Ferral Cats

@DCMerkle (1281)
United States
December 8, 2008 1:39am CST
Has anyone ever taken in a feral cat? My hubby and I did once. We both knew what we were in for, but where we lived there was a woods near by and it had more cats in it than trees. At night when you came into the parking lot any cats that were roaming the lot would take back off for the woods. There was this one orange tabby kitten that would only run a little distance away, but would sit and watch us. After awhile we noticed that he would follow us up the path to the apartment door. We would invite him him, but he would take off. One night he did come in and sat in the corner of our living room. I set some food out for him and we pretended that he wasn't there. After awhile he would want to go back out so we let him out in the morning. He would be waiting for us when we got home at night. For awhile he still kept his distance from us in the apartment, but one night he moved in closer to the sofa and just watched us. I would put my hand down to him and he would sniff it and then run back to his corner. After that he would sniff and sit by my sofa with me and my hubby. This went on for about a month. The weather got colder and we couldn't let him back out. We got him a litter pan and he was quick to learn what that was for. We named him Orangie. During the colder months he would follow us from room to room but still sit in a corner and watch us. This progressed to letting us pet him if he sat in front of our feet. He still wouldn't let us move to pick him up to hold him. He would growl and hiss and take off for a corner of the room. One morning I was watching TV and he sat on the coffee table. I slowly moved to bring him into my lap. He started hissing, his fur ruffed up and he was trying to be a big, bad alley cat. He was squirming and trying to scratch me. I stood him up on his hind feet, brought him face level to mine so we could be eye to eye. I never said a word to him , but I kept looking him in the eye. He was getting louder and louder in his verbal dislike of being held, but after awhile he just stopped like he had given in. He got limp in my hands. I settled him in my lap. He was growling, but not as loudly as he had been before. I held him for a couple of minutes and let him get down. Just about every day we would go through this. I would never be the one to go for him. I would wait until he got on the table in front of me. After awhile he would just jump up in my lap and cuddle in between the arm of the sofa and my arm. My hubby was amazed. He had thought that we would never get him to trust us. After awhile he even let my hubby hold him. He became a house cat. He never wanted to go outside and was content to be with us. He would hide when new people that he didn't come to see us, but we decided that being he had come from so far from being a feral cat, we weren't going to ask him to do anything else. He lived to the ripe old age for his type, for 11 years. He passed away about two years ago, but we still miss him. He was a cat that many people would have never even thought of twice. He was just a big old fuzzy orange bear. DCMerkle
5 people like this
11 responses
@barehugs (8985)
• Canada
9 Dec 08
I like animals, and cats,(being a farmer and all,)but I've never seen a feral cat, perhaps because the cold and snow of a Canadian winter, would be lethal. When I was growing up, my father kept a barn full Dairy Cattle, and barn cats love a warm stable in the chilly dampness of winter.The barn cats would be waiting at milking time for my Dad to squirt some milk their way. They would stand up on their back legs and deflect the milk into their mouth with their paw. It was a really funny thing to watch, and we kids never tired of the performance. Then, when dad was dumping the milker into a pail, he always filled up the cat's dish with fresh warm milk. Sometimes we had as many as 2 dozen old cats, young cats, and kittens, in the barn. Would like to compliment DCMerkle on this "Feral Cats" Post. This is an exceptional piece, and would make a Great Blog. Perhaps, you are wasting your time writing on myLot!
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Dec 08
Hahahaha, I didn't know you were a farmer barehugs! A yoga practicing farmer... that's great! I agree, DCMerkle's story is a wonderful story! Well-written and absorbing. Your story isn't so bad either!
@DCMerkle (1281)
• United States
10 Dec 08
barehugs and zigzagbuddha, Thank you both for the compliment. It was just a thought when I posted this subject because I was thinking about Orangie when I was decorating for Christmas. We have an ornament that was made especially for Orangie by a neighbor that crocheted. It's just a little orange kitty, that has sequins for his eyes and ears. On the end of the tail is a little sign that says "Meow Christmas!" barehugs, the barn cats are part of the rural like I quess. A farm just wouldn't be the same without a few cats roaming the grounds. DCMerkle
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
8 Dec 08
Two of my cats started off as ferral cats. The only problem I have had with them is they often want out to do their business, rather than use the litter box. And one of them frequently forgets where her box is, so I have to show her. I'm hoping this will pass with time. I still feed several outside ferral cats unfortunately. I wish I had never started this process. The problem is I've fed them since kittens and can't just stop or they sit outside and cry or rip at my screens. And since they are ferral they just keep producing new kittens. I've had several fixed but I can't keep up with it. I don't mind feeding them but I'm going to be moving soon to another state and don't wish to leave the problem with my neighbors. Animal control refuses to help. (I don't know why they have animal control here since they do so little)
@dvmurphy (326)
• United States
9 Dec 08
You don't want animal control's help as their main solution is to kill the animal as shelters do not normally adopt out ferral cats. They don't feel you can domesticate them. I disagree as I have had several ferral cats including my baby tiger cat my husband rescued this Fall. My husband is a local semi driver who hauls John Deere tractor parts between warehouses and on one of his runs he discovered a tiny little kitty hanging on for dear life to the frame of his semi after a 14 mile ride. He called me and I grabbed a cat taxi and went to the rescue. She sat in the taxi back to our house and was the loudest howling little devil I had ever heard. I got her home and introduced her tomy neutored male cat, Smokey, who is eight years old. She acted like he was her Mama and he ran for his life. She follows him everywhere, rubs against him, has to sleep next to him and generally just annoys the daylights out of him but he tolerates her. After a few days she started playing, following me around and she loves my husband. She has to sit in his lap while he watches tv, watches him shave and sleeps on his side of the bed at night. She has bonded with our four year old granddaughter and allows her to dress her in baby doll clothes, takes naps with her and even rides on her trike with her. My husband named her Harley Girl. He said any kitty that could hold on for a 14 mile ride hanging on to a semi frame deserved a good hardy name. She is his baby.
@DCMerkle (1281)
• United States
10 Dec 08
Tess & DVMurphy, There are private organizations that will go out and feed the feral cats and try to trap them to have them fixed. They then go through the cats that they have trapped and try to see which ones have a chance of being tamed. Those they keep in the shelters and find them a home with someone that has the patience and love to tame them. The local city shelters will just euthanize them. DCMerkle
@DCMerkle (1281)
• United States
10 Dec 08
DVMurphy, Harley Girl was a perfect name for the kittie. Evil Kneival would have been proud to have had a kittie like that for his snake river canyon jump...lol You have a special one in that kittie if she lets your granddaughter dress her up. DCMerkle
@minx267 (14936)
• Hartford, Connecticut
8 Dec 08
wow, that was a great story.. you did everything right.. I am glad that he got a good home.. I took in a stray once- she wasn't feral though - as a matter of fact whe was even spayed. but I had watched this (probably once majestic) Persian mix live out doors for over a year, through a winter and it was coming up on another.._ I have no idea if she had been outdoors for even longer than that... I had a house ful of cats already so the only reprieve I could offer her was the attic. But it was warm and dry. It took me a while to coax her out of the bushes when I found her and decided I was going to bring her in.. I sat patiently with some food and sat with m back to her- waiting for her to approach me figuring when she was hungry enough it would over come her fear. She turned out to be a great cat. My roommate took her when we went our separate ways.. and then his girlfriend took her when they separated.. she may still be alive but she was getting pretty old a few years ago. I have had cats that were born in my house though that acted feral their whole lives. (2 brothers) they never or barely ever let me pet them in the house. (well 1 of them would sleep with me and i could pet him then -but if I were walking around the house and reached to pet him-- off like a shot he would go... when i moved from an apartment to a house and started letting my cats out.. him and his brother(both fixed) decided to leave and go to the neighbors who fed a feral cat colony. I went over and offered her money for their food- but she wouldn't take it.. they really were more happy not having the touch of a human... and last year my NO-Na-Me' the one that slept with me was killed along with 2 of my other cats by my neighbors (down the street)dogs who got loose and went on a killing spree.They even attacked a small dog on the next street. I was actually in the middle of hunting them and calling 911(x5)when I watched them chase poor No-Na-Me'. I still have nightmares.
@DCMerkle (1281)
• United States
10 Dec 08
minx267, Thanks minx. I just know and have always felt that after awhile anyone that loves cats, as much as we all seem to do here, do develop a connection to communicating with cats. I've never really considered a cat just an animal, but an intelligent being that has all the same ways to communicate to people, but in a silent way. It's in their body language. It can be the way that they move their tails or their ears, the way that they tilt their heads, or mostly the way that they meow around you. My children use to laugh at me because I would have all the different ways to meow back to a cat that a cat had to meow to me. I loved to mimic them and as strange at this may seem, it was like I was learning their language....lol I'm so sorry to hear about No-Na-Me. That was just horrible. Did the neighbors ever get fined for letting the dogs run wild? What was taking 911 so long in responding?DCMerkle
@minx267 (14936)
• Hartford, Connecticut
11 Dec 08
Well, they got fined the first time. then the 2nd rampage they went on (well that we were aware of- in between the 2 we lost 2 15 year old cats and never found them) the 2nd time they were fined again and then were made to put the Mother dog down as the bigger dog was actually her puppy and they figure he was just following her and she is the one who initiated the escapes out of their yard. I felt bad for the dog.. because If they had just kept their pets in the house with them like most people do the dog wouldn't have been sitting there day in and day out bored out of her skull and plotting ways to get out. I also communicate with my cats like you. I mimic the meows of different cats and they appear to respond better when I do.. I once had some kittens who were outside and hiding under a bush- I went to them and used the sound their mother made a little "eh eh" noise and they all came running out... I have also had some other communications.. I have had cats that have "told me their name" telepathically so to speak. I know it sounds strange but it happens if you open your mind. had one kitten that was 6mos old and I still had no decent name for him. and one day I stood looking at him in the kitchen and the initials LJ popped into my head.. after A few tries and some thought I said hmm Little John? and his head shot right up.. and He was Little john.. not a name I ever would have picked.. Another was a baby kitten and I was half asleep and he was in a cage with mom next to my bed so I leaned over and put my finger in the cage and he rested his little chin on it and just as clear as if I had heard it "NASHUA" popped in my head. and That kitten always came running when I called him and was there when I woke up. we unfortunately lost him at an early age. I still miss him- he was exceptional. So you can call me crazy too. BUT I believe you because I know it is possible.. lol I think I am probably one of the neighborhood cat ladies.. lol
@Loverbear (4928)
• United States
13 Dec 08
While you can feel sorry for the dog, you need to realize that if the dog will kill small animals, it may attack people too! I currently have four dogs living with me, and one of them is a Pitt/Lab mix whose owner trained her to hate cats. I took her in because my sister (who didn't do the training) was having problems with her husband (he's the one who did the training to hate cats, because he hates cats) and headed for a divorce. Anyhow it took a little while, but Abby has learned to love my cats. Willy and Khuay will walk under her belly and rub under Abby's chin. I have no qualms about her socializing with people and even more important, children. What breed of dog was she? I am surprised that they didn't put the dog down the first time! But some lessons are learned the hard way. I love the way you name your cats. It takes me a while to figure out what I want to name my cats...then sometimes they just don't like the names and I have to figure out a new one for them. It's like Willy. I originally named him Det, which is Thai for brave. He didn't like the name so my BF named him Willy...he loves the name and looks so pleased when he hears his name!!!
• Philippines
10 Dec 08
I adopted a cat back when I was 17.I loved the cat and kept him in our house but he went out and never came back.I was pretty sure that he'd come back to our place wherever he may go but this time he didn't.I reported to our subdivision that he was lost but he was never found.I miss him.He was such a darling.
@DCMerkle (1281)
• United States
10 Dec 08
kat, Some cats are just natural born wanderers. They are happier to be outside 24/7 as long as they stick close to civilizations where they can get a free meal. Never say a cat is stupid...lol They know which side their bread is buttered on! He could have found another home to stay in for awhile until he dicides to take that long walk again. DCMerkle
• Philippines
11 Dec 08
Wherever he may be I pray that he's safe out there.I remember finding him near a pine tree as I was walking to our house.I left him for awhile in the chapel so he can have a roof on his head.But he still kept meowing so loud tha's why I picked him up again and brought him home.I mean,he's a kite and I couldn't have the heart to leave a baby alone.My family and I took care of him.He responds when we call him by his name(Sam).He got used to his name in only a few days.I also remember giving him food.When I throw fish,he pounces on it...We all miss him so much.He's such a drling
• United States
9 Dec 08
That is an amazing story. I have rescued cats for 25 years. Among the cats were several farel cats all black. They are a handful to try to sort of tams them. I honestly think you did better than anyone I know. Farel cats usually warm up to you but never are cuddly like a regular domestic cat. I had almost tamed a kitten, he would come and play with my foot when i was making hats for my business. When I would reach for him he wouldn't let me. His Mom also farel was kit an killed in the street infront of my home. He was so tiny and had made friends with some of my cats through the screen on the open windows. He wanted to come in but wouldn't go to the door. He was very small so I got a vitamine bottel and opened the screen just enough to prop it open and backed away. He took about 3 seconds to scamper into the house. I grabed the vitamine bottle and the screen shut and he was in. It took him sometime to figure out what had happened. It's fummy but none of my cats hissed at him ever. It's like they all knew him and were glad to see him inside. One of the other older kittens took a real liking to him and they became best friends. I named the older one Gandolf and the little one Frodo. Unfortunately they both got out about a year and a half later when my dog tore out the screen of that same window. I tried to get them back in the house but I didn't have a humane trap and didn't know that I could borrow one from the humane society. In time they both were hit and killed in the street. I was very sad, they were so cute together.
@DCMerkle (1281)
• United States
10 Dec 08
morningstar, Trust me, I'm sure that cats that you already had inside were coaxing the little kitty in themselves. Soory to hear that you lost them both to cars, but there was no way to have known that was going to happen or even when. DCMerkle
• United States
10 Dec 08
Thank you for that lovely response to mine. It was just a sad thing to have saved them just to have them both get killed in the street. I think the odd thing for me is that Frodos sister from another pregnancy got hit and killed in the street then his Mom when he was still so small, and then him. It's like some Karmic thing with their line. Anyway I wanted to thank you for your kind words. No my goal is to find us someplace to live as where I'm staying has become inbearable.
• United States
9 Dec 08
What a wonderful story! I love it! I love the big old fuzzy orange kitty too and I never even met him! I feed some feral cats at an abandoned house up in the mountain. 2 of them took to me immediately but one of them would sit under the porch while the others were eating and meow piteously! It took me about a year to win her over. At first I would leave so she could get something to eat too. Eventually she would come up on the porch while I was still there and grab a mouthful and run. Then she would stay and eat as long as I didn't move a muscle or breathe too deeply. Now she even lets me pick her up and give her kisses, and she is always the first one who runs out to greet me.
@DCMerkle (1281)
• United States
10 Dec 08
zig, Once a ferral cat knows that you really mean them no harm, they are your buddies for life. Does she allow other people near her? DCMerkle
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Dec 08
No she doesn't. She doesn't even allow them to SEE her!
@Thumper11 (662)
• United States
9 Dec 08
I have a cat that I've had since he was a kitten. I had to tame him. His mom was pregnant and thrown out of a cat... she came to the women's shelter where I volunteered at and we took her in. I guess she figured that she was a battered woman... LOL! anyways.. the kittens were wild!!!!! I got the 2 boys to come eat and let us pet them.... I took the friendliest of them home with me. He is my little man now. LOL! I named him Amadeus. He was still a little wild for a while, but he finally calmed down. Now he's a big cuddle bug... and he has a little brother.
• United States
9 Dec 08
thrown out of a car, not cat. LOL!
@DCMerkle (1281)
• United States
10 Dec 08
thumper, Maybe the kitty was looking for the animal shelter and didn't have his GPS tracker on..lol Amadeus is a wonderful name for him. DCMerkle
• United States
9 Dec 08
What a touching story. I love cats too. I have 4 living living with us that were all feral. Mr. Kitty was here when I moved in crying on the deck in the rain, so we took him in he is 23 years old. Baby Jet kept coming here to our house since he was born. Then one day my neighbor called to say that come coyotes were in our yard for about 45 mintues. We panicked because we thought something might have happened to our feral cats. We could account for all of them except Baby Jet. We would go outside and I would call him and hear him meowing but could not find him. Then I looked up in the tree and there he was 30 feet up with no way down. We figured that he was chased up the tree by the coyotes. We had to hire some men to climb the tree and get him down. It was in the middle of winter and he was up there a few days. It was also 2:00 AM. We got him down with a lasso and he passed out, but came to he stayed here a day or so then wanted to leave. We let him out, but he came back 2 days later his face was all ripped up bleeding. We brought him in and nursed him back and he has been an indoor cats since. The last two are brothers Cody and Casper. Casper is our little sweetheart. We had to socialize them both. Casper has a dislocated hip and his knee is locked. He is our special needs kitty. Even though he has this problem with his back leg he runs around here like a nut. He also is a very snuggly kitty. He has to sleep either on my husbands arm or mine. We use to have alot of feral cats outside that we took care of but my neighbor complained and animal control came here and said I could not feed them or I would go to jail. I found a farm that I relocated all of them. We did have them a fixed through the TNR program. A really good website to help with feral cats is www.alleycats.com. Check it out. Merry Christmas to all!!!
@DCMerkle (1281)
• United States
10 Dec 08
harley, You've got your hands full. The special needs kitty seems to have adjusted to his disability. I've found that with special needs kitties, they really don't think anything is different about themselves than the the other cats in their life. They are just as normal as the others around them. They do like to be cuddled more than the norm, but any cat that needs a hug is worth it. DCMerkle
@katemeow (847)
• Singapore
8 Dec 08
what an amazing story :) i absolutely love cats! I have brought home several stray ones (though i am not sure if you can consider them to be feral cats)and they have been wonderful companions to us. I remember the day when i brought my Nugget home. he was a scrawny little orange kitten that nobody wanted but when i saw him i knew that i had to bring him home. he is now a 21 pound turkey who we all love so much :) btw, he is the cat in my avatar :)
@DCMerkle (1281)
• United States
10 Dec 08
katemeow, Nugget looks like he's getting ready to do something he knows better than to do...lol. I've found that orange kitties are the sneakie bad boys of the cat world. With Orangie, even though he would run and hide from strangers, he just couldn't resist a good game of play. I had a visiting nurse that was coming to see me once, because I have bad legs. She would have to measure the circumference of my legs to check to see about the swelling. She would use a paper measuring tape. Orangie would watch her from down the hall in sitting in the bedroom door. The nurse was a cat lover to and would always say hi to him when she came and try to pet him, but he would take off and hide under the bed. She always left a cat treat for him before she left. One day she was getting ready to measure my legs and the tape end was dangling in the air. I saw Orangie come running up the hall, like a flash, jump in mid air, swipe at the middle of the taut section of tape, and rip it out of the nurses hand. He had hit at it so hard and it happened so fast that the nurse was standing there just totally flabergasted. Both ends of the tape were laying on the floor at her feet. We both laughed until our sides hurt. Before she left that afternoon she left both pieces of the tape next to his little bag of treaties. Orangie was in heaven. He had his treaties and the measuring tape to play with the rest of the afternoon. DCMerkle
@ElicBxn (61063)
• United States
15 Dec 08
I currently live with 3 semi-ferals. We brought them in as kittens and have never pushed them to be friendly. One is always running away, but when he wants, he'll come to me for pets. One will watch us and if we can catch her, likes to be pet, and scratched under her chin. The last last and eldest, is right out in the middle of things but doesn't want to be touched. Just recently both the roomie and I have been able to pet her, she growled and hissed, but submitted, probably because there was a cat between her and her escape!
@applefreak (3131)
• Singapore
11 Dec 08
awwww that is so sweet of you, and him. reading the story brings tears to my eyes. it's really touching to see how a feral cat learned to trust his human companion. reminds me of my boy who passed away five years ago. he too was a feral and being his life with me by hissing. i took him home from my workplace because he was too small to fend for himself. the first thing he did was bolt for the back of the wardrobe. he got stuck and we had to move the wardrobe just to free him. reading your story reminds me of the time we spent sizing each other up.