It has almost been a year since a new baby came into my life, one actually prescribed by a forward-thinking physician. Full of fine soft fur, fun, and fight, she has had me laughing and loving ever since. Miss Tuscany Jane came into the world the hard way, born at a millyard that sits along the cold, blustery edge of the bay. I'm told that she had siblings and of course, a mama, but that of all the wild babies at the mill, only Tuscany was successfully captured. She was transported to a local animal rescue where she promptly hissed and bit for all she was worth and the rescue manager proclaimed her one of "the top ten worse feral cases" she'd ever dealt with in ten years. She was so traumatized that the rescue had to keep a blanket over her carrier so she wouldn't try to attack her caregivers through the bars. She was extremely malnourished and there were moments when her life was in question. But she made it and slowly, very slowly, she warmed up to the idea of living in a world with human beings. Some five months later, I wandered into the rescue, companion animal prescription in hand, and it took all of two minutes for me to know that Tuscany, with all her rough edges, was the one for me. There had been several other adoption petitions filed before mine but somehow they all fell through. I took it as a sign that this fiesty little furball was meant to tear up my household and brighten my days.
When I brought Tussy home, she hid under the dining table for several days but predictably she emerged for tuna-flavored kibbles and (thankfully), the potty. Gradually, she began to seek out my attention and I responded with gentle, nonthreatening baby talk and sneaky little strokes from head to tail when I could make physical contact. It has been a long, slow dance for the last ten months but Tuscany now sleeps with me under the comforter every night and spends a good portion of the morning curled in my lap, purring for all she's worth. She has retained some feral behaviors: she hates loud noises and strangers, she rarely meows, and she has a certain unpredictableness of mood. I've showed these pictures to the rescue and I'm told that it is highly unusual for reformed feral cats to expose their belly. However, Miss Tuscany seems quite comfortable with Rubenesque, full frontal exposure. She reminds me every day to play fiercely and love passionately with plenty of naps in between.