Rene first came across Mischa when she turned up at the back door of his partner Alison’s workplace. She was a typical feral cat, terrified of people but never aggressive. She wouldn’t let anyone come near her, but she was so hungry that she’d let them sit close by when she was eating.
After a while, it became obvious that her abdomen was swelling: she was pregnant. Intervention was needed, or she would produce a litter of wild kittens that would go on to become hungry feral adult cats themselves. Soon after the kittens had been born, a cat trap was used to catch Mischa, and the kittens were then gathered up.
By this stage, both Rene and Alison had become fond of Mischa, so they decided to try taking her into their own home. They kept her indoors for the first two weeks, so that she’d learn to see their home as her new base, and then they opened the cat flap to allow her out. It turned out that she settled in so well that she’s never wanted to go outside again. She sometimes looks out through open door with curiosity, but she has no desire to leave. By her own choice, she has become a full time indoor cat.
Five years later, Mischa has become a friendly and affectionate creature. She’s still nervous of strangers, running upstairs and hiding if there are any visitors to the house. But she has never been aggressive to anyone: she has never hissed, bitten or scratched.
She has become very close to Rene. She is not a “lap cat”, but she likes human contact on her own terms. When he’s watching tv, she’ll jump onto the chair beside him, reversing her rear end against his legs. She’s relaxed, but ready to run if needed. And when he’s in bed, she’ll jump onto the duvet, purring beside him (but just out of reach).
Mischa has developed funny play habits that Rene loves watching. She keeps a stash of cat toys in one of the upstairs bedrooms, taking them out one by one to play with when she feels like it. Sometimes she flings them up and down the stairs, chasing them. Other times she brings them up to Rene, using a particular type of miaow to ask him to throw the toys for her. She uses a different tone of miaow to “talk to the toys” when she’s on her own.
She also enjoys using her “cat gym”, sharpening her claws on the scratching post, then scampering up to the highest perch at the top, sitting there as she surveys the world around her. She can use that vantage point to see out the windows, and while she enjoys looking outside, she has never shown any desire to go out again. She’s a reformed outdoor feral cat, and she’s very happy with her new indoor life.