She was very wary of us, and all other humans in the beginning ... for a long time, in fact. It took two years before I could get close enough to her to touch her. I would sit quietly on the porch, beside her food dish, so she became comfortable with my presence. Gradually, I could get closer and closer to her ... until she would finally let me pet her. It was such an accomplishment!
I was told by the previous owners of our house that Kimba came here in 1996, and that "she was old then" ... whatever that means. I take it to mean that she was an adult cat at the time, a minimum of three years old. Doing a quick bit of math, we calculate that Kimba has been here for 15 years, which makes her at least 18 years old! Our veterinarian concurs with this estimate. What a ripe old age this is for an outdoor cat!
She spotted me, and she's coming over for a hug.
Until a couple of years ago, Kimba was quite a hunter ... she didn't care for the heads of her prey, though, and I would find random severed heads around the house from time to time. Her hearing is pretty much gone now, so hunting really isn't an option anymore. I think she did it mostly for sport and because of instinct, because we have always kept fresh food and water out for her at all times.
Kimba is a fixture here at Hartwood Manor. She has shelter with a heated bed to stay warm and dry in the winter, and access to our cool garage in the heat of summer. Bringing her into the house to live has never been an option, because the outdoors is her domain and it is where she is happiest. She sleeps on the porch most of the time now, but I catch her prowling around from time to time ... as if she's checking up on the subjects in her kingdom.
At her age, we know that every day with Kimba is a gift. Her health is incredibly good considering how old she is. (She had surgery to remove a mass on her face in early spring, and she handled both the surgery and the recovery like a cat half her age.) Everything has a lifespan, though, and it just won't be the same here without her when her time comes. Fortunately, it looks like we won't have to deal with that anytime soon.