Meet Milly an affectionate playful lap cat who liked to follow me around and was happy to ignore ear piercing sounds of power tools overhead. Flash back to when she first arrived and the Milly we met, or tried to meet, was a completely different cat.
We knew Milly would be one of our more difficult cases when she cowered at the back of her tiny carrier when she first arrived home from the shelter. But she quickly moved into her newly made tent on the sofa and enjoyed an introductory fuss. So it wasn’t until the next day when the full extent of the challenges ahead became clear.
At breakfast Milly was nowhere to be seen in the carefully prepared kitten room she’s been shut into overnight. So I set the place in order, left her some wet food and went to work. When I still couldn’t find her in the evening I got our cats Dora and Tig to help out and they found her in the engine bay of the car.
After some undignified coaxing I got her back to her room where she instantly ran to the door, opened it and ran upstairs. That’s the mystery of how she got out of the room solved then. It now has a lock.
To settle her back in I set the room up as a series of covered hidey holes and walkways so she could get to everything she needed without coming out in the open. At first the entire room was covered in every blanket I could find and it slowly got dismantled as the weeks went by and she started to relax.
Milly had clearly learnt to be afraid of humans and was absolutely terrified of the sound of people walking in boots. Despite that she was surprisingly cuddly, once she got used to us, and unexpectedly resilient to the world in general.
Her ability to calmly face the full tortoiseshell wrath of our girl Dora, admittedly through a screen door, completely amazed me the first time I saw it.
That said, Milly isn’t for the fickle or faint hearted, she will make you work for her affection and you’ll need patience, and a well thought through escape proof environment to keep her in, while you earn it.
Even then there’ll still be times when she flinches when you make an unexpected movement and you’ll remember she’s had a rough start to life. But stick with her and you’ll have an affectionate cat sitting on your lap playing with her tail and you’ll know that winning her trust was well worth the effort.
Just remember to always check the engine bay before starting your car!