Originally Posted by TuRbO
Ok here's the story. There were 3 stray cats just running around my yard, (I have a huge backyard). However, 2 of them just disappeared and there is only one cat left. He/She is still roaming my backyard. Recently, I purchased some cat food, put it in a bowl, and sat it on my patio. I turned out the lights to the kitchen and watched as the cat slowly crept towards my patio, scoping out the place, and starting eating the food. So as it was eating, I opened the door leading to the patio to see if it would run and it did. He went by my garage and just laid there for about 5 minutes. My question is, how do I get it to stop running?
Welcome turbo..it does sound like you are either dealing with a very scared stray or a feral cat. In either situation...you are best to set your expectations low to begin with and allow the cat to make the decision as to whether to approach you or not. First however....it is really important that you not leave a bowl of food outside to attract other critters to your yard...the best thing to do is to feed it at regular times...dawn/dusk
are best and remove the bowl after the feral has eaten. Second, since you do not know whether this cat has been spayed/neutered or not...it will be very important that if you are planning to continue to feed this cat, that you also take the time to borrow a humane trap and trap this cat so it can be taken to the vet for spaying/neutering and appropriate shots. A vet that is familiar with feral cats will know how to work with one...which is why it is important to use a humane trap. The potential issue that you will encounter if you do not provide spaying/neutering in addition to feeding is that this cat could come spring...decide to present you with a litter of kittens or could bring more intact cats to your yard. It is also best for this cat's health to be spayed/neutered.
For starters, I would read up on this site:http://www.alleycat.org/
about TNR which is a humane method of dealing with feral cats.