By ALMA J. BUELVA
Ghen Gabriel is a cat lover from Valenzuela in Metro Manila who one day stumbled upon an abandoned grey kitten in a dumpster. She decided to rescue and bring it home even though it acted quite like the kitten from hell!
Instantly Ghen called the kitten Sungit (grouchy) as it violently hissed and growled at her and repeatedly tried to attack her. Sungit was a small ball of fury—wild and ferocious like a tiger.
But Ghen was not one to give up easily. She believed little Sungit was just scared and probably traumatized so she patiently worked to win his trust and to calm him down. A series of videos she took of them documented her struggles with Sungit who obviously didn't trust humans—or anything else that moved.
On the first day, the only way Ghen could hold Sungit was by wrapping him in a towel. Sungit protested and cried vigorously even after Ghen placed him inside a cat carrier.
Ghen tried to feed Sungit, hoping food would make the little tiger less aggressive. To avoid Sungit's dangerous claws, Ghen used a chopstick to pick up and bring bits of cat food to Sungit. Unfortunately, it only seemed to aggravate Sungit's hysterical fit so that he gave Ghen's chopsticks a good karate chop that sent food flying away.
The next day, a slightly calmer Sungit could be seen cautiously drinking water from a spoon held by Ghen. To be safe, Ghen still had Sungit wrapped in a towel. As he drank, Sungit was throwing Ghen a cautionary look in case she tried something funny.
By the third day, a marked improvement in Sungit's disposition was visible. After receiving lots of love, patience and care from Ghen, Sungit's level of grouchiness was down. Ghen, who ditched using a towel for a pair of gloves, was not only able to carry Sungit close to her, she also managed to plant a kiss on his head!
Here's a video of their hate-love relationship:
Sungit continued to react passively when she snuggled beside Ghen's pillows, occasionally moving his tail and peeking his head out. He was no longer angry at Ghen. At that moment, Ghen knew Sungit was making an important turn for the better.
Here are some of Sungit's latest photos:
These days, Sungit has become friends with Ghen's five other cats. Ghen said the grouchy kitten she found in the dumpster is now a very affectionate and playful kitten who is also quite the big eater.
“I knew Sungit would be a good cat given the chance,” said Ghen.
So, next time anyone of us wants to tame an angry cat, remember Sungit, the real grumpy cat made moderate by love.
By A. JULI PEDRO
EVERY breakfast and dinner, a black and white cat patiently waits for his meal outside the gate of my house. It's been that way probably for the last three years when it decided I should run a special soup kitchen for him.
I've grown fond of this cat despite the fact that we started off on the wrong foot or paw. I used to frequently chase him away as he would trespass to hassle my cats. But I've always found this stray cat handsome with his big round head, green eyes and sweet face. He was always full of battle scars and skin lesions so I called him “Gnarly”.
Being an incorrigible cat lover, I felt bad for this homeless cat, so one night I found myself throwing him a piece of salmon. Watching him smacking his lips in pleasure felt good; I knew it was his first time to eat salmon. I also knew it as an occasion that forever changed him from being a completely feral cat to one that finds human companionship not too objectionable.
We became like mutually beneficial friends – he got food if he left my cats alone. But he did knock up one of my cats. I needed no further proof of his paternity when my last kittens all came out black and white. Interestingly enough, he also made an unscheduled vigil outside the gate the night my cat went into labor.
I am amazed that Gnarly follows a circadian rhythm to avail of his benefits. He simply knows the time to park himself outside and wait for food. And wait long he does if I wake up or stay out late. Sometimes he gives up and leaves, and sometimes I worry when he skips a meal or doesn't show up for days.
Unless it's a stormy day, Gnarly doesn't mind waiting in the rain. When it's hot, he uses the plants for shade. He likes meat and doesn't really care for kibbles.
Gnarly now trusts me enough to let me carry him to the spot where I prefer him to eat. For a cat who spends his days under parked cars, he sure is smart to pick up which one is mine. Sometimes, I would pass by him on some street and he would immediately follow my car home.
Despite our unique friendship, Gnarly refuses to be domesticated. He prefers to be the cat who walks by himself, just like the one in Rudyard Kipling's story. He is also never without gnarly battle scars and wounds, proof that he is continuously defending his turf and his status as an alpha cat in the village.
Since we became friends, Gnarly has kept his end of the deal and never bothered or hurt my cats. He also knows a bit about reciprocity. One time at dawn, I saw him carrying a huge rat in his mouth. I didn't know it was for me until I saw it later outside my gate.
Here is a cat who is not afraid of dogs, people, cars and bad weather. Winning his trust was quite a feat and I'm glad to help him keep up his stamina with daily rations. Like everyone else, Gnarly is getting old and wrinkly. I know one day he will stop coming and I would miss him. But for now, he is very welcome—for breakfast and dinner.