Mikey goes home

15 years ago

Contributed photo
    Life is never dull at the Halfway Home Pet Rescue. One of the greatest post-holiday treats has been watching Little Mikey, a young four and one-half-month-old male feral kitten learn to become a domesticated house pet by learning to play,” said Norma Milton. Generally, the “easiest” age to domesticate a feral kitten is between the age of four to six weeks. After that time frame, it becomes more complicated. Often, at the early age, the taming can be done in a few hours or at the most a couple of days. The hand that feeds soon becomes the new momma figure to the young kitten. Tame kittens need to be with their mother until their ninth week. A domestic mother teaches her baby, among other things, to play, go to litter box, clean himself, and run toward the sound of cat food being opened. The feral mother teaches its young to be quiet and to gather in a hidden pile when she quietly verbalizes that danger is near. She teaches that humans are death as sudden, painful and sure as a coyote attack. The kittens are hidden until about the third week when they start to venture out of their hidden corner. They learn to play with their littermates under the watchful eyes of momma. Each day, they learn to survive by hiding from humans. Mikey lost his feral mother at about the age of six or seven weeks. His siblings Hogan and Minnie were captured, but Mikey escaped, running in fear of his life at the hands of humans. Mikey was finally captured on Nov. 29 at about three or four months of age. At the time of his capture, Mikey had fleas, ticks, roundworms, tapeworms, ear mites, a severe upper respiratory and eye infection and cracked ribs from being kicked by some lowlife.  Life with humans did not feel good to Mikey during those first few weeks. We had a lot to do to save him and had to keep him isolated from the other kittens. When freed from isolation and cage space, Mikey didn’t remember how to play.  Daily, kittens and cats left to go into their new holiday homes. Mikey just was not ready. But Santa saw that Mikey had a heart full of courage and he helped Mikey by adding a new trust and a dash of love. Each day, Mikey created new adventures and finally, on Christmas Day, he discovered that it is safe to play with a new friend named Teena — right in the middle of the living room in front of humans. Sunday (Dec. 27), Mikey met his new family and on New Year’s Day, Mikey will leave Halfway Home Pet Rescue and go all the way home.