I boil chicken breasts every week to give to Georgie (cause he's so old, he and Gracie will be twenty years old next month) and Jackie (because I want him to associate humans with good, not evil).
Since Jackie's neuter last November, we're making slow progress with him. We're not pushing it, it's been this long, we don't want to scare him off. Well, he's gradually becoming more people friendly. Not that he hid or anything like that, he just didn't want to be touched by a human hand, he wouldn't eat from a human hand and he most certainly didn't want a human to know he was in any way interested in anything a human had to offer. The food was nice, clean blankies were enjoyable, but, really, neither of those happened by human interference. Or so it would seem Jackie believed.
Anyway, when I feed at night in the garage, I've been able to run my hand down his back and he doesn't hiss, he'll stand there and take it. Well, a little more than just "take it", he's actually beginning to like it. If he's sleeping in the cat chair in the family room, I can stroke him without him jumping up, hissing and running off. It's slow, but it's happening.
So, yesterday I made the chicken breast and avoided stepping on George as he tripped me up as I walked and he trotted into the bathroom where I'd shred his yummy booty on a plate. I shut the door behind me when I left so he could eat in peace. Then I walked back into the kitchen and I turned around and Jackie was standing at the entry, looking at me expectantly. I ripped off about a half a chicken breast and followed him into the living room and he ran up on top of the cat sleep center (you can see this on the occasional cam, see camera options at the top of the page). I feed him up there because it's harder for the other cats to access and he gets to eat quite a bit without interference. Of course, I'm still the human and he has to let me know I'm not fooling him with my bribes of warm chicken, I'm still evil and he hisses the entire way, just to make sure I know he knows and I'm not fooling him at all, that he's not falling for it.
Last night there was a little growling coming from the living room and I went out to check on it. We've got a couple of bully cats (Charlie and Sagwa come to mind) and some drama queens. You know the cats who scream like they're being ripped apart, when all it is is another cat about ten feet away from their space and they don't like it (Mario and Lorelei come to mind here). It turned out to be a drama queen so I left the living room and headed down the entry way back to the family room. On my way, I stopped at one of the cutouts into the living room, where the cat center conveniently has a level at the same height as the cutout. Jackie was snoozing there.
I reached in and started to rub the back of his neck. He likes this. Then I gently ran my hand down his back, massaging the areas on either side of his spine with my finger tips. He likes this, too. Something I'd never have done last year. I wouldn't have dared. I hear a noise. I stop and listen hard. It's a sporadic noise. I look around for other cats. No cats in view. Hmm. I keep rubbing Jackie. The sound is more constant. I ask Brian to turn down the television. I keep listening.
It was coming from Jackie. For the first time in the years he's been here (came here as a kitten in August 1999), Jackie is actually purring. A full on purr.
I almost cried.