#1 here. We are not sure which day it was but we remember that Trav showed up at the end of our lane one day in early March 2015. None of us knew him but he did bear a strange resemblance to Manoush, a kitten who had appeared out of nowhere in 2007 and settled in with our neighbour, Ms. N where he lived a very happy life until he was felled a couple of years ago by Saddle Thrombus. Manoush had been long-haired and this new guy was short-haired but they had strangely similar markings and the same unusual eye colour.
The new guy was truly feral. It was clear he had never had a home or been close to people. It was impossible to get within ten feet of him. He would bolt and just disappear. But he seemed to like the comfy cushion on the tractor seat in the neighbours' open shed, and that is where I took my first photo of him on March 3, 2015:
He was seen eating from the outdoor feeding station for Ms. N's cats and she didn't chase him away. After a while, I started putting a little dry food out for him as well. He remained very skittish for a very long time. He eventually shifted from the tractor seat to the old mattress on top of the car wreck, and he started to relax a little:
He became less fearful:
He finally understood that nobody was going to chase him away.
Tommy and I would occasionally spot him in the fields, hunting, on our walks:
As autumn began to close in and the days shortened, I decided that he needed a more reliable and regular feeding arrangement, so I arranged a feeding station for him at the back of the garage, with both wet and dry food, and water. He had already spotted the boxes filled with straw at the back of the garage, and would occasionally sleep there, so he knew the place.
He also let me get closer to him:
For the winter, I made a special shelter for him at the back of the garage although he mostly still prefers the straw-filled boxes. The garage door is always open enough for him to get in and out.
I have still not been able to touch him but he is now totally at ease with my being around him or close to him. He barely even opens an eye if he is in his straw box and I bring his meal. Whether I ever get to pet him or not, he is now a member of the family, and we will do our best to ensure he always has a full tummy and dry and comfortable shelter. This morning, it is stormy out there, with pelting rain and howling winds, and it truly warmed my heart to find Trav curled up in his straw box at the back of the garage. He is home.
Here, by the way, is a photo of Manoush. Do you think they might have been littermates, and Manoush found a home and Trav didn't until now?
Whatever the answer, we are so pleased to have you with us, Trav! Live long and prosper!