Caring for stray cats--or not?

@scribe1 (1207)
United States
March 14, 2008 4:07pm CST
For the past few months, I've seen this cat wander around, in and out my lawn and those of my neighbors. It is very timid and runs when I call out to it. However, last Sunday, my sister happened to see it and opened up a can of cat food that she happened to have around in her car, and left it next to the large hedge. Well, the next morning, nearly all of the food had been eaten (by the cat, I hope). Now I find myself leaving a can of food in the same place every afternoon. By the next morning, all of the food is gone. I hope that the cat, who looks healthy, begins to trust me so that I can take it in the house and care for it properly. I don't have the heart to call the Humane Society. Maybe I'm going through all of this trouble for nothing. It's a hard call. What do you think?
4 people like this
23 responses
@gewcew23 (8011)
• United States
14 Mar 08
I think it is wonderful. We have had what we called the "neighborhood cat" coming back and forth for a while but the last few weeks it has been staying on our porch. About mid week my husband and I noticed its eyes were looking funny. On closer exams it looks like the cat is going blind in at least one eye. We have taken him in and are trying to get him aquainted with our other 3 cats. We will have to get him to the vet to get him fixed but I just can't let him run around outside and take the chance of getting hit.
1 person likes this
@scribe1 (1207)
• United States
14 Mar 08
God bless you for taking that cat in! And definitely get a vet to examine the cat's eye as soon as possible. You might even consider getting more than one opinion, and I'm saying this from experience. A few years ago, I took in a stray whose eye just didn't look right. The vet that I first took the cat to said that the cat had pinkeye. Subsequently, that diagnosis turned out to be incorrect. As weeks passed, the cat's eye got worse and became bloodier. She started to cry, probably from pain. So I took her to a second vet (my present vet) who diagnosed the cat as having a tumor behind that eye. The vet also said that the cat had about 4 more weeks to live and all that I could do at this point was to keep her comfortable. This was devastating news to get on Christmas eve! And the cat did die a few weeks later, after a few convulsions. I was heartsick and cried. At least, I had her for two years and she had the best life ever. I think that her owners knew that she was sick and simply abandoned her. The lesson from this is always consider getting a second opinion. You never know.
@gratitude (181)
• South Africa
15 Mar 08
Do yourself a favour if you are hoping to make friends with this precious animal. dont just put food down for it and leave. When u put food down call it and talk out loud but in a gentle way to it, so it can hear you..let it get used to your voice and your body aroma so to speak. leave an old shirt or something that u have worn by the food. It will take time. I have got feral cats to come to me many a time! so its not impossible even if he/she is feral. Try to make your feeding times sort of the same time every day too. That way kitty will start to trust more! One never knows what trauma this cat has been through already so it will need to learn to trust you. wishing you well and here's hoping you will succeed in earning the cat's trust enough to make it let u at least stroke it to start with.
@scribe1 (1207)
• United States
15 Mar 08
Thanks for the suggestion of leaving a worn piece of clothing around and calling the cat. And like you also suggested, I place the food out there roughly the same time every afternoon. I've been very careful about doing that, as a neighbor who lives across the street minds my business as well. Should she ever get wind of what I'm doing, she would report it, probably to the police, though I don't know why. Probably has mental issues and nothing better to do, which is how she gets her kicks, old bag!
• South Africa
16 Mar 08
Oh my word! you mean to tell me that if there is a stray animal around your neighbourhood and someone is trying to help the animal - you can be reported for giving a damn about the animal's wellbeing??? for what! I am shocked at this!!!! I understand that if the animal looks sickly yes maybe call in the animal control to take over but for the love of God please dont tell me you can be reported for trying to help the animal?? Tell that neighbour to go knit some squares of brightly coloured wool to make some blankets for the abandonned animals rather than been a snoop! I live in South Africa and you wont believe the amount of cats we feed just in our one harbour area on a daily basis! They are 'mostly' feral..we trap them, have them 'fixed' and take them back to the place they know as home. Kittens are innoculated and we find homes for them. Some are badly injured to the extent that the public would not be interested in taking them on as pets. We have many people that have cateries for just these type of cats who live the remainder of their lives out in comfort. I am still horrified at the thought that you can be reported for trying to help an animal!!! Are your local animal control centres privately run or government owned/sponsored? Here, each community gets off their butts and helps out where they can, and only when its beyond their capability do we turn to the RSPCA.
@scribe1 (1207)
• United States
17 Mar 08
Apparently, that neighbor thinks that she's the "Queen" or "Boss" of the block just because she's got a few little political friends who helped her get her little janitor job in the local school system. She's done other things, such as rearrange my leaf piles and report me for the way that my bulky garbage was packed a few years ago. As far as I'm concerned, she's a big fat retard who doesn't give a d--- for any animals. She's not going to stop me from caring for the kitty though. And there is an out-of-town humane society that serves our area. God forbid that any animals wind up in that place!!! (I've been there only once and it's a hell on earth for the poor cats and dogs who are stuck there.)
@Goatlady (159)
• Ireland
15 Mar 08
Well, when we moved here, there was a cat in residence already, a bit wild, but we fed her along with the crew we brought ourselves across the atlantic. Murphy - is still distrustful to most people but to us, she knows she will let us pet her. She had 4 kittens under a piece of wood. I went to the humane society and borrowed a live animal trap, and caught her, spayed her, (brought the kittens in of course. I kept her indoors for a few weeks till I was sure she was healed. Then she took off like a bat oout of """, but she came back, and slowly, she trusts us. Two of her kittens didnt survive, one unfortunately, took a ride in the trailer over to the rented farm a week ago under a bale of hay. i have seen him since. Just spot here now. But murphy did stay around, she does hop into the house but runs out right away.
• South Africa
16 Mar 08
Goatlady One needs to bare in mind that ...dogs have masters and cats have staff..you DO NOT EVER own a cat..they own you lol. We have a stray right now that took us about 2 weeks to build up trust in her. She would dart straight back under the house at the sight of us. Now the little bugger sleeps on the one bed entering only in the quietness of the night. But we can touch her pick her up for a few seconds and she will sit on yr lap when! she feels like it. We found out the other day where she actually comes from! They not interested in trying to get her to go back and get used to their dogs (the cat belonged to the owners mom who passed)so there we go again..another animal that somehow can read a sign written somewhere on the house (that humans cant see of course) that says HOME FOR HOMELESS ANIMALS--PULL IN HERE FOR GOOD GRUB AND TUMMY RUBS!
@ebberts (786)
• United States
15 Mar 08
I am bad about taking in strays. But they need someone to care for them. My problem with feeding the animals is sometimes it is the racoons and the possums that help themselves. We used to have baby racoons that would come to the back porch and eat witht he cats. They are very cute. But they can be dangerous as adults.
@scribe1 (1207)
• United States
15 Mar 08
My sister's friend left food out in back of her apartment and attracted a family of raccoons, the mama and her babies! She also attracted rabbits and stray cats and fed them all. Eventually, the cats would become even friendlier and venture into her apartment. This even happened with the raccoons, lol. I thought it was so cute! Anyway, there are basically birds and squirrels where I live, which is why I hope that the stray cat is the one who is eating the food, not the squirrels. The squirrels have enough acorns!
@Buchi_bulla (8299)
• India
6 May 08
I have two cats and both were not coming to me in the beginning. One was at least accepting my food if I go little far from the plate. But the second one was not caring the food also, though he was starving. Then slowly we befriended her and now it does not leave our house.
@rhane7315 (5673)
• Philippines
6 May 08
whenever i see a stray cat, i usually get them and bring them back to our house lol my mother always complains about that thing because we don't have enough space for them inside our house. but what can i do, when i see s stray cat my heart melts
• Canada
6 May 08
I think you are doing a great thing! There needs to be more people like you, people who care. i myself take in stray cats and have them fixed! there are more cats on the streets than in homes (in Quebec at least). Poor little guys, they get abandoned, or they are born on the streets. They are susceptible to animal abusers (theres a lot of sickos out there) They really are probably the most neglected animals out there. At least in the way we just go get them when they are babies, and then dump them when they grow up and arent as adorable (to them, they're always adorable to me) or the person has to move and feels no real attachment to the cat so they just leave it behind. They also usually dont put down the money to fix them so the cats have babies and the cycle begins. A cat is pregnant for 6-8 weeks. They can have a couple litters a year. Who knows, maybe more. I feel i have made a dent in my neighborhood by fixing all these cats over the years (im talking like 25 cats) The cat youre helping might be timid but he appreciates what you are doing. He might come around and get over his fear. Theres nothing like taking in a stray as a pet. They love you a little more i think, they know that you saved them.
@rhane7315 (5673)
• Philippines
15 Apr 08
every time i see either a strayed cats or dogs i usually adopt them lol i guess i should put an adoption center for pets
@twoey68 (13651)
• United States
15 Apr 08
You might try putting the food out and then sitting a little distance away to see if it is in fact the kitty...after all you don't want to be feeding a raccoon or possum. Once your sure it's the kitty, you can work on moving the can a little closer each day to your porch or wherever you can sit and see it. It will eventually come to trust you but most strays have a great deal of fear when it comes to strangers...it takes time for them to trust you. As far as whether it's worth it or not, that's up to you. I would do it but then I love animals and love getting close to them. **AT PEACE WITHIN** ~~STAND STRONG IN YOUR BELIEFS~~
@Hatley (164485)
• Garden Grove, California
8 Apr 08
It is hard to know as stray cats can be so timid but I think you are being very compassionate. I would have done the same thing myself. Would the humane society be apt to just get rid of the cat? That does not seem very likely to me but its probably much better if you could persuade the poor kitty to come to you and be cared for like it should be. blessings to you hope you can succeed.
@tang20 (20)
• United States
8 Apr 08
although i would never bring a stray cat in my home i find what your doing very genuine. If you intend to take on teh responsibilty of a pet you have to go all the way. Before you bring it in you home have a vet check him out and get him bathed and groomed.
@Esoteric1 (866)
• Canada
8 Apr 08
i wouldn't make that call I\d keep feeding it and trying to get closer to it to befriend it, i'd also try to use some catnip treats you might have an easy time getting him to come to you. I think it's very nice that you care so much about animals, My family has always taken in strays or at the very least took some responsibility for the ones close by feeding them etc, anyways good luck getting coaxing the cat i hope for it's own good you succeed
@Ceciliah (56)
• Canada
8 Apr 08
The Humane Society is there for a purpose,but if I had a stray cat coming around I would feed it instead of calling it in. So few cats are adopted and wind up euthanized. Your doing a good thing and maybe by winter this cat will be comfortable in your home. If not a winter shelter could be built, with some blankets to keep it warm. Hope everything works out well for you and the kitty. ceciliah
@Loverbear (4928)
• United States
17 Mar 08
Thank you for taking care of the cat. Don't call the humane society on the poor thing. Obviously it was dumped in your neighborhood and it might have been abused which is one of the reasons that it might be shy. Keep feeding the cat, but set up a regular spot that you can watch and move up on slowly. I have tamed alot of very timid cats by placing the food in a spot where I can stand and watch and eventually move slowly towards the area so the cat can get used to me. It would be great if there was a table so that you don't come down to pet the cat. This is a threat to a shy animal. Take the time to move slowly on the cat and eventually when the cat trusts you standing there start slowly moving your hand towards the cat. DON'T RUSH TOUCHING THE CAT! Not only would you loose a lot of ground, but you could get scratched. Let the cat smell you and get used to your being there. If you have one like my Ralphie, put out some milk. I discovered by accident that Ralphie would do anything for a bowl of milk. He was totally wild for the past 14 years. I found him one day with an infection in his face that had both him and me convinced that he was going to die. I ground food so that he could eat without doing a lot of chewing, and after the infected site burst and cleaned out he healed and developed a love and trust for me that equals that of a dog! Anyhow he is tame for me to pet and he comes and rubs my legs and sits on my lap when we're outside. It takes some time, but it is well worth the time. Especially when you think of the number of animals that are dumped in neighborhoods or out in the country rather than the people doing the responsible thing and taking them to a humane society. More and more shelters are going to NO KILL, but people still think that it is kinder to take the animal someplace and drop them off. The animals end up starving, getting killed by wild animals, getting run over by cars or any other number of horrible things. I live in the country and we have a steady flow of abandoned animals who are busily checking passing vehicles looking for the people that they had bonded with. We work at developing trust in our animals and then we flush that trust by deciding to toss the animal aside rather than following our commitment to taking care of the animal. Enough of my soap box, keep working with the cat, it will eventually come around. The first step is to set up a place for regular feeding close to the house where you have the control of working towards befriending the cat. Cats can't survive on what they can catch in the wild, so please keep feeding the cat. If the cat were to be determined to be unadoptable by the humane society it would be put to sleep, so if you care for the cat, which obviously you do, keep trying.
@lexus54 (3576)
• Singapore
17 Mar 08
You seem to have a desire to want to raise this cat as your pet. If you love cats like I do, I'd say give it a home - your home - so that it will have a chance of being taken care of and loved. Like you, I have also been feeding stray cats around my place. I feed up to 10 cats a day, and they all are very familiar with me and friendly towards me perhaps because of the food. But there are a couple of cats which are specially warm to me, and I can see that they are so happy to see me when I go downstairs for my walks even if I do not have food to feed them with. There's one particular cat (a female) which I have been feeding for nearly 3 years now which is very close to me. She will sit on the park bench with me, and go where I go. Everyday she will look out for me, and when she sees me, she will come charging at me. She is really like a pet to me, and I think she also feels like she is my pet. She gets such special personal treatment from me that she is jealous of other cats around. When I walk away from her to feed other cats, she will not be happy and she shows it. But when I place my attention on her, she will go soft and loves it when I pat her for long periods. She and the other cats are really so lovable, but I will not bring any of them back into my apartment. I can see that these cats love the environment outside and the freedom to run around the gardens, chasing the birds and grasshoppers, and sometimes playing with each other, so it is better to let them hang around where they are most happy and contented.
@dierdre (2213)
• Philippines
16 Mar 08
well its up to you but maybe later on he will warm up to you, but in my opinion, most adult stray cats are hard to tame coz they are used to being hostile or avoiding people since they grew up that way, no one feeding and caring for them , i tried to call out every stray cat that comes into our backyard eating our chicken's leftover food but they all run away from me or they wont come to me.the only exception in my case would be the very first cat that we owned when i was 8 yrs. old, she was a stray who purposely climbed the chair of our garden set and meowed at our window while we were sitting at the dining table eating lunch. we gave her fish and since that moment she never left our house and became our very first cat ever.like what they always say, stray animals stay at the place where there's always food, hehe. but that cat was already an adult when she came to our house, and for an adult, stray cat, she's pretty tame and sweet, coz she always likes to park her body on my lap, a trait which no cat i ever had besides her has. my present cat, i have to put him on my lap for me to cuddle him.but him jumping on my lap? never. so keep dong the lord's work, and just keep feeding the cat, i have an idea, why dont you bring a dried cat food and when you see that cat, start dropping the food in a trail-like manner that leads to your house! (if your house happens to be near where he hangs out) so that he'll follow it and who knows? in time he just might soften up if he always recognizes you as the one who always gives him food.
@lateesha (94)
16 Mar 08
well if i see a stray cat about i will take it in and care for it even though im not really a big fan of cats
• United States
15 Mar 08
As long as the cat isn't going to cause a problem for you, others living in your home, or your neighbors, then there's no reason not to care for it if you want to. I read in the paper once that an older lady who liked cats and had a lot of strays in her neighborhood started taming them by setting out some food and sitting outside in a lawn chair and reading aloud to them. She was retired obviously, and had the time to do that. Apparently, the sound of your voice, when you are talking gently like you would be if you are reading aloud helps calm scared animal and makes them more comfortable with you. You might try something like that to start getting the cat to be comfortable with you being around. And if you recline in a lawn chair, you are clearly in a non threatening position, because the cat knows it can get away before you even get up.
@gemini_rose (16194)
15 Mar 08
If the cat is homeless and it wants a home and it learns to trust you then it will come and live with you. The thing I have learnt with cats is that if they want to live with you they will, but if they dont then they will just run away. A few years I had my first cat, I had him from a kitten, he was beautiful, he was fed and groomed every day. But out of the blue he just upped and left. He would be seen all over the place, as soon as he was spotted we would catch him and fetch him back home, as soon as he got out of the door again he would go. I tried desperately to get him to stay, but he just did not want to and I had to let him go. I dont think you are wasting your time, just keep feeding him and you will soon find out if he wants to live with you or not.
• Canada
15 Mar 08
Hello scribe1, This cat is lucky you are tending to it. If you'd like to rest easier, maybe you can post a few notices around your community and make sure that the cat isn't just wandering but is owned by someone. If you hear nothing after a couple of weeks, just bring the cat in and continue to care for it. If a person calls stating that it is his or her cat, then perhaps the person will be more attentive to it once they realize that you have been feeding it because you thought it was a stray! If not, then you've got yourself a new kitty!