I am the Feral Cat Lady

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by hermitlady, Apr 9, 2008.

  1. hermitlady

    hermitlady Member

    My husband and I have rescued 5 feral kittens that were living in the parking lot where he works. They're actually all about 7 mos old now. Two of them were small enough that they've become tame and are spoiled housecats now. The other 3 were a bit older when we caught them and are so wild we can't get near them.

    The 3 wild ones have been living in our garage for about 3 months now. I rented a cat trap and patiently waited until I could catch them again. So far I've gotten 2 of them spayed...one more to go. The 2 I have in the house are spayed also.

    It just dawned on me as I was driving home from the vet this afternoon with a groggy "Phantom"....if these 5 females had all been left to run and have kittens, there would have been potentially a hundred or more ferals running around!

    It really made me feel good knowing we've made a difference. We plan on keeping them all since we have 2 acres and the wild ones can stay outside and stay fat and happy. Just thought I'd share...spay and neuter your pets please, it's so important.
  2. lgp

    lgp Well-Known Member

    Are you ever afraid of these cats? Do you have much experience with this?

    My cat is now 10 months old and I got him from the Humane Society and I love him insanely, as does the rest of my family. He is a house cat, not allowed out, but I sometimes wonder if perhaps he was spawned from a feral cat. He was found on the street, only days old, when he was taken into an animal shelter. He was two hours away from euthanization when the Humane Society rescued him, so we named him Lucky. He is so loving and very affectionate, a real people cat, but sometimes I wonder if he was spawned from a feral because every once in awhile he'll be playing and then go temporarily insane, running a hundred miles an hour or trying to scale the wall. I never had a cat before; is this typical kitty behavior or possibly feral tendencies? Just curious.

    BTW, God bless you for doing what you do. Lucky you to have so much property!! And by the way, my kitty was 'fixed' at 6 months old. The state actually paid for most of it--I was provided with a voucher by the Humane Society as an incentive to get it done.

    The best decision I ever made was to get this cat. He has added so much happiness to our home. I will never again live without a cat!!


    [This Message was Edited on 04/09/2008]
  3. victoria

    victoria New Member

    I agree, we've always gotten our dogs spayed/neutered...

    Only one time did one of our dogs 'fool' us, our Great Pyrenees at 1 year of age... we didn't even know she'd ever come into heat, OR was pg as our other males (albeit neutered) weren't acting any different and we hadn't seen any strangers around... we'd been told we could wait til she was about a year old anyway!

    Happily she only had 1 pup anyway! (she'd been from a litter of 12!)

    But I admit, it was fun...

  4. ckball

    ckball New Member

    Glad to see ya here. You did a wonderful thing, there are so many homeless animals so you did make a difference. I have a freind that has 9 she has rescued and spayed and neurtered but doesn't have the heart to let them go to other homes and has kept them.

    She has a large home and a fenced yard but the cats own the house, if you know what I mean.

    Still no glass work huh. I haven't made anything other some christmas ornaments for the shop. My boss at the antique shop gave me 30 1x3 clear bevel and 45 3x5 bevels that came out a set of windows that came out of a Burger King that was torn down years aga. They are beautiful windows but she didn't use the borders and gave them to me.

    So there may be a project for me down the road.

    Good work and nice picture too- get out more often ok? Carla
  5. 4everkid

    4everkid New Member

    Hermitlady -
    I have to commend you. It's great that you got these cats all spayed. But it is also very kind of you to take them in and see that they are cared for.

    When I was a kid, we had an abandoned old house in the neighborhood that was full of feral cats. Me and my friends used to take cans of tuna there and tame the wild cats. I managed to get a few of them softened up and gain their trust, then I took them home and kept them. They ended up being just as sweet and domesticated as any other cats.

    lgp -
    Being an official cat person, I can say for absolute certainty that your cat is acting completely normal. Every cat I have ever lived with has a daily episode of "crazy, psycho-cat time." They may do it every evening, or take a few months off, or just randomly. And there never seems to be a real reason for it. They just get that big-eyed look and take off! They run all over the house at high speed, laughing all the way.

    A former cat of mine, Wally, was a wall jumper like yours. He would jump the walls at the corners and flip the lights on and off at the switch. I have no idea if feral cats do this, but I know indoor cats do. It's hilarious, and even after all these years and multiple cats, it never ceases to amaze me. I will have to go to my fav cat site and see if they discuss this crazy cat anomaly. I am curious why they do it.
    My guess would be that its based on an instinct to chase prey, but has morphed over the generations into playful self entertainment.

    This is interesting... You know how when cats do something stupid, like fall off the couch, they instantly bathe themselves a few swipes of the tongue, like they are trying to look nonchalant? It always cracks us up. I just learned recently why they do that. It roots back to being comforted by their mothers when they were babies. Mama cat licked them and soothed them. So when they get embarrassed, they self-soothe.

    Back to the subject at hand...good luck with the girls Hermitlady! Give the 3 older ones some time and they will grow to trust you. Plus, the spaying will tame them some too. You really made a big difference by saving them, and the multitudes of suffering offspring they would have produced. Good work!

    If I didn't have a husband to keep me under control, I would be the craziest of all crazy cat ladies that ever lived!
  6. joyfully

    joyfully New Member

    When my beloved Gretchen had to be put to sleep at 1 1/2 years old, I was inconsolable. I got Rudy 3 days later because he was going to the city's animal shelter. He was a 2 year old minature schnauzer (I know there is some poodle in there too!). He wasn't fixed.

    I'm allergic to cats, but minature schnauzer dogs don't shed. He wasn't neutered when we got him. The vet postponed his surgery because he was soooooooooo thin when we got him. Two weeks later, Rudy was neutered. I never thought I'd have a male dog! Rudy needed a home. I couldn't save Gretchen, but I could save Rudy. so I ended up with a male dog. He makes my day. I have to get up and dressed so I can walk him. By the time we are half way through our walk, I usually see someone I know and have a long conversation with them. Rudy is good for me. He is a character, and I'm still learning things about him.
    I love him to pieces. My street has mostly rescue dogs and they are all so well behaved. I can't say that about Rudy. he is somewhat better since he went 2 months to PetSmart classes. He still hates cats and squirrels. He just doesn't hate them as much as he used to.

    I think anyone who rescues animals will have a special place in heaven. You are saving God's creatures.
    [This Message was Edited on 04/09/2008]
  7. victoria

    victoria New Member

    I think I read somewhere that, if allowed outside, about 60% of cats will become feral for a while, but often return home or to another home. I wonder if that's true?

  8. joyfully

    joyfully New Member

    When we lived in N. Carolina, we had a feral cat adopt us. I totally forgot about that. He started hanging out on our deck, bringing dead mice to our back door, following us when we walked down our driveway to get the mail. We didn't dare pick him up. Sometimes, he would allow us to pet his head while he layed by our feet when we were sitting on the deck. This cat was HUGE. he would easily jump 5 feet in the air and catch a bird in flight. We would put out cat food every day for him. He remained wild.
  9. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    I just wrote an article for our local shelter newsletter and my research found the following amazing statistic:

    One unneutered male and one unneutered female (just one of each and there are thousands!) are capable of producing 400,000 kittens in a seven year period. Is that not incredible????

    Yes, spaying and neutering is crucial.

    A shelter friend cares for a colony of 25 cats on eight acres. She got the last one neutered last year and this year is the first year there have been no kittens showing up at her door.

    Can you imagine feeding that many cats?? And she brushes the ones who let her as well as keeping an eye on their health. They have little dog houses filled with straw for winter as well as other sheltered areas.

    The only problem with cat colonies is that they do tend to destroy the bird population in their area, even when fed. It's just "a cat thing".

    Here's to cats - but as cute as they are - fewer kittens!

  10. hermitlady

    hermitlady Member

    My husband managed to transfer Phantom from the trap into a big dog cage that we have in the garage. She was not a happy camper, but I want to be able to keep an eye on her for a week or so. Even when she was closed up in the garage, she always hid somewhere so we never saw her...thus the name Phantom. She is very wild!!!

    YC1...feral cats are just domestic cats that have become wild from living out on their own. Since they aren't "fixed", they just keep multiplying and live in colonies. From what we could tell, there were 2 mother cats where we found these kittens...we were never able to catch them unfortunately. Ferals can be quite scary and dangerous, you have to be careful.

    One of mine that is about halfway tame is becoming such a sweetheart. Her name is Wicked, and she's come such a long way since we got her. She was this 8 week old kitten that would lunge, hiss and spit at us from her cage. I never thought she'd mellow out, but she sleeps next to me on my bed and even lets me pick her up briefly.

    I have 2 dogs too, love them just as much. We have a Cairn Terrier, "Luka", and an elderly Border Collie/Aussie, "Bailey"...they are great dogs.

  11. kellygirl

    kellygirl Member

    I called the vet because we were given two kittens that were rescued on Christmas. They were living outside we were told. I wanted to know how much vaccinations and spaying would cost us.

    By the time they were done, it would've been $500. I already have creditors after me, I cannot afford that.

    They wouldn't even put the two kittens into one office visit.

    The SPCA is having a clinic. It's on a Sunday, so I figure a Vet must be giving up their free time to do this. $120 for both kittens for shots and spaying.

    I am so grateful. I love these little guys.

    The pets I had before were rescues from abuse, but these two only know love. What a difference. They will be kept indoors. I love the rabbits, birds and squirrels running around outside. They watch them from the window.
  12. frosty77

    frosty77 New Member

    Kudos to feral cat people!!

    I read that the nutty-cat-racing-around thing is usual to indoor cats and is a pent up energy issue.

    Wish I were that lucky to have a feral cat adopt me! I'm just the food person. In the last 5 years, I've had a whole bunch of cats at my house simply for the food. The first I named Sweetie - she would allow me to come within 4 feet of her (she actually slept on a chair on my deck for a year or two).

    Her offspring I named Skunky, Brownie, and Blacky - only Skunky did not run when I turned on the deck light - she let me get within 6 feet of her. Skunky had 4 kittens that I saw once - she brought them over to show them the food I leave nightly on the deck. I assume they were here every night, but I only saw them that once.

    Of Skunky's kittens, Fluffy and Blacky II still come for food - both disappear if I so much as move the curtain. There's also JJ, MJ, and Tiger - all of whom I rarely if ever see - they are extremely skittish.

    So, that's 9 cats that have come to my deck nightly for food - and not one of them is at all interested in staying - it must be me!

    And they were/are all too skittish to trap and spay. I actually put the food dishes under a small table so they are out of the elements and the cats push them to the center of the porch so they can run at the first sign of anything.

    I also read that once a feral kitten reaches a certain, young, age, it's not tame-able (I learned this from a feral cat group I belong to).

  13. hermitlady

    hermitlady Member

    Well, I've had my trap set for the last 24 hrs and I still haven't caught the last unspayed cat. She is smart and has elluded the trap several times. I'm hoping if she gets hungry enough she'll go in.

    I use some different tricky techniques to entice them into the trap (secrets from a feral cat website), but "Marge" (my son named her after Marge on The Simpsons LOL) is too darned smart! I just don't want her to end up having a litter of kittens under our shed out back. I had her in the garage, but she got out the other day when dh opened the garage door.

    Frosty...sounds like you just have a bunch of really wild ones. That's how Marge and Phantom have always been, that's why it's taken me so long to get them into the vet. Little rascals, they don't know how lucky they really are!

    We also have a "Wicked" and a "Carol Feral"....they're the 2 that are now housecats, they're actually littermates w Marge. They are so sweet now, it's hard to believe they were the spitting, hissing creatures that we brought home.
  14. springwater

    springwater Active Member

    I felt happy to read of those five cats who have got a home now. And who will all be hopefully spayed. Good luck. Im always so bemused at the reproductive system of wild animals and all those poor babies which get born just to die of starvation or being prey to something else and wonder what on earth is the point of it all?

    Its uplifting to hear of something like this and wish there were more of people like you around.

    All that space for the cats to roam around in...it sounds so wonderful for them. I wouldnt mind being a cat and adopted by you. Lol. Being fed whenever necessary and just gallivanting around in the wild the rest of the times. Not a bad life.

    God Bless You
  15. kellygirl

    kellygirl Member

    on a Sunday. They were holding a spay/neutering clinic. I thought they'd be ok, since at home they are the sweetest things. We had cardboard carriers that you can purchase for $5. I thought they'd be fine in them.

    Well, the one was whining, clawing all the way to the clinic.

    I was up front in the passenger side of our SUV and the kittens were seat-belted in back. All of a sudden I hear this loud yelling in my ear! The kitten broke loose! It was funny and cute, yet we felt like we were leaving our children. But, as parents, you do what you have to do.

    A man was there, too, with his cats and he carried duck tape in his truck and we taped the hole up in the box.

    They had to be there 7 am and will be picked up at 4 pm.

    Thank God for the clinics, and the vets and shelters that donate their time.......