With little more than skin and bones Tilley came in from a wet cold winter storm pregnant. I had seen her a few times trying to get to the feral feeding station but the bigger feral cats kept her away. She was quite desperate
One evening I heard a cat cry pathetically outside in our laneway. I checked and there she was up to her belly in slush just crying. I don't think she had anywhere to go. To my surprise she let me pick her up and I brought her in. She was definitely not a feral cat as I had originally thought. She had not let me near before, but now that she was in my arms she was resigned to be picked up.
I immediately called her Tilley because she was so tough and "endurable". It is also a shortening of Attila the Hun who was certainly very tough and ferocious.
Tilley was desperate, cold, hungry and wildly aggressive to other cat. She had learned to fight with everything she had. She had a few marks on her but fortunately no serious wounds. She followed a policy of attack first and ask questions later.
Whenever she walked into a room the other cats scrambled out as fast as they could. This minute cat was inspiring terror in the heart of cats over twice her weight.
Weighing in at a bit less than 7 pounds this diminutive cat was fighting for her life.
There was no possibility of adding her to the existing cats, she simply was too aggressive. I had made arrangements to get her put on one of the adoption websites as soon as she was well enough and had settled in a bit.
Tilley however had other plans and after a few weeks of care we had a different creature on our hands.
She attached herself to me and clung passionately. For a month I couldn't go anywhere without having a little Tilley needing to be against me. She purred herself hoarse. At night she slept under the covers.
Even now she has days when she can't leave my side and will follow me step for step for hours on end.
Within a couple months Tilley cat has filled out a bit and regained some composure and confidence. To my astonishment she had made friends with the other cats and was playing up a storm. She had located all the warm spots in the house and has special dibs on a couple of rad and a heated cat bed. I guess she is so tiny she feels the cold more strongly than the others.
Tilley has now been with us over a year and has earned her spot in the pride. She is no longer fierce with anyone. She just needed a chance.
She is an expert at figuring out when the clothe comes out of the drier and is warm and cosy.
Tilley is a stubborn cat and here she has decided to sit on my papers and is refusing to move. UPDATE: she is still with us after 10 years, and is a playful, friendly, and really smootchy little cat.
Fast forward a couple of years. This year we have moved and the cats are allowed some outside time. I let them out after breakfast and bring them in for supper. It can be dangerous outside because of foxes and coyotes. They don't go far, there are so many mice around that their days are full just patrolling the yard. I am very lucky that they are bad hunters. The only one who ever seems to catch anything is Oscar. He has specialized in mice and voles. Here Tilley oversees her territory from the top of a stump.