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       Natasha was rescued in 1992. She was approximately 3 weeks old when we trapped her, her siblings and her mother. All four of the babies were very sick with a particularly virulent form of upper respiratory disease. Natasha was the sickest and we really did not think she would pull through. Treating her was extremely difficult because she was so wild! She fought us tooth and nail and our hands and arms were ripped to shreds. One of the most important things to do in this situation is to keep the cat eating. When cats cannot smell their food, they will not eat it and that is usually what weakens and ultimately kills them.
      About a week after we had her and after an exhausting bout of trying to feed her, she suddenly relaxed and looked directly into our faces for the first time. After a moment, she began to purr and started kneading with her feet. That defining moment of trust was one of the most gratifying we have ever had!
      Although Natasha has mellowed somewhat over the years, she still remains very shy and aloof and only permits the occasional contact. She was thus deemed to be unadoptable, and it was decided that she would stay here with us where she feels safe and very much loved. When we make a decision about the feasibility of adoption with feral cats, we have to take into account not only the desires of the future owner but also the amount of fear and stress this would put upon the cat. With feral cats, we have found that the enormous amount of stress brought on by adoption to a strange environment, (after having already been displaced from their original home to the sanctuary), can trigger serious illness and sometimes even death. Therefore, the well being of the cat plays an large part in our decision as to whether we should try to place them or not.
      Many times feral cats are happier remaining at the sanctuary with their "colony" as most often, they prefer the company of other cats to humans. This was the case with Natasha. She was particularly attached to her mother, Momma Bee, who was one of the most feral cats we have ever had here. Therefore, we were very concerned when Momma Bee lost her battle with cancer two years ago. We didnít know how well Natasha would function without her. However, she has adjusted well and actually has developed a better rapport with the other cats since then. She has even relaxed somewhat towards us without her motherís ever vigilant guard over her.
      Although we still cannot touch Natasha at will, we are at least able to medicate her when necessary. We always live with the hope that some day she will allow us to show her how much we love her. That day hasnít yet come. However, even if it never happens, it is reward enough for us to know that she will live out her days happy, healthy and well cared for in the safety of the sanctuary.

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