|DC (Darn Cat)
Date of Birth: Best guess June 1992
Sire: Lion (large orange marmalade tabby tom)
Dam: Stealth (medium orange marmalade tabby queen)
|DC was captured near the Tehama County Health Agency Building in 1993. She was one of a litter
born to the resident stray cat that routinely had kittens in the maintenance room. The kittens
would be stolen by the staff when they were about 6 weeks old, and placed in homes.
Unfortunately, we were never able to catch the mother.
With a death threat issued by our Agency Director, the staff decided to catch the cat and her last
kitten, and relocate them out of reach. Animal Control loaned us a trap and, after many attempts,
they were each trapped. Not an easy trick! The staff was elated that we were going to be able to
save these beautiful cats, but not sure what we were going to do with them. The kitten was about 6
months old, and as unwilling to be touched as her mother. Neither was pleased with the human
contact, and both had lots to say about the cages!!
A trip to the vet revealed both to be healthy, and mom not pregnant (miracle!) Mom was fixed (this
was before early spay programs), both were given immunizations, and we took them home to
domesticate. Mom was named Stealth, because we seldom saw her. We knew she was in the house,
but couldn't catch her. She was not an aggressive cat, and avoided our other residents (6 cats, 2
dogs, 1 steer, numerous chickens, 4 teenagers, and one very harried mom.) After 2 months, she
moved across the street to the neighbor's barn. She was seen daily, allowing them to pet her, feed
her, and applaud her vermin control talent. She is still seen occasionally, basking in the sun on
their old pickup truck.
The daughter was another story entirely!! From the first day, she was a wild thing. We kept her in a
cage, located in the kitchen. We thought the constant traffic would acclimate her to humans.
Instead, she threatened anyone who came into "her room" and required two people to hold her
while her cage was cleaned daily.
After 2 months, we began to think she would never adjust to domestic life. At this time, Philip, our
second child, decided he had had enough. One day, in a fit of insanity, he opened her cage and
turned her loose in the house. Within hours, the other residents were completely befuddled by this
spitting, snarling, whirlwind of orange fur. She picked fights with everyone, including our nearly
comatose Ragdoll male. Everyone was on edge, and the older cats were nearly hysterical.
Just as I was ready to open the door so she could have the freedom she craved, everything quieted
down. After that, she would be seen or heard from under beds or behind the couch. We seldom
saw her, and she formed no friendships with the other cats. She ran if she saw us near her. I gave
up trying to tame her, and was just grateful for quiet.
We were watching tv and eating a McDonald's dinner, one night, a couple weeks after she became
our resident "poltergeist." Philip noticed her, sitting in the dark hallway, watching us with interest.
He laughingly said, "I think she wants french fries," and threw one toward her. She stunned us by
immediately snatching it, and running back toward the bedrooms. We could hear her, under a bed,
growling as she inhaled the fast food treat.
Until now, we had tried coaxing her with every "cat delicacy" we could imagine. French fries had
not been on the trial list!! Silly me, how could I have neglected such a well-loved cat treat!!!
Needless to say, by the end of the night, she had consumed half of Philip's fries, and was sitting in
his lap, contented and purring!! Thinking back, it should have made sense. She had been raised on
whatever junk food the clients had thrown to her mother. Something we have applied to our later
work with feral cats.
DC was named by my husband, when she was forever getting tangled in his computer equipment,
wires, cords, etc. And yes, we did change the first part of her name from his "original term!"
Today, DC is an old, dowager empress. She had one litter, thanks to our granddaughter letting her
out one day, but was spayed shortly after that, and has never seemed to miss kittens or outdoor
life. She is content to be my lap baby, bed partner (Rick fights her on that,) and devoted bathroom
buddy. She tolerates the Bengals, and pretends they do not exist. The kittens learn at an early age
that she is to be avoided and respected, but by the time they are teens, at 6 months, they have
figured out she is all bark and no bite. She will run from them, and hide under a bed if they chase
As a short update, DC is still with us. At the ripe old age of 17 yrs, she still sleeps on the bed, rules
the household, (despite being partially deaf and much slower)and tolerates the Bengals. She has
shown signs of feline senility, but it hasn't seemed to bother her much, so we just let her live in her
own little world!!