I was working as a site manager at a recycling plant specialising in green waste on the day in question, little did I know that what started out like a seemingly ordinary morning would end in me taking home a hissing, angry ball of fur....
...When I turned up for work that day, I was greeted by a hub of commotion on the plant floor; it soon became clear that a couple of the guys had seen something that was either a large rat or small cat running around the equipment. Sure enough, after standing there watching for a couple of minutes, a tiny grey tabby kitten darted out of nowhere and straight into one of the shredding machines that we use to break down the waste.
Fortunately for the tabby, the machine was not on – but unfortunately for us by not turning it on, we were loosing money by the hour. After several hours, and a couple of tins of tuna later, we managed to coax him out of his hiding place; it took six fully grown men to usher him into a large cardboard box. The poor thing had no collar and was so tiny that he couldn’t have possibly belonged to anyone; the rest of his litter was nowhere to be seen, so I did the only thing that felt right, and took him home.
My girlfriend’s reaction was at first of surprise and then anger as the kitten proceeded to go to the toilet on the living room carpet and then destroy the bathroom. We named our tiny tearaway Stig after ‘Stig of the Dump’.
Our first month with Stig was difficult to say the least, he was extremely aggressive; hissing and lashing out when approached, you literally had to wear rubber gloves if you wanted to go anywhere near him. We had heard that feral cats were difficult to integrate into domestic life, but as he was approximately five weeks when we took him in, we were hopeful that he was young enough to tame him into a model member of cat society.
After another couple of weeks, a friend of ours suggested that Stig might be suffering from feline stress, something that we hadn’t really considered and didn’t know anything about. She’d had a similar experience with her own cat, and her vet had recommended trying Feliway®,
We picked up a Feliway® diffuser from our local vet, and were told that the pheromone released was a copy of the facial pheromone that cats produce when they feel safe and happy; it literally calmed cats by speaking to them in their own language.
After a month of using Feliway® Stig was a completely different cat, it felt like a miracle. Not only would he let us stroke him, he would also come to sit on our laps. He even started interacting with strangers which was unheard of before.
Interaction with other cats was also an area of concern before Feliway®, but I recently had my mother and her cat Smokey to stay for a month and thanks to the diffuser, the pair of them got on fine! No fighting at all.
We have Feliway® to thank for transforming Stig into the loveable and friendly cat that he is today