Though she already owned cats, Linda Zardain couldn’t resist feeding the community cats who lived in her neighborhood. And though most of the felines just took her offerings and ran, Zardain kept up her outreach, hoping that someday these cats would begin trust her.
Finally one day, a beautiful calico cat began returning Linda’s affections. “She started following me, so I sat down and let her approach me. She did, and let me pet her a little,” Linda told Love Meow.
But even while the cat, whom Linda named Callie, let Linda touch her, the unsocialized feline continued to keep other humans at arm’s length. “Over time, she would come by more and more often,” Linda said. “If anyone walked by, or even if the door moved, she would flee. She was still very afraid.”
But as Callie and Linda spent more time together, the cat gradually overcame her fears. As their bond continued to grow, Linda was able to sit — and even pet — the unsocialized cat. “Although she was originally feral, was starting to love, and I thought she would make a great pet,” she said.
Even so, when Linda realized that Callie was pregnant, the feral cat refused to be coaxed indoors. After she hadn’t seen Callie for days, Linda decided to go looking for this prodigal mama after chatting with neighbor who’d seen the cat with her newborn babies.
Just then, Callie strolled into Linda’s house with a kitten in her mouth – just minutes after the neighbor left. “I was shocked, as nothing like this has ever happened to me,” Linda said. “I petted her and the baby.”
Once Callie decided she could trust Linda with her new baby, the cat disappeared again. For a second, Linda was worried – until Callie came back with a second baby cat. Kitten by kitten, Callie brought her entire litter into Linda’s house, where the mama cat knew her newborn litter of five could finally be safe.
“She trusted me with them and her. She sometimes would get up mid nursing for affection, and the only way I could get her to go back to the babies was by sitting by her and petting her while she nursed them,” Linda said.
But even though she’d owned cats for years, Linda worried about caring for kittens this young. “Even though the kittens had their mom, I was so anxious for them to live that I watched Hannah Shaw’s (Kitten Lady) videos for things to look out for,” the worried cat mom told Love Meow. “I went into overdrive keeping tabs on them looking for any sign of things going wrong. I am thankful they lived. They brought me so much joy.”
Despite this new worry, Linda has never ever regretted her impromptu experience as a foster parent. “I never thought I could foster,” she said. “It was amazing.”
Even so, when Callie’s kittens were finally ready for adoption, Linda knew their mama cat had already found her forever home. “I have kept the momma as she is still very shy with others but loves me very fiercely,” Linda told Love Meow. “She is quick to purr, and just loves being close to me.”
We’re so glad this kindred spirits have found each other. Thank you, Linda, for helping Callie and her kittens blossom in foster care!
Find out more about this heartwarming story in the video below!
J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
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