Here is what I wrote to this poor excuse of a human!
Your story is fishy at best!
Welcome to the world of the feral. It is not a pleasant world to be in. It is one full of people who do not understand you. It is one filled with dangers. You are prone to getting injured, you are scared all the time, you live by your wits and you survive but the odds of survival are very limited.
What did you do to deserve this world? Nothing at all. You see, your mama was owned by a person that didn't care what happened to her. They didn't take her in to be spayed, and they kicked her out of their warm house, full of good food and she had to make do. Making do, was foraging for garbage, though she could undoubtedly look inside the house and see food on the tables. She had to find shelter when bad weather came. She stood at the door crying for her right to come inside, but was quickly chased off. So she realized that she wasn't wanted there and she took off to find someplace where she might be.
Some kids chased her, trying to tie a can to her tail, because they heard this was a "fun thing to do." Then one night, out of the middle of nowhere a male got her and because she was in heat, she submitted to him, and now here I am, a kitten born this world.
I haven't been in this world very long, but I know people. People that I meet, basically fall into three different categories. They either ignore me (because to them I do not exist) or they hurt me, because out here in the street I am fair game) and the rare ones, the ones who really care, the ones who spend their lives campaigning for feral cats, well they just want to help me.
But by this time, the damage is done and I don't trust anyone. Those traps, I have seen those traps take away my siblings and my friends and I never see them again. I have no way of knowing what happens to them, I just listen to their cries as they are loaded in the truck or the car and driven away. This just intensifies my fright, and I become more wily. It takes a special compassionate person to finally trap me, and it takes a long time.
Mr. Horsely- you are a horse's patoot. Your column shows your true ignorance of the ways of a feral. "Ferals don't belong anywhere!" They are a product of a society that is irresponsible in the ways of being a good caretaker for cats. Yes, they roam allies and streets. They are so prevalent and misunderstood but they are also living breathing creatures who are only trying to survive.
One of the reasons Osama lives to fight is because he probably is an intact male. Had he been neutered long ago, he might not be driven to fight for his life on a cold unfriendly street. This is his only way of survival, and in a feral colony only the strong survive.
Your comment "Feral cats have no business setting up shop in a residential neighborhood" just floored me. Osama was probably at one time a pet cat who climbed the drapes one time to many and was kicked out of the house and had to survive some way. Or maybe he sprayed a pile of clothes that were freshly laundered and was kicked out?
Though cats do roam, they usually stay fairly close to the place where they remember their comfort zone to be, unless an uncaring adult takes them for a ride in the country and dumps them off thinking "okay, well it's a cat, it will survive." Then, they either survive by their wiles, or they die a horrible early death, or if they are lucky they end up with someone like myself who cares for ferals. Right now I have 11, last year at this time I had 23. I socialize these animals, spay and neuter them, feed them and love them and find them good homes. If they aren't able to be placed (and some aren't) then they join my crew here on our farm.
After reading your story, I cried so hard for Osama. You see yesterday, I lost something so precious to me, a beautiful black and white feral female I had for over 9 years. Her life as a kitten was one of peril. Her owner, decided it would be a real treat to drown her in the lake near our house. So he had a couple brewskis and he motored out for his playtime, with this 5-week old kitten in the boat. He got out to the middle of the lake, and took this helpless creature and started dunking her up and down in the water over and over, keeping her head under the water. She couldn't do much about it, sure she probably struggled, but she was tiny and he was human, he had the advantage!
Thankfully, there was another boat on the lake that day belonging to a police officer and he noticed the strange activity. He challenged the man when he got close enough to see what this sick human being was doing. This man, who took such pleasure in abusing creatures, took this tiny kitten over his head and by her back legs swung her around and around and flung her far into the lake so he could escape! The deputy roared after the flailing kitten and the man escaped (temporarily).
I was the one lucky enough to get this terrified feral kitten. You talk about a cat not trusting anyone, that was Dunkin. She was all claws and teeth for the first 3 months of her life with us. And who could blame her? Though after reading your column I am sure you could! She had been horribly abused in many ways that I will not even mention here. She was not supposed to live to be a year old. She bit and scratched and hissed and I kept my distance, kept my perspective and kept lots of betadine scrub around to treat the wounds she inflicted.
In time, she became the best cat. She had a myriad of problems resulting from her abuse. But as you are clearly not a feral fancier, I will not go into them. She had to be put to sleep yesterday and today my crew is strangely quiet when I go out in the yard. They know she is missing and I cannot tell them why. What I would like to tell all my ferals is I wish I had a special one to take her place, a male who is so misunderstood and is trying to be trapped by a man who has no business trapping him. The man who is so misguided he has named this feral Osama Bin Laden, when if the truth be told, the one who terrorizes in the story Mr. Horsely, is not this cat, it is you.
Your story will make cat abusers sing and people who rescue cry. It shows great ignorance on your part,a and funny but when I took journalism in college, I was always told "research is key."
I pray this cat is smart enough to know that you mean him great harm. I pray that someone intercedes quickly and contacts Alley Cat Allies or another feral organization to take matters away from you. You have no business writing this column. Writers are supposed to know what they talk about, and you, Mr. Horsely do not. I wonder if you are brave enough to publish this letter? You are welcome to, because unlike you, my life is my research and I know what I am talking about.
Mary Anne Miller
Sweet Home Oregon