Potato, the “feral and aggressive” cat, shows that anything is possible with love and lots of time and patience. Keep in mind, Potato’s rescuer has advanced experience in rehabilitating cats considered feral. She is Grace, who fosters with Los Angeles-based Boomers Buddies.
Previously, we shared how Grace rescued Joey, a cat labeled as an aggressive feral cat. With time and lots of love, Joey became a humorously reluctant love bug, helping to raise the foster kittens.
Note: Not all feral cats adapt to home life, which is ok. They can live happy lives with treatment to prevent more kittens. That’s why rescuers practice TNR (trap, neuter, return), a humane and effective way to help feral cat populations.
Potato Was Heartbroken in a Shelter
Imagine you are a scared cat stuck in a shelter with scary noises and sights. In such an environment, cats and dogs often don’t show their real purrsonality. The poor kitty was depressed and sad.
“I came across a video of him in the shelter (last slide), and it absolutely broke my heart. For over a month he was sick and alone in a tiny cage. He looked completely defeated,” said Grace.
Potato was scheduled to be euthanized that day. He needed a miracle. As it turned out, that miracle was named Grace.
“He was set to be euthanized at 4pm that day. The shelter staff informed me that ‘he is untouchable,’ and he is unable to handle due to being so aggressive. However, his medical notes mentioned that he wasn’t aggressive upon intake… just fractious and scared. So with a glimmer of hope, I rushed to the shelter to give him a chance.”
Feral Cat Slowly Learns to Trust
At home, Potato was a very traumatized cat. At first, he was calm due to sedation from surgery, but when it wore off, she “unlocked a Hot Potato 🔥🥔.”
Seeing him learn to trust again would take a small miracle, but Grace wouldn’t give up on him. He was fortunate to have such an understanding and experienced person to care for him. Although Grace could pet him a little, he would growl and once even swatted her, drawing blood. But she didn’t blame him and kept offering him treats to get him to relax. With time, he did begin to adjust slowly.
“It’s been almost 48 hours since Potato’s been home. So far, it’s very obvious to me that he is traumatized and terrified. The majority of our time together, he spends it hiding in the corner of the cage… trying to be as still as possible. Every time I move, he flinches,” she said.
Even if Potato couldn’t learn to trust people, Grace would see that he found a suitable sanctuary or life as a barn cat.
Feral Cat After 4 Weeks
After a couple of weeks, Potato began becoming a little more relaxed. However, he remained too afraid to move when Grace entered the room. On week 3, that changed. You can see a breakthrough when he decides he’s going to trust again. It happened right after Grace sang to the kitty.
“This is the biggest milestone yet! I couldn’t believe my eyes, and I am still in shock! 😦 For the last 3 weeks, Potato has been terrified of me… constantly hiding, growling, and hissing. But this day, he decided I wasn’t so bad after all. Maybe it was my singing? 🤔 I do believe that music has the power to heal and communicate love 🥰.”
Potato Asks for Love
In part 2, we see Potato confidently approach Grace, meowing and asking for pets. It’s as if he is through with fear and wants to finally feel affection.
“I’m shaking, this is crazy,” says a shocked Grace.
Unfortunately, he reflexively falls back into being aggressive at the end.
Warning: Video shows a bloody finger after Potato scratches.
“This may have been one of the sweetest and most surreal moments in my life… but then things took a bit of a turn. Maybe he’s just trying to play hard to get? 😅” she wrote on Instagram. “Regardless of how this interaction ended, the fact that he was asking me for pets absolutely blew my mind. Internally, I was FREAKING OUT. I am so incredibly happy and so proud of my 🥔!”
“We still have a lot of work to do… he clearly doesn’t trust me completely.”
Week Four and Who is This Cat?
At week four, it’s hard to believe this is Potato, the same cat who was so scared and withdrawn. Here he is laying on his back with his belly exposed, which cats only do if they feel trusting.
“Can you even believe that this is the same Potato I rescued a month ago?! 🤯 Sweet boy is starting to show off his precious personality! He is so goofy and playful. And to think that he only had 2 hours left to live for being too aggressive…. so crazy! Just look at him! 😍”
Grace began wearing gloves, and the cat couldn’t scratch her. Over time, Potato melted into mashed potatoes and can’t get enough affection. Over many weeks, the reflexive swatting finally stopped, and he became a happy, playful, affectionate cat. With more time, he tested boundaries and learned the rewards for avoiding aggressive behavior.
Grace explained what she had learned from the experience.
“I think my key to success was staying confident and calm. I also took my time to observe and learn from his body language. Turns out he gets overstimulated very easily. So easily, that I’ll be staying completely still with him rubbing up on me… then he’ll turn around and swat/bite me lol!”
“But with each interaction, he is slowly learning his own limits, and I am learning his boundaries. Now we’re at the point where we go entire pet sessions with zero swats 🤭👏”
“I honestly wasn’t sure if he’d ever learn to trust humans. But here we are! 🥰”
You can follow on Instagram to see how Potato transformed into a lap cat after six weeks of love and endless patience. He even holds Grace’s hand and purrs like he’s always been a house cat. It’s truly amazing what time and love can do!