The past two weeks have been full of growth for Hampton. It is so nice to see especially since cold weather will be upon us soon. When the cold weather arrives, I do not get outside to visit the cats as often or for long periods of time. I am pleased that Hampton has come so far especially before winter sets in!
I had been trying to use a soft brush on Hampton for a few weeks. He would tolerate it briefly and then usually swat at me. Shadow and Stellar love to be brushed. Hampton would watch and watch as they both would coming running for the brush. One night while I was gently petting Hampton’s head and his back was to me, I switched my hand with the brush. He really liked it. At some point he realized it was the brush and allowed me to keep brushing. Now he likes to be brushed over and over again. He keeps rolling over to show me his belly, but I have yet to venture there yet. Now I have to share the brush with all three boys. Some days I wish I had another hand!
Along with the brushing, Hampton has decided to sit right up against me when I sit cross legged on the deck. He will even put his head in my lap. It almost seems like he wants to crawl into my lap. Both Shadow and Stellar like to sit in my lap and I believe Hampton is wanting to do whatever they each do.
Hampton is also not swatting at me much at all. He still will occasionally get spooked and raise his paw, but I have been telling him “No swats” or “Gentle”. He will immediately stop. Also if he swats me, I decide to immediately stop petting him or I go inside. He is learning very quickly.
Since the beginning of October, the small shelters with a heat pad in them have been out on the deck. We have had night time lows in the low 40’s. I made sure to have enough for all 3 as well as an extra. I was very interested in how Hampton would react to the heated boxes/tent. When he was here two winters ago, he would never go into one. After I placed them on the deck, I was so shocked and surprised to see Hampton inside the tent shelter after just a few hours. He has claimed the one on the lower deck and Shadow claimed the other. Stellar prefers the magic boxes. This is such good news for Hampton.
The main winter shelter will be going up this weekend. We decided to build another heated house since the first one will be difficult for three adult cats to fit inside. I just didn’t feel they were ready for that type of closeness. By having two shelters, it gives lots of flexibility on sleeping arrangements. Also none of them should be cold. I will continue to have the small tent houses and magic boxes either in the main shelter or scattered about on and under the deck. The night time temps are to drop to 30 this weekend so the main shelter will be up just in time. I am crossing my fingers and toes for a mild winter!
Hampton has also been doing very well with Shadow and Stellar. He will head butt them both, but really prefers Stellar’s calm energy. Shadow can be rather unpredictable in his behavior which is causing he and Hampton to take much longer to become acclimated to one another. Hampton will still chase Shadow, but he does not do it with much intent. It’s more of fun and games. Shadow needs to learn and understand that it is fun and games and not to get so upset. I do believe this will all work out in time.
Not a day goes by that I do not think how far Hampton has come. He has gone from the totally feral cat who lived under my deck for 6 months to a cat that left for 8 months to a cat that has discovered love and friendship. I always find it easier to work with feral cats on socialization when they have other cat role models. Shadow has helped me with so many while this is Stellar’s first!