DC (Darn Cat)
Date of Birth: Best guess June 1992
Sire: Lion (feral large orange marmalade tabby tom)
Dam: Stealth (feral 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 her.
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!!    
                                                                                                                                                    
Updated  05-20-2014
Update: Our beloved DC crossed the
Rainbow Bridge in 2013 at 21 yrs of age.