Of all my feral cats, Mini Scaredy is the most attached to me, as well as the most possessive. At around age 3 she started asserting her dominance and systematically ran all of the other feral cats out of my campsite. She now rules the roost as the alpha cat of this tribe. She still gets jealous when I go off to feed the other two cats — Fatty and Moo Cat — at their feeding spot by the creek. But she’s come to accept this so long as they keep a respectable distance from her territory. . . When I wander off into the woods, Mini Scaredy usually follows along behind me. And she’s usually waiting for me every night when I first show up at my campsite. Sleeps with me most nights. And hangs with me most days, right up until I finally leave my campsite. Mini Scaredy can’t get enough of me, the poor dear.
When I took Mini Scaredy to the vet to get fixed, she was a holy terror. Bit two of the staff members, and the rest lived in fear of her — she had to be quarenteened for ten days. When I finally showed up to pick her, she was cowering in the darkness in the back of her cage, hissing and yowling at anyone who came near her — the very definition of a caged wild animal, ever-ready to lash out at the world. When I called out to soothe her, one of the vets said: “She recognizes your voice. She doesn’t hiss at you like she hisses at everyone else.” The vet pointed out the name tag on her cage with the name they had given her: Elohssa. Which didn’t make since until she told me to read it backwards. Ha ha. It took us a half to finally get Mini Scaredy into the cat carrier. It was like dealing with a Whirling Dervish or Tasmania Devil. By the time we were done we were both soaked in sweat. I felt strangely proud of her. She was ready to fight to death for her survival. And take somebody with her if she couldn’t.