Young Ethel is the newest recruit here at HQ. Poor Ethel didn’t have a very good start in life: she was born into a colony of cats living in some underground garages on a South London housing estate. The colony was suffering regular hostility from humans and dogs, and so all the cats were trapped and removed for rehoming by the Celia Hammond Animal Trust.
I took Ethel, and her brother Alfie, on as foster kittens when they were around 4 or 5 months old and completely feral. After a few months they’d become sufficiently confident for rehoming and were adopted by a couple with a nice house and garden. Sadly, 3 months later I received a phone call from their new owner asking me to come and collect them: she’d discovered she was pregnant, and felt unable to cope with two cats and a baby.
On their return it became apparent that Alfie – the friendlier of the two – had continued to receive plenty of attention in his new home, but Ethel had not, and consequently had regressed to the point where she would no longer allow herself to be touched. Ethel was a year old at this stage, which meant that her behaviour was unlikely to change a great deal, and this would make her very difficult to rehome a second time. So I made the decision to split her from her brother, as there wasn’t a strong bond between them anyway, and being paired with Ethel would’ve made it far more difficult for Alfie to find another home.
Alfie was paired up with Stuart, another young male, which has proved a roaring success – they love chasing each other around and play-fighting.
And young Ethel is going to stay with me. I doubt she’ll ever be a lap cat, or even enjoy being stroked, but that’s fine by me and she’ll always have a home here.