This is the picture I took the night Clarence's new family came to take him away. I took it to remember him by, at which point I realized I loved him.
The four tiny feral kittens had slowly learned to tolerate my presence as they ate, as long as I didn't move, and Mamma loved her pettings- still growling the whole time. I knew I couldn't take in the whole family, and was mentally preparing to find homes or them. Haha.
One day only a week or two later I came home from work and called to let the woodpile family know it was dinner time. Two little orange balls tore up to me, looked up, and said, "holy crap I forgot you're a big scary human", promptly hit reverse, and fell off the porch. I laughed, got their food, and took it out. Again only the two orange kittens appeared. I never saw the rest of their family again.
I put my befriending skills into overdrive, and that night reached down to pet them while they were eating. They didn't see me move, and by the time my hand was carressing them, it was too late for fear. They loved it, purring louder than seemed possible as they ate. Then they finished, and ran under the porch.
I spent the next few days petting them and dragging string for them, and before I knew it one was named Roger. My Honey said they were redheaded step children, and that the only name to be had for the other was Clarence. It was November, and the nights were cold, and being only first genertion feral, I soon had them living inside. It seemed to change them, and next thing I knew they were sleepily purring in my lap.
I didn't want to become a cat hoarder, so when a coworker said she'd take one, I tried hard to convince myself it was the right, albeit hard, thing to do. She came over with her 7 year old daughter to pick one, and Roger and Clarence, whom I thought I had transformed from feral to family cats, went wild with terror. My coworker said she would find a carrier and come back with it, and when she and her daughter left, the little orange orphans came back out to play and cuddle and play some more.
I looked at them, and knew I had to call my coworker and call it off. I felt so guilty, so selfish, and so evil, crushing a little girls hopes for a kitten. But it was all I could do not to cry at the thought of parting with the little heart stealers. I made the call, and it was hard. I was embarassed and ashamed as I told her I couldn't do it, and I apologized over and over. In fact, she still holds it over my head because she had to go to the pound the very next day to fullfill the kitten promise for her daughter.
You might think I would have learned my lesson, but Maggie and Sebastian will clear that right up. At least this time I didn't let any hopeful parents-to-be down. And I am so, so glad I kept Roger and Clarence- they were definitly a gift from the universe. Wish granted.