It has been awhile since I have updated Hampton. He has been back on my property now for 11 months. It is still so hard to believe that he returned to me after being gone 8 months and now only leaves the deck to go potty or romp in the yard with Shadow and Stellar. Out of the 3 outdoor boys, Hampton leaves the deck the least!
Hampton still loves to eat. He has the belief that if there is food present, it would be rude not to eat it. He eats quickly and then wants to eat what Shadow and Stellar are eating. Shadow and Stellar are slow eaters. They take their time and enjoy each bite. Hampton has learned to wait until one of them comes out of the feeding station before he heads in to clean up. I have had to drastically reduce the amount of food Hampton receives. He seems to be adjusting to this just fine. I also have been incorporating some lower calorie wet foods and a healthy weight dry food. Feeding times are a struggle as I want to be sure Shadow and Stellar are getting enough to eat. Morning feedings are hardest as Hampton seems starving. He will sometimes paw at me to hurry to get his food down. I have to be careful as he will sometimes swat me with his claw. I have wormed all 3 every 3-4 months so I know worms are not an issue! My hope is that he is just an avid eater and there is not an underlying health issue.
Most days, Hampton spends a great deal of time sitting by the sliding door waiting and watching for me. He watches me in the kitchen and waits for a chance that I will come out for a visit. When I do get outside, he is always the first to snuggle up to me for pets. I will sit down crossed legged and he sits right up against me. He will then roll over and wants his belly rubbed over and over. I do have to watch as any loud noise scares him and he will jump in haste and sometimes gets me with a claw. Yet most of the time, he just wants my company. Stellar will come and join us and I can bring Stellar into my lap. Shadow usually keeps his distance, but occasionally he will come close too especially if I have the brush. It is quite difficult petting all 3 with only 2 hands!
Two weeks ago, on a whim when I had on gloves, I gently put my hands under Hampton’s belly and placed him on a blanket on my lap. After the initial shock, he settled right down. I tried again, the next day, but he was not happy. I let it go and allowed him to set the pace. I decided to try again this past week and this time without gloves! He gets as stiff as a board, but he does not try to claw or bite me. Once in my lap and I continue petting him, he settles right down. Yesterday he was on my lap twice! This is just amazing. Here is a picture of Hampton on my lap and Stellar beside.
Even though he does so very well with me, there is no one else that can get near him. Even my husband can only get within 8-10 feet of him before he runs. Shadow and Stellar are fine with my husband and son, but Hampton is not ready for others yet. It will take time and I assume that over the summer when there is much more outside activity, he will learn to get used to at least my husband. I am not sure if any of my neighbors have even caught a glimpse of him. He does sneak out into the yard, but usually only at dawn, dusk or night time.
I am hopeful that this summer will also allow Hampton to work on his social skills with Shadow and Stellar. He still does not understand their play. I am unsure, if he sees their play as an actual cat fight or if he does want to play, but doesn’t realize claws are not used in play. If I catch him going after Shadow, I will tell him firmly “NO”. He immediately stops and does this crazy open mouth breathing. Yet he will do it again a few days later. Ugh. He will always be a work in progress!
Here is one last picture of him snuggled up in a blanket against my lap earlier this week.