As a colony keeper of feral cats I would like to share a story with those who either choose to love them or leave them stranded. Hopefully, after reading this article the latter will become the provider. This is my fifth attempt at getting little “Timothy” to his scheduled snipping appointment with the dedicated Veterinarians at a local animal farm. You see he is still considered a kitten until he is a year old and this process of trapping, spaying/neutering, and releasing works best at this age to prevent more kittens being born in the wild and homeless. We could tell Timothy was born in the wild by the lack of social skills compared to the other four cats we had rescued. There actually are foster homes for found feral feline kittens to socialize them before putting them up for adoption.
It is important to try to get your little fellow or princess to trust you so that they will be less alert to getting trapped. When said out loud this is such a paradox of behavior because the process is so disturbing, yet perhaps necessary to prevent a future of unwanted, starving, angry cats. Those of us who adore our pets know that a cat’s true nature is to be loving and kind. It is an atrocity of the heart to make such a gentle creature (who gives so much love and affection asking very little in return) into a wild, ferocious feral! In actuality two of the four feline feral members of my family were already fixed when we rescued them. Let me explain more plainly what this means. It shows that they were domestic pets who for whatever reason were left in the wild to fend for themselves after having been fed by people they trusted and showed love to.
In particular, we rescued Simone who had spent a few winters living under my shed (that I have since then made into a cat shelter with four beds that I change the T-shirt bedding bi-monthly.) If you look into my contact information you can see a YouTube video of how to make your own portable, feral cat shelters. Anyway, Simone was so traumatized by his homelessness that he would never come out during the day hours, staying in the hole underneath my shed. His eyes were covered with cataracts when he made the initial connection with us. After a few short summer months he trusted us enough (after being left food out underneath the shed where he stayed) and became uniquely affectionate. He would allow me to brush his caveman-like fur to promote the shedding for a new summer sweater instead of coat. His eyes no longer were covered with a thick skin where he could not even jump from blindness, but were completely opened revealing healthy, beautiful blue eyes. Since he had so many grief/loss issues he just became too territorial and dangerous to my domestic cat. He caused 3 trips to the Veterinarian’s office (one near death) for my little one. I remember those precious, crying blue eyes that mourned for me, as I had to leave him with that local animal farm to be destroyed. Such a waste of love and all could have been prevented if his heartless owners had not left him behind.
In conclusion, when you see a stray cat that you know does not have any place to go feed him, make a secure warm place to lay his head. Then do your best to not get too familiar if you plan to trap him because he or she may not come back after you do. As for Timothy (after watching him run away in terrified betrayal of trust escaping the trap again) this is my last attempt to castrate his physical being. This time I have to think like a cat, and not a human being!
Author, Risa Ruse is a writer, poet, artist, Reiki/Qigong practioner, and published author doing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) healing poetry workshops. Her books and articles are on her website at: http://RisaRuse.com. Also, several articles including feral cats are in her published articles found here: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Risa_Ruse.