Building trust in a relationship is every bit as difficult when dealing with felines as it is when dealing with humans. Trust is a precious quality but the steps to building a trustful relationship with our furry friends requires time (sometimes more time than our human sensibilities believe it should take) and much patience. Often there is one step forward and then two steps back. A misinterpreted hand movement or an unexpected noise can stall or even impede the process, especially with feral and stray visitors.
|Paddy and Halo
Halo came to us one Mother's Day and with her first meow, I knew she would become a member of our family. Even though she chose us and adapted easily to indoor life, my relationship with her developed at a slow pace and today she is my constant daytime companion. She seems to sense when I'm not feeling well, and cuddles even closer than usual. Paddy, one of Halo's kitties, has been with us indoors since the day she was born. Her personality often portrays an aloofness but never a lack of trust. As she ages, she comes for short petting or brushing sessions and has even begun to keep me company at my desk as I work at the computer.
Bonnie and Clyde started to roam our property last fall. They remained at a distance for quite some time, probably because Sunnybud was marking the area. They came for feedings at the dry food stations, but ran whenever we were on the patio. After Sunnybud crossed the rainbow bridge, their visits became more regular, though they kept a cautious eye on us if we stood behind the storm door while they ate. Eventually they came to the occasional dish of wet food we would put out if they were in the vicinity.
Throughout the spring, their visits have become more regular, usually once in the morning and again in the evening. Often they are waiting by the door when we open it. Slowly they have progressed from eating with the storm door closed as we watched to stepping inside the basement door for an occasional meal.
They are still very much "on guard" as they eat and touching has not yet entered the equation. But I can see from the looks in their eyes that they are slowly coming to trust me and hopefully soon they will realize that they can come for more than just food. I'm hoping they will be my summertime patio companions. I just have to trust that I can build their trust. Only time will tell, but I know from experience that the rewards are worth the wait. Halo and Zoie Joy remind me of that every time they reach out a paw to touch me as I'm lying on the bed or serenely purr as they nap next to me.
|In a rare trusting moment, Bonnie and Clyde eat treats
with my husband within arms' reach.
|Halo nestles in my husband's arm as we watch TV.
Available April 26, 2016 from
KAREN ROSE SMITH
Book 5, Caprice De Luca Mystery Series
USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 95th novel will be released in 2016.
Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens. And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.
Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below.