered when she realised she was locked in. She hissed, went absolutely mad and her pure fear made her pee, soaking the entire basket. But we managed it.
It was a very long process and it took plenty of treats, sweet talk and lots of patience towards her.
I would be lying if I said there were not real moments where our frustration became somewhat overwhelming. Three years passed and we felt that still with all the care and compassion and love there was no intention of Momo to let us get close to her. It was frustrating. We had arrived at a point where we wondered if Momo would not be happier at a farm where she could roam free, be left alone and still be taken care of. After a few calls Momo must have sensed that there was change in the air.
And not a good one. To our complete surprise the very next day it happened. Coming close to us all by herself. Eventually the time had come and Misses allowed us to rub her even head butting our legs
Five years later and Momo has changed inside out. Still nervous but now enjoying her cuddles and showing her humans plenty of affection, including settling on our laps from time to time. We are very proud of the huge step she dared, and the love she is able to show us now. She will always be our very special ‘special needs’ cat and we love her deeply. She so deserves love and we are so happy that she is able to experience affection and belonging instead of abuse that she must have suffered before.
Every animal and of course cats deserve this and we will be there for our Momo until the end.
It was not an easy path, a challenging journey, but so worth it.