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Missing Feral

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'm really concerned. I've been taking care of a feral cat for almost three years. She lives in my shed and stays in the yard and shed all day. I suspect she roams at night, but she's always waiting for me at 7:30AM every morning. I also feed her again between 4:00 and 5:00PM. She's always there. In fact, a neighborhood cat moved in with her. He's very tame and friendly and must have decided our crummy shed is nicer than his home because he never seems to leave, so I feed him too. Usually, I find the two of them cuddled up together. He's been in the shed all day, but there's no sign of her. Even though she's feral we consider her our outside cat and we've spent a lot of time talking to her and trying to get her a little more comfortable with us. Now she even rubs up against our legs sometimes. I'm so afraid something has happened to her. I called the city, but no cats were picked up. Anyway, it's been pouring rain tonight and I'm so afraid she's hurt, or can't get back here for some reason. Also, just last week there was something in the paper about a pack of coyotes in town that they're trying to trap. They killed a woman's cat while she was in her backyard. It wasn't near here, but still I worry. All my cats are inside cats and I really don't like the idea of cats being outside, but Mama has always been outside and she's not tame. This was always my biggest fear...that she would just disappear someday. Anyway, please say a little prayer that she'll be back in the shed at 7:30AM tomorrow morning. Thanks.
post #2 of 17
I hope your feral girl returns. I know how you must feel, I use to feed 2 ferals at a local park for 5 years. I think a resident close to the park may have started feeding them too, because they became less interested in the food I giving them and eventually, just showed up as if to say hello. They were not sick, in fact, they looked very well fed. Since your feral is a female, there is the possibilty she was pregnant and had kittens somehwere. If she did, she may have had them in a place she felt was more safe. Please let us know if she returns.
post #3 of 17
I know how you feel too. Prego disappeared one time for about a week and it really worried me. But she ended up coming back! Sometimes I think of it as they are taking a little 'vacation' on to explore other things.. but they usually always come back. I hope your feral baby comes home soon.
post #4 of 17
Occasionally one of my ferals will go off on an adventure for a week or so and then come back and act as if they never left. I hope your girl is okay.

Has she been spayed? If not, please let us know and we will help you find someone who can trap her and take her in for spaying and vaccinations.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
I went out this morning at 7:30AM and she still wasn't there. I fed Buddy and left Mama's food by her blanket. It was still raining and I couldn't understand why she wouldn't be in the shed where she could at least stay dry. I went back out and checked an hour later...still no Mama. I went out around 10:00 and checked again before I left to exercise...still no Mama. I got home at 11:00 and checked again and there she was sitting on her blanket grooming herself. It looked as if she had just gotten done eating. So, I asked her where she'd been and she gave me a bored look.

Mama's been fixed. She had two litters in our shed, so I trapped her with a humane trap and had her fixed almost two years ago. I just wish the neighbor's cat was fixed. He's such a sweet cat and I don't think he even bothers to go home anymore. We've made some progress with Mama in the last six months and I believe it's because of Buddy. We make a point of holding and petting him in front of Mama. She watches and has gotten a lot bolder around us. She comes right over now when I put down the food. Sometimes I'm so tempted to reach out and try and pet her, but I know it would freak her out. It wasn't that long ago that she'd hide under the deck and wait for me to put the food in the shed. I'd go back inside and watch her run back to the shed. So, we've come a long way.

Anyway, I'm glad she's back. My husband and I have gotten attached to Mama even though she's feral. We consider her ours.
post #6 of 17
I'm so glad she is back! And, BRAVO to you for having her spayed! Have you asked the neighbor whether they would mind if you took Buddy in to be neutered. While it isn't right that you would have to pay, at least he would be snipped!

You sound like a great feral mommy!
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
The neighbors give us the cold shoulder ever since we complained to them about their dogs digging under the fence and running around in our yard. My husband would try and get them out of the yard, but they'd snap at him. We didn't want them scaring Mama away. I really don't think they give a hoot about Buddy. I feel sorry for him. He's free to leave, but stays. The cat across the street is mean to him and I really think if he was fixed he'd be a lot better off. He's such a sweet thing and the other males know he's an easy mark. I'm tempted to take him in and have him fixed. On the off chance he decides to go home for a visit...do you think his "real" owners would notice??? I wanted to post a picture, but I'm not the most talented person when it comes to working with pictures. I've got the picture cropped and down to 331 pixels by 298 pixels, I compressed it on low, but it's still 50.9KB. I might end up just putting it up on a webpage and posting the link instead. Thank you for telling me I'm a good feral Mom. I try and so does my husband...the feral Dad. He's as bad as me when it comes to cats.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
OK...I put Mama up on a webpage. It's not a great picture, but she watches very closely and knows when I'm holding something other than food. I've only been able to take a few pictures and none are close ups. I'll have to try and get some more. Here's the link: http://hometown.aol.com/bmartin633/OurFeralCat.html
post #9 of 17
I would simply take Buddy in to be fixed...neuters are soo much easier to hide since there isn't a scar and since your neighbor doesn't seem to care..well....he's like a stray.

Katie
post #10 of 17
Mama is beautiful!! You can really tell she isn't sure about that camera, though. I'm glad she came back.
post #11 of 17
I am so happy that Mama returned. You and your husband should be very proud that you take such good care of her and Buddy as well.
post #12 of 17
I'll bet Buddy's people wouldn't notice if he was neutered. Afterall, even after neutering there are still very small puffs back there in many males.

Your Buddy sounds just like my feral Buddy. My Buddy is the sweetest cat...he absolutely loves other cats and just wants to be everyone's friend. Unfortunately, because he is so sweet he does get picked on whenever a new male comes into the neighborhood.

Your momma cat looks just like my Buddy. I love the classic short haired brown tabbies!
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lotsocats
I'll bet Buddy's people wouldn't notice if he was neutered. Afterall, even after neutering there are still very small puffs back there in many males.

Your Buddy sounds just like my feral Buddy. My Buddy is the sweetest cat...he absolutely loves other cats and just wants to be everyone's friend. Unfortunately, because he is so sweet he does get picked on whenever a new male comes into the neighborhood.

Your momma cat looks just like my Buddy. I love the classic short haired brown tabbies!
Update!! My feral cat hasn't wandered off lately, but Buddy disappeared the day after Easter. At first I wasn't concerned. In the past he disappeared for a day or two, but by the end of the week I thought he was probably gone for good. He technically belonged to the neighbors, but I'd been feeding him for months and he stayed in the shed with MaMa most of the day. I think he was with us 95% of the time. I wanted to get him fixed, but my husband didn't like the idea...he said he wasn't really ours and we could end up getting sued.

I was afraid the neighbors had probably gotten complaints and decided to get rid of him. There were other male cats coming around and I know just about every square inch of my garage got sprayed, but we like cats and ended up covering everything with plastic. Other neighbors probably weren't as tolerant. There were also cat fights at night.

I decided to keep checking the city website. They post pictures of animals they pick up. On April 20th there was a picture of a cat that kind of looked like Buddy, but my son and I didn't think it was him. I decided to send an E-mail and ask if it was a male with crossed eyes. If I didn't ask, I'd always wonder. They wrote back and said it was a male and his eyes were crossed. He had been caught in a trap right near here. So, my husband and I went over. We weren't sure if it was Buddy (he had lost weight), but I had taken a picture of him in the backyard, so we came home and got the picture and took it over. Sure enough...all the stripes were in the right place...it was Buddy! They told us that after three days the animals belong to the city and we could adopt him, but it would probably be a good idea if we went over and talked to the neighbor. The neighbors didn't want him and said we could have him. Animal Control agreed to keep him until I could make arrangements to take him right from there to the Veterinarian to be tested for feline leukemia and fixed. We picked him up the next day, he tested negative and was fixed, and we brought him home last Saturday.

I feel sorry for poor MaMa. She and Buddy were pals. I was really making progress with her...thanks to Buddy. Buddy's so laid back and friendly. She was learning from him. Recently I was able to pet her. She would come over next to Buddy and I would pet the two of them. It was a major breakthrough. Since Buddy's been gone from the shed she's regressed. She doesn't even come close enough for me to try and pet her. We've taken a giant step backwards with her, but Buddy is an indoor cat now. I'm afraid he'd end up in a trap again if I let him out and I just feel cats are safer inside. I wish MaMa could be inside with Buddy.

Anyway, I'm going to have to start introducing Buddy to my other cats soon (all five of them). Wish me luck! Right now he's very content by himself in another room. We weren't really looking for another cat, but you know how it goes...
post #14 of 17
DayDreamnWorld-thank you soo much for the update and I am glad that you now have Buddy back. Good thing you checked online to see if the animal shelter had picked him up. I certainly hope that MaMa makes progress again and can possibly be an indoor kitty too.

Katie
post #15 of 17
Oh! What wonderful news! I am so glad you shared what happened to sweet Buddy.

You are my new hero to have gone so far out of your way to rescue this poor boy!

I hope MaMa cat starts to feel more secure soon.
post #16 of 17
Crazy idea - you could bring MaMa inside and put her in a room with Buddy. They would become allies and have each other inside, even if the other cats don't accept them right away. I've brought in older ferals and while it takes time for them to settle in, having a "buddy" (no pun intended) that is tame teaches them that its OK to live with humans.
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany
Crazy idea - you could bring MaMa inside and put her in a room with Buddy. They would become allies and have each other inside, even if the other cats don't accept them right away. I've brought in older ferals and while it takes time for them to settle in, having a "buddy" (no pun intended) that is tame teaches them that its OK to live with humans.
Really not that crazy. I had thought about that myself. It had been my hope that with Buddy in the shed MaMa would become more and more tame. I feel terrible about Buddy being so near to her...yet so far away. He's enjoying life as an indoor cat. We've talked about taking him out to the shed to see MaMa and maybe eating breakfast with her. I don't think he'd run away and we'd stand by until he was finished. I just don't want her to forget him and vice versa. Right now I'd never be able to trap MaMa. It took two months the last time and I have no place to put the trap. The floor of the shed has rotted away and the shed has sunk. When it rains the floor fills up with water. MaMa stays up in the rafters or on the counter. Last time I trapped her I fed her on the floor and gradually moved her food into the trap. We are getting a new shed for her this summer. We're going to put it on higher ground and then I'm going to have to somehow lure her into the new shed. She's very, very cautious. After that I'll have a floor to put the trap on and maybe??? When I had her fixed I didn't have her tested for feline leukemia. I now know that was a big mistake. Some of her kittens ended up dying of feline leukemia although my son has one that's perfectly healthy. This all happened after we had her fixed. I didn't know it at the time. I don't know what I'd do if she ended up testing positive. Buddy ate from the same dishes and he was negative, so there's a chance she's negative too. It's just something I don't like to think about. Do you all have the ferals you trap tested when you have them fixed?
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