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Stray or Feral?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
The little grey and white cat that started visiting us when Francis was around is now a regular visitor. I feed him breakfast and dinner everyday and he's usually there waiting for it. He hangs out on our covered front porch, but it seems mainly around mealtimes.

He came to us very skinny, but is starting to fill out a bit with regular meals. With the weather getting colder, I'm giving him a good amount of food with each meal and he seems to be eating it all up (before, he'd leave some if I gave him too much).

I'm 99.9% certain that this cat does not have a home. My question is whether he ever did and he's a stray/abandoned cat, or whether he's a feral cat?

He is skiddish around people, but doesn't necessarily run and hide until you get too close. He used to hop off the porch until I put the food down and walked away, but now he'll stay on the porch and let me within 4 feet of him. If I try to get any closer, he moves away (usually hides under the patio table), although he doesn't necesarily run off completely. I can tell that he's slowly learning to trust me, but he's definitely not at the point where he's going to let me touch him. I've never really seen how he is around other people. I asked the young girl downstairs to just let him be when he's around.

Since he's skiddish, I'm pretty limited in my options. The local rescue said to call animal control and depending on his condition, he might end up at the rescue. That's too much of a risk to me, considering I know the rescues have reduced the number of cats they take from animal control. Another local rescue (which I'm not a huge fan of, but at least it's a warm place for the winter) will take strays with a $100 fee, but will not take in ferals, as they are "unadoptable."

With winter coming, I'll have to do something. Given the rescue situation which would be my first choice, I've been thinking I'll make him an insulated shelter and put it on the covered front porch, continuing to provide food and water for the winter. If I can get a couple Snuggle Safe disks rotate them every 12 hours or so, at least there will be a bit of warmth in there for him.

If I can get him through the winter and build his trust, maybe in the spring I'll be able get him into a carrier and see how he does. At that point, I can either TNR and continue feeding him, or, if he seems tame enough, take him to a rescue.

This is a ways down the road, but I'm hoping that, when we eventually move from here, it will be time to buy a house. I'd like to buy somewhere with a place where I can keep rescues or do some foster work, so, in the event that this little guy is still around when that time comes, we'd take him with us.

Any advice/opinions would be appreciated.
post #2 of 5
I think the sound of it is he is feral. Thus that rescue place is no option until they do actually work with fostering of ferals...

So I think you plan with helping him survive the vinter, including TNR. Unless of course, you do have possibility to take him in and try to foster him yourself already now. Preferably do it when it begins to be cold... Not easy with a feral and takes time, but can be done, especielly if he is young and not a very successful feral.

Good luck!
post #3 of 5
Originally Posted by zoeysmom View Post
he'll stay on the porch and let me within 4 feet of him. If I try to get any closer, he moves away (usually hides under the patio table), although he doesn't necesarily run off completely.
Sounds more like a fearful stray or at least semi feral. A true feral won't let you that close, they're turning tail at 20 foot. ( a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point)
I have a 7 year old lazy house cat that has slipped outside in the past (it's been four years since his last incident) - he's acted very skittish when that happened. You wouldn't believe he's the same cat who comes out and sticks his butt in visitors faces...

A former stray should be easier. Have you offered wet food, yet? If not, try that and see how close you can lure him to you. Get him use to eating near you before you make any moves towards touching him. Or you can just put a trap out and see about bringing him right in to work with him. I certainly wouldn't want to be a cat stuck outside in Canada.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately, taking him in is not an option. I don't have the space to isolate and work with a cat that's going to need time to adjust. Belle and Delilah aren't very welcoming to intruders, even when the intruder is on the other side of a door. I learned this with Francis (otherwise, I would have three orange cats instead of just the two!).

If I had a place to take him, I would just trap him and be done with it. Unfortunately, with the local rescues not willing to take a feral/semi-feral and me not able to keep him inside, I think a shelter is the best I can do for now. There is another rescue foundation that I'll have to check with...it's not exactly local, but maybe they have some feral foster homes!
post #5 of 5
At the very least I'd trap him and get him neutered - it'll help him put on the weight he needs to keep warm over the winter rather than run his hormone factory.

Does Petfinder have listings in Canada? That's how we found a foster home for a kitty we couldn't foster. We searched all the petfinder listings within a 70 mile radius or so. Each listing has an org associated with it - and we just conducted an e-mail campaign. Two places out of 20+ orgs contacted responded. One place had room for the little girl.
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