When Dinky and his siblings were feral kittens, their mom found them a house where they could count on food being put out by the couple who lived there. The mom, named Mama Mia by the human carers, got comfortable enough that she would even go into the house, but Dinky & Co. weren't ready to be so brave.
Time passed and the couple were no longer together. And so Mama Mia and her still feral kids were brought to the RAPS sanctuary to be looked after. Leslie put them all in the BC Packers pen together, feeling that was the place they would feel most comfortable.
On arrival, the whole family was found to have chronic respiratory, eye and ear trouble. Dinky had to come in for treatment the most often, and so he became tamest soonest.
Volunteer Linda was one of the ones called upon to help with the taming. Here's what she remembers:
I got to know him a couple of years ago when Leslie asked me to befriend him and see if he would let me brush him, etc.
When I first started visiting Dinky in the pen and he didn't want anything to do with me, another of the cats (very feral - he would hiss and spit at me) would herd Dinky over towards me. It was most interesting to observe, as obviously the other cat felt that Dinky needed me!
It took a while, but once he realized how good a brushing felt, I could go into the pen and call "Dinky, brushing!" and he would come out from wherever. Then he allowed me to pick him up and put him on the wooden ledge (easier on my back to brush him). And he just loves to have his head rubbed. That was a bit of a challenge when he had the collar on, but I managed!
White cats are apparently especially prone to skin problems, up to and including cancer, on their sensitive ears. Not long ago, an ugly tumor formed on Dinky's left ear that had to be removed along with the top portion of the ear.
What with meds, a cone from the vet and general discomfort, Dinky wasn't a happy boy for a little while there and would mostly hide behind his privacy curtain. When I visited him earlier this week, he was looking much happier, sitting out in the open where he could check out what was going on and where people wouldn't forget to stop by his cage and pay him a visit. Or two or three.